Thankful for a Perfectly Surreal Winter Running Experience

Day 2,020

I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks! Rather than stay out and bark at the moon with some cohorts I chose to be in bed before 10pm. This move allowed me to get up and moving a little before 5:30am this morning.

Even though I was out of town for work I still wanted to knock out my Friday morning run, especially knowing that there was a lot of car time in my future. I got up, knocked the rust off my joints, and got ready to head out for my run.

As luck would have it there was what appeared to be a nice little trail only a couple of blocks from my hotel. Off I went into the snow, ice, and stiff wind with my headlamp on and my headphones playing an album from one of my new favorite bands that I’d never listened to before.

Only a couple of days ago my friend James turned me on to The Rural Alberta Advantage and I’ve been working my way through all of their albums. The next one up was Mended with Gold – I’d highly recommend giving it a listen.

The music was beyond perfect for the winter run. I’m struggling to put into words the reasons why it fit so well. The best I can come up with is that it was just perfect. I know, great work in being descriptive Kreiling, right? The sound, the tempo, the lyrics, the emotion in the voice… everything fit the cold, bitter, windy, snowy, and icy run in the pre-dawn lighting. Hmm… the music was raw in almost a primal way, the way the run felt.

As if that wasn’t already enough to create an epic running experience I crested a hill, turned a little corner, and saw this…

Yessir, those are buffalo! Bison Bison if you will. The trail skirted the little zoo and wildlife park in Marshfield, WI. Unbeknownst to me this meant I had an opportunity to get relatively up close and personal with one of my favorite animals. The hairy giants added to the surrealness of the run. It was only the bison and I out and about as there were no roads, houses, or people nearby.

Just before I encountered the bison the song Runners In the Night, a wonderfully perfect soundtrack for that exact moment.

I had to pause and just take it all in. The entire event was so surreal on so many levels. The profoundness of the presence I experienced in that moment is indescribable. It was a perfectly surreal winter running experience. Beautiful in so many levels, my heart still swell with joy as I think about it.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,988 – Thankful for Another Gift Within a Gift at Yoga

Another Monday night yoga practice, another moment of profound insight nestled in the deeply calm state of presence.

The two biggest reasons I love hitting yoga are the physical workout as well as the focused presence. Put those two components together and I’m always grateful for taking the time to get all namaste.

While those two are the headliners there’s an awesome added bonus which sometimes appears when my mind is deep in that state of serenity. Occasionally an idea will hatch during the practice. A little nugget of wisdom worth more than one hundred times it’s weight in gold. A magical moment of clarity and understanding which help me understand some better than before.

Tonight that gem was the realization that when learning and attempting something I’ve never done there is no stress about anything else in life. The act of focused and intentional learning create a state in which there is no concern or anxiety about anything outside the task. If I’ve truly set my soul properly there is also no anxiety in what I am learning, there is only the bliss of play. How wild is that? When I find myself stressing or anxious I need only play a little game with myself – what can I learn from this – to transition from anxiety into calm.

That bonus lesson buried within a yoga practice was yet another example of how much can be gained by pausing the busyness of life and intentionally choosing stillness and presence. As Becky pointed out on Friday, the world would be a much better place if everyone paused for a moment to practice yoga. The entire world would quickly become all namaste.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,988 – Thankful for Another Gift Within a Gift at Yoga

Another Monday night yoga practice, another moment of profound insight nestled in the deeply calm state of presence.

The two biggest reasons I love hitting yoga are the physical workout as well as the focused presence. Put those two components together and I’m always grateful for taking the time to get all namaste.

While those two are the headliners there’s an awesome added bonus which sometimes appears when my mind is deep in that state of serenity. Occasionally an idea will hatch during the practice. A little nugget of wisdom worth more than one hundred times it’s weight in gold. A magical moment of clarity and understanding which help me understand some better than before.

Tonight that gem was the realization that when learning and attempting something I’ve never done there is no stress about anything else in life. The act of focused and intentional learning create a state in which there is no concern or anxiety about anything outside the task. If I’ve truly set my soul properly there is also no anxiety in what I am learning, there is only the bliss of play. How wild is that? When I find myself stressing or anxious I need only play a little game with myself – what can I learn from this – to transition from anxiety into calm.

That bonus lesson buried within a yoga practice was yet another example of how much can be gained by pausing the busyness of life and intentionally choosing stillness and presence. As Becky pointed out on Friday, the world would be a much better place if everyone paused for a moment to practice yoga. The entire world would quickly become all namaste.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,979 – Thankful for Creating Space in Nature in a City

I am currently sitting outside our hotel and convention center. If I look with my eyes there are people everywhere, buildings, concrete, fake grass, and palm trees with 2×4 board supports. Anything but being outside in nature. The smell of chlorine, food, and cigarette smoke linger in the air. The breeze blows the sounds of people talking, traffic, and rushing water from the water park towards me and into my ears.

I can choose to focus on this if I wish. If I choose nothing specific to put my attention towards they suffocate my senses. They lock me into a place I don’t find peace, the put me into a self selected purgatory of sorts.

I have made the choice to not see it, to not hear it, to not smell it. I am outside, under the sun, and in nature.

I close my eyes and think about my recent walk around the large pond. Though it may technically be a retaining pool it was a treasure trove of the outdoors for me. The only sounds I heard were those of turtles splashing into the water as I walked by, the wings of birds propelling themselves across the lake in search of fish, and the quiet stillness of the breeze. I don’t see the traffic on the nearby interstate, I choose to see all the miracles of nature in the water. So many birds, fish, and turtles. No gators like earlier in the day, but still so much to see.

I am thankful for the reminder today of how being out in nature is a mindset that is ours to choose and seek out, even when surrounded by people and in urban areas. It’s all a matter of intentionally choosing what I want to focus my thoughts and energy on.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,975 – Thankful for Driving On Snowy Roads

This may sound crazy, but I’m thankful for snowy roads today. My commute to Eau Claire was a bit longer than usual due to the road conditions. Between snow, ice, & wind the speeds in all directions were significantly slower than usual. This led to a couple of unexpected benefits.

Thanks to the slickness of the roads I knew I’d be in for a long ride. With that mindset I calmed way down, accepted whatever was thrown my way, and I could feel my blood pressure drop. It was so much more relaxing when I knew I was in no hurry. Instead I leaned into the slower pace and totally chilled while driving.

The extra time in the car also helped me make some serious progress on the next book I’ve been reading. With the added calmness I felt as if I were able to retain significantly more than usual which was great! There was also time to pause, reflect, plan, and then get back to the book itself. Bonus reading time!

Sure, it’s not ideal, but if I choose the right mindset there’s even something to be thankful for on snowy roads.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,969 – Thankful for a Well Stocked Tool Belt and Many Hours of Practice

I am continually reminded of the power of intentionality. By taking time to figure out what I really want in life I’ve been very blessed to see so many opportunities to live into my dreams and goals. Whether it is just my mind seeing more of what I want to look for or if there are truly more opportunities I really don’t know and I don’t really care which is right. Life is better when I spend time focused on what I would really like to focus on and accomplish.

Recently I was selected to give a keynote address at a conference I’d applied to. The funny thing is that I actually put in two applications. The first was with my business owner hat on, focused on recruiting, retention, and the importance of communication between leadership levels during a workforce shortage. I was positive this would be the one selected, it fits the theme of the event and is right in my normal wheelhouse. The second was a bit of a flier. Living into one of my goals for the year I went out on a limb and took a risk. It was something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time but I was nervous about being rejected, I felt very vulnerable. It was on a different topic I am very passionate about, one that I’ve worked on, and one I’ve written about often.

I only convinced myself to do it by convincing myself that it would be okay because the work based proposal would be the only one to be selected. LOL – and now look at how the tables have turned!

While that was fantastic news there’s something I’m much more thankful for today.

After finding out I was selected yesterday I panicked for exactly one breath and immediately moved into confidence. After the initial shock passed over I went into creative mode. I smiled and knew I would be successful in this.

I went back to my tool belt and selected the resources I would nee to start building. There were a couple of books I remembered reading which would help me out. I reached out to a mentor right away to give her a heads up of what was on the horizon. I started jotting notes to myself. I dug into my manuscript and old blogs and started pulling material forward.

Each of these tools were available so readily as I’d worked on preparing them long before they were needed. All the books I’ve read, the coaching I’ve received, the writing I’ve done – they all were at the ready. My confidence soared as I realized I had everything I need to be successful.

Additionally, my confidence was growing stronger as I have practiced for this many, many times. I’ve put in so many reps, so many hours. Between trainings, speeches, meetings, and the like I’ve honed my craft for hours and hours. All that practice will come in to help spring me forward into this project. Without all those hours and all that practice I would have so much further to go, so much more work to do.

In many ways it is the confidence I’ve felt when running a marathon. I’ve put my practice miles in and now it is time to perform. Knowing I’ve put in the work needed to get to the starting line helps my mind see that this is doable, a project I’m excited to dive into.

I am so thankful for prepping my tool belt early, for putting in the hours. Time to put them all to work to create something awesome!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,879 – Thankful for a Glimpse of the Other Side of the Gap

Pause. Breathe. Relax. Zoom out. Prioritize. Focus. One step. Another step. Breathe in. Action. Breathe out. Action. Repeat. Intentionally present. Enter flow.

What a powerful tool the mind is. Used intentionally the focus is unstoppable. Pause, focus, enter a state of flow. This can be done at literally anytime. Yet I do it far more rarely than I should.

When left reacting to emotion each wave becomes like another would be rescued hoping to save a drowning person by jumping in with them only to be drug down to the depths while adding another victim to the situation. Emotional response to emotional response only compounds and exacerbates the challenge.

Pause to focus, to breathe, and to grasp what can be controlled. Set emotion aside for its proper time and take logical and intentional action to solve the scenario first. Enter a state of flow through focused effort and complete the goal.

Today I was the calm in the center of the storm. I paused. I breathed. I focused. I took logical and intentional action. Emotions were set aside, my presence was targeted at the right task with no distraction. I was in a state of flow until the task was completed.

I realized that I have the opportunity to do this at anytime. I need only choose it. So easy to say and see, so difficult to do. Practice, practice, and more practice.

Today I saw a glimpse of the other side of the gap. The beauty on the other side so close at hand and so difficult to attain. The memory of today will steel my will to practice to work towards it more.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,876 – Thankful for Dominic’s Courage to Do Anything

Dominic is starting to work on his Eagle Scout project. The potential project includes creating a dog park in our neighborhood. The first step before he can even put his proposal together is to ask all the nearby home owners if they would be okay with that.

No worries, Dominic just put on his Scout uniform, grabbed his notepad, and started knocking on doors. How wild is that? Even better, he doesn’t know who more than half the people are! Dominic is basically going out and doing cold calls voluntarily in support of a good cause.

That simple action makes me so proud. It’s be so easy to take the easy way out and find a different project, use a over, or some other form of communication. Nope, he’s grabbing the bull by the horns and has received some tremendous feedback already.

One more reason I’m proud of Dominic, he understands that some of the best things in life lay well beyond the point of discomfort. Never give in to fear when courage is the right answer.

Super proud of you dude! Love you bud!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,873 – Thankful for Walking Meditation and Stillness in the Woods

Rather than boarding a flight to an ocean beach I was wandering the woods in the snow. Quite the contrast, right? I was exactly where I should be.

Becky and I spent most of our morning at Pike’s Peak outside of MacGregor, Iowa. Due to the cold weather and snowfall we were amongst the few in the entire park. Once we were more than 100 yards from the observation area we never saw another soul.

I drew in breaths of fresh autumn air through my nose and concentrated on soaking in each exquisite little detail of the sights and sensations around me. The bright red leaves and even more scarlet berries of one type of plant. The drops of water resting on the waxy underside of oak leaves. Each little “brick” in the elaborate lattice work of the limestone rock outcroppings. The sensation of the cool winter-ish breeze and snow rushing against my face and tickling the hairs of my beard. The lighting of the woods shifting and transforming as the sun danced amongst the clouds. The music of Becky’s voice as we shared our joys of the wilderness. Each step. Each breath. Each individual second. Pure magic, pure joy.

Our morning was spent in a walking meditation in the stillness of the woods. Exactly where I was called to be in those moments.

If this were my last day I would go peacefully, full of joy, fully satisfied, and with a heart full of love. Today I have lived.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,872 – Thankful for Inspiration from the Insight of Incredible Teammates and Re-Reading an All Time Favorite

I am so grateful to be surrounded by so many incredible teammates. Not a day goes by in which I’m not thankful for the plethora of strengths they gift to our teams. Their hard work, high energy, and proactive action within our values is impressive. The momentum they’re building is a force to be reckoned with.

Today a few of us paused reality for a handful of hours. Select the office, went to a quiet place, and spent time discussing the future. We shared ideas for potential challenges and their corresponding opportunities. My teammates sharing fantastic insight into how we can continue to grow through the next year – both in business and as a team. The ideas they shared were awesome and the way they worked together to help position the team in a place to really utilize their unique talents was impressive. My mind has been racing with possibilities since we started our conversation.

My incredible teammates inspired me to dream even bigger dreams for next year. Their passion, energy, and awesomeness will no doubt propel us to a wildly successful future.

After spending a lot of quiet time processing so much of our conversation I fire up an audiobook for the rest of my drive home. It’s been a little while since I fired up one of my all time favorite and most impactful books so I figured it was a perfect time to load it up. For the however many-eth time The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday is reminding me of the importance of my perceptions, my actions, and my will. For reals, this is one of the most insightful and useful books you will ever read.

Thanks!!!