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 1,989 – Thankful for Sharing Many Moments of Joy, Love, and Beauty

What a fulfilling day on so many levels. Seemingly around each corner was an opportunity to grow, to love, to support, to help, or to feel incredible sense of purpose. Not everything went as planned, but even the things that didn’t happen as expected presented opportunities for beauty, love, and joy.

When I stopped at Caribou Coffee to pick up some drinks for my team I was presented a new opportunity. The cashier was hearing impaired and smiled and pointed to the whiteboard. This was a first for me and it was an experience I’ll never forget.

Without spoken language we communicated the order for six drinks with various intricacies. We laughed together at various times, helped each other through hand motions, and shared so many smiles together as we proceeded through the transaction. At one point when she was trying to help me answer a question she resorted to wrapping her arms around herself and acting like she was shivering. “Iced!” I proclaimed with glee and a giggle. It was amongst the most pleasant and joyful customer experiences I’ve ever had.

As a writer and speaker I’m a huge fan of words to communicate. In many ways they are the tool of my trade, my most trusted implement. With the inability to use them it was interesting to see how quickly we were able to adapt and still make a connection. At a deep and primal level it helped me see that we are all truly wired for love.

There were so many other moments which touched my soul. Receiving coaching from teammates, listening to friends, seeing how past mistakes were translated into learning which was passed on as wisdom. Seeing how different we all are as people and yet how perfectly similar we all are. Recognizing our shared anxieties and helping each other through them. Realizing a profound sense of purpose in both helping others and in receiving help. Sharing in our humanity, sharing love and joy even in, and especially in, moments of pain and frustration.

If today were my last day upon the earth I would go into the next completely peaceful and knowing I’d spent much of my last day of this life witnessing the beauty, joy, and love we are all capable of.

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 1,986 – Thankful for an Awesome Phone Call with Mom & Changing After 17 years

This afternoon I had an awesome phone call with Mom. Our lives are all pretty busy and sometimes it seems to be a little difficult finding times when we’re both available to connect for long periods of time. As such, we often end up having calls which are shorter than either of us would like them to be.

Today everything lined up just right and we took advantage of the perfect timing. We talked about so many topics, shared great memories, talked about new projects, and so on. I greatly appreciate those opportunities to connect with Mom and have that focused conversational time. The boys and I are heading up next Saturday so we’ll have a little bonus time then too!

While cleaning the floor in our bedroom I had a crazy idea. Ever since we moved into this house we’ve had the bed in exactly the same place. The bed has changed but the location has been constant. Seeing as I already had the bed moved across the room for a good deep clean of the floor I thought I’d see how it looked in a different place. By the time I got everything situated it looked way better than I’d expected. I was pretty stoked when Becky saw the move and smiled.

Yes, I’ve reached the point when excitement can be found in something as simple as moving furniture. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I really don’t care. Sometimes change can actually be fun… though we’ll see if I feel the same way after I wake up in the middle of the night and see if I remember that I moved it around!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,980 – Thankful for Shifting Perspectives

On my flight back home today I was fortunate to have a couple of things work out just right.

First off, I got to the Orlando Airport two hours early this morning which was twenty minutes early thanks to my TSA PreCheck. Had I gone through regular security I would have been about an hour late for my flight due to how ridiculously busy the airport was with travelers – and that was at 5:30am!

On my flight to La Crosse I was on the left side of the jet and in the seat right in front of the start of the wing. My vantage point was perfect for watching the world disappear beneath me until it looked like a tiny scale model.

Thanks to the wind direction we flew west until we were almost to the lock and dam in Genoa. We banked to the right and followed the Mississippi River Valley to the north. This is one of my favorite areas nearby in the Driftless, so many beautiful bluffs mixed with wetlands and the river. As we went north we flew near Brownsville, MN, the town we store our boat at in the winter and where we used to keep our boat on the water. As we flew by I was able to trace my typical route from the main road through the town and to Al’s Small Engine and Whitesitt Storage, the home and business location of the best small engine mechanic in this area. Seeing this place I visit several times each year from up in the air was an incredible shift in my normal perspective. The way the undulating hills roll into the valleys was quite the sight.

Looking back I’m kind of kicking myself for not taking a couple of pictures, but then again I am not because I put all of my being into being present in that moment. I was so focused on soaking it all in while in a deep state of child like curiosity and wonder that stopping to snap a quick pic would have most likely ruined the moment. I was where I was supposed to be in that moment and I styled right in it until the wheels touched down.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to see one of my favorite places from a new perspective, can’t wait to drive it again and see it from the “normal” way again with the added perspective from up above.

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 1,976 – Thankful for Choosing the Right Mindset, Even When a Flight is Delayed

Attitude is everything and has such incredible power over how we see the world. When I take the time to choose the right mindset the world is a profoundly wonderful place, even when life is a little difficult. When I choose a poor mindset, especially over something minor, the world feels a little colder and I’m left feeling empty.

I’m currently chilling at the Charlotte airport, sitting at a countertop with my phone plugged in. I was supposed to be on my next flight by now, but that’s not how things worked out. Instead I’ve got a couple of hour delay before my last flight of the day.

It would be so easy to be frustrated over the added inconvenience, but that’s not the right choice. The better mindset is to see this as a blessing, some bonus time I’ve been gifted in order to work on a couple of projects. Over the past several hours I’ve both started constructing my presentation for the upcoming CVSHRM conference AND started working on an idea which could end up being my next book. The creative juices are flowing and I’ve now been given extra time to roll with it.

Time to get back at it!

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 1,968 – Thankful for Yoga Opening My Mind for Five Words of Wisdom

There are so many reasons I enjoy yoga tremendously. Throughout the day many of those benefits were in my thoughts. My body was very loose even though I was in the car a lot today. I felt incredibly well rested when I woke up this morning, the workout last night helped my drift off to sleep quickly and deeply. The calm and stillness from the focus of the practice last night rolled right into this morning and has stuck around all day. Those benefits were awesome, but there was another reason I was thankful for yoga last night.

Five simple words which have been turning in my head since the last third of last night’s practice…

Nick, our instructor, was pushing us hard yesterday in a very good way. He kept encouraging us to go just a little further, to hold our breath a little longer, to move into a slightly more difficult position than the one we’d chosen. Long story short, he was helping us find our edge and push right up against it in a highly supportive environment.

At one point after we finished a difficult pose he shared five words he’d learned from a past teacher. When Nick shared the coaching I was completely present, my breathing focused, my mind cleared of any thought other than my breath. He spoke and I listened intently. The words struck me powerfully, such a juxtaposition to the deeply quiet calm I’d slipped into throughout yoga.

Since sharing the words of wisdom they’ve been reverberating in my mind for so many reasons. They seemed to unlock something I’ve been unknowingly struggling with. With those five words in mind I handled several things differently today than I ever would have.

Yoga helped me get to a quiet place in which I was ready to truly hear the coaching and let it sink in completely. One more reasons to love yoga, it helps me quiet my brain and my soul so I can listen completely.

The words of wisdom?

“See your students as powerful.

Thanks!!!