“Make Haste Slowly”
-Stuart McRobert in “Beyond Brawn”
It’s a funny thing when you look back on the last year or so of your life and say: “What the fuck was I thinking?”
The last year has been a blur of stress and activity. At least half of that stress was the final “clean up” of my old life which included some legal, financial and real-estate nightmares that needed to be put to rest. They’re done, but the process wasn’t easy.
And I’m still pretty tired from all of it.
Last year was a time when I had to make a mess, stress myself to the max and work my ass off. I had to put my positive goals and passions on hold or slow down on them significantly so I could create a safe and clear place – a foundation – to build those positive goals and passions upon now.
I had to let go of a lot of things this past year. Some were things I wanted to let go of – or couldn’t wait to – and some were things I wanted to keep or would have kept if things could have been different.
An Empty Cup…
There’s that old Zen saying about having to “empty your cup” before you can take in new knowledge. In the same way, my life’s cup is pretty empty now. I’ve made room for all the new, positive and wonderful things I wanted and envisioned for years. And here we are – ready to start.
That’s the downside of spending a few years primarily putting out fires and cleaning up messes. No matter how positive REMOVING those things from your life can be, the end result when they’re gone is a blank slate. A blank slate at best. Back to zero.
I worked hard. And now, I get to start working hard. Fuck.
I get to start training seriously and intensely again. I get to start really focusing on eating and living Paleo 100% again. I get to start working toward making this blog one of the best in the World.
I get to start.
All the working and stressing over practical stuff like houses and moving and paperwork didn’t help my training. It helped create a nice, empty space to START hard training in, but it didn’t leave me better trained today than I was two years ago. If anything, I’m in worse shape today as I write this…
Let the Self-Talk Begin…
This is where I start to wonder why I didn’t do things differently. Train more, have a few less NorCal Margaritas, be Paleo 99% instead of 89% or 79%.
Couldn’t I have handled the last two years better? Couldn’t I have moved a little more? Couldn’t I have been a little more graceful and composed under pressure. Couldn’t I have done better?
I could have made better decisions.
If I really let this spin I can get furious. Furious about the time I wasted. Furious that I’m not someplace other than where I am right now. Furious about all the things I did and all the things I didn’t do or could have done differently. Furious about all the sacrifices I made that were either in service of someone else’s needs or just plain bad judgement on my part.
I could be someplace better.
Now Is All There Is…
I’m a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now.” That book changed my life back in 2010 and was actually the catalyst for this whole journey – the blog, the book, the move back to Old Saybrook, the daily meditation and yoga. It inspired me to follow my passions and live to be happy NOW. Not at some imaginary end-point in a future now. Now.
“The Power of Now” convinced me to live in the present and experience happy feelings there. It taught me to do what I love now – as opposed to suffering in the present to create a happy future that might never materialize.
That’s always an imaginary future.
All we ever truly have is now. We take action now, we’re happy now or we’re miserable now. Anything can only happen now.
Again today, the message of “The Power of Now” rings true for me: Stop resisting what is.
This is where I am and, for better or worse, the decisions I made brought me here. I could have made better decisions, but I made my decisions with the best information and judgement I had available at the time.
I did the best I could – as poor as that might have been at times.
But, now is all there is. Nothing I can do will change one single thing about the past. The only way possible is forward.
My life at this moment is all there is. I can relive the past in my head as often as I want. I can fantasize about an imaginary or ideal future all I want. I can wish and demand things be different.
They are not different and they won’t be different. Ever.
Some days at CrossFit Ironworks I have the slowest time on the board. Sometimes a few of the supermoms are training with more weight than I am.
And, yes, this is massively frustrating to me.
But this is where my life is at this moment. No amount of resisting what is or anger with myself or mental masturbation will change any of it. In fact, doing anything other than accepting where I am at this moment – the good, the bad and the ugly – will only delay getting to the better place I want to get to.
Start Where You Are…
Everything worth doing takes time. I never truly realized this before – as silly as that sounds.
You can’t become fit in a week. You can’t loose 50lbs in a month. You can’t get healthy and reverse a lifetime of inactivity and bad food in a summer. You can’t build a social circle in an evening. You can’t build a successful blog in a day. You can’t write a book in a week.
You just can’t.
It’s not even that most anything is that hard to do. What’s hard is making the decisions every single day to do the easy things that lead you to your ultimate goals – over time.
No matter how much time you’ve wasted in your life the only thing you can do is decide – right now – not to waste any more.
“I’ll be back baby, I just gotta beat this clock
Fuck this clock, I’ma make ’em eat this watch
Don’t believe me watch, I’ma win this race
And I’ma come back and rub my shit in your face, Bitch.
I found my niche, you gonna hear my voice
‘Til you sick of it, you ain’t gonna have a choice…”
If nothing else, this time of working to get “back to zero” has made me a much better coach. I can now deeply understand what it feels like to not be where you want to be in some areas of your life and not be able to get there in an instant.
True success is built slowly, one little bit at a time. The little successes and good decisions add up over time. I’ve seen it in my own life and I’ve seen it in those I’ve coached.
The only starting point you have is now, though.
Decide where you want to go and then get moving.
Just start. Don’t wait. Start. No matter how small a start. Start.
Get to work.
P.S – I wrote a post a few years ago that complements this one pretty well. Here it is: Is it Time for An Intervention?