Have you ever experienced gigantic “ah-ha” moment when literally hundreds of little bits of information and knowing come together to raise your awareness and understanding?
For the first time in my 50+ year life, I am working with an athletic coach. Because triathlons have become an increasingly fun and important part of my life, I went from being active when I felt like it to following an intentional training plan.
Today, instead of “going for a run,” which just meant one speed for as long as felt right, I am following a complex pattern of “hill repeats” prescribed by my coach. Basically this interval training consists of running to a hill (warm up), running up the hill and then walking down the hill ten times and running back (cool down).
As I am walking down the hill for the first time, feeling my fast beating heart slow and regulate, I realize that this is preparing my body for the next hard thing – running back up the hill. Instead of continuing to run, wearing myself out, I am getting a welcome break after every hard effort.
What a concept!!!
Your life is full of hills, even if you’re not a runner
On the downslope, I recognize that I have spent my life in push-through mode, never allowing myself the time to recover in between the tough times.
I bet you can relate to the predictable go-go-go-go-go-go-STOP pattern. The stop is always unwelcome, viewed as an inconvenience, an irritation, an annoyance and it comes with sickness, injury, and pain. My body signals to me that I need to stop and if I am going to ignore that fact, it will give me a reason to stop. And so, reluctantly and resentfully I shut down because I simply have no choice. We’re not talking about a 45-60 second pause like my coach recommends. We’re talking about halting just about everything for days and sometimes even weeks.
What if you took the time to recover between hard efforts? What if you allowed yourself the opportunity to re-charge before hitting the next proverbial “hill”?
I realize that this is exactly what I have been inviting into my life for the past 11 years (it’s been 11 years since my
breakdown spiritual awakening). Space. Time to recover. Time to re-charge. And let me tell you, this has been a necessary and wonderful shift.
So, I ask you: how do you prevent your own life from coming to a grinding halt? How do you take charge of your schedule and your energy and create your own stops?
Think about weaving the idea of interval training and the cycles of recovery into your life. It doesn’t have to happen on a grand large scale, although that can be wonderful (think vacation and spa days). How can you build natural pauses into life on a small scale? A micro scale? A minute-by-minute scale?
Try to intentionally schedule time in your day to walk around the block, to do a couple of yoga stretches, sit and enjoy a cup of tea, meditate, practice gratitude, smell an essential oil, or to take a power nap. I do these things intentionally because they help me stay grounded and allow me to better handle the inevitable “hill climbs” that I am faced with each and every day.
Remember: hill climbs are inevitable, suffering and collapse are not.