"But how do we listen? It is so simple and so hard. So obvious to begin and so elusive to maintain. In this lies the vitality of deep listening. To keep beginning. Over and over. To keep emptying and opening. And simply to keep listening."
I read this quote today while reading one of my favorite books, The Exquisite Risk. I was so excited because it correlated so perfectly with what I was talking about the other day about breathing into my abdominals.
Let me briefly explain if you didn't read that blog.
I was talking about how I used my breath the other day to get through an intense abdominal workout. I talked about how amazing it worked but also how difficult it was to maintain my focus to stay in a state of presence and awareness.
This quote states my challenge that day so perfectly! I was determined to stay present and listen to my body. I was determined to be IN my body in every moment and breathe through the burning in my abs. It was so simple and so so hard! I really did have to keep beginning, over and over and over. I had to stay aware of my mind to catch it right when it started to wander and tell me how tired the workout was making me and how much my abs were cramping. I had to stay empty and open. I had to relinquish any judgement of myself during the process or I would have quit immediately.
The last part of the quote was equally applicable...
"... For to listen is to continually give up all expectation and to give our attention, completely and freshly, to what is before us, not really knowing what we will hear or what that will mean. In the practice of our days, to listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear."
I couldn't put ANY attention on whether or not I was going to make it the entire 40 meters (abdominal seal lid walks). I couldn't put ANY attention on how many times I had to stop the last time or if I was going to stop the next time. I had to put ALL my focus and attention on the present moment. In this moment, and then this one, and this one and this one...
I had to be open and willing to feel something different. I had to be open and willing to TRY something different and hear my body in a different way and wow, was I changed by what I heard and what I experienced.
What I heard my body say that day was... give me your attention and I will tell you all about yourself. Open to me and give me your deepest breath and I will relieve your pain.
~~ The joy is in the journey... ;)
I LOVE this new shirt I got at Old Navy this weekend! BREATHE!! 24.7!
I was just having a conversation with my son about how I use my breath during workouts to get through some of the toughest moments. Those who know me well know that I am always working on breath control and that I do my best and perform my best when I am calm and centered.
It perhaps seems obvious that when you are working hard you should focus on your breath but when you are in it and you are trying to push yourself ... sometimes you may just forget. OR, you default to a panicked, fast-paced breathing because you are "supposed" to be breathing hard.
I give the example often that, in the beginning of my breath control journey, I was doing some sprint work on the treadmill. I believe I was doing 10 sets of 30 seconds on / 30 seconds off intervals. I remember getting to the 5th set or so jumping off to the sides of the treadmill after my sprint. I was breathing so hard when all of the sudden I stopped myself and had a moment of clarity and awareness. I felt into my body and thought, "Am I really THAT tired?" After a quick body scan I realized I actually was NOT! My breathing immediately calmed down and I laughed at myself thinking... "I guess I thought I was SUPPOSED to be breathing hard because I am doing sprints!"
SO crazy how your mind can mess with you like that! How conditioning can take over if you are not being consciously aware of your behavior!
So, Sunday, I was doing some seal lid walks - (In a push-up [hollow] position, put your feet on something that will slide across the floor, and pull yourself with your arms, like a seal, across the floor. It's abalicious! :P) and oh my gosh, my abs were, not just on fire, but nearly cramping! I had to stop many times just to make it the 50 meters in that first set. Just like in my sprinting example above, in the next set I decided to be very aware and keep in close touch with my body. Do I REALLY need to stop or can I use my breath to move through this without stopping?
So, I began the set and not too far into it I felt that burning, cramping feeling coming on again. I used my mind to go INTO my abs and I pictured my breath going into my muscles. I was breathing deeply and deliberately and keeping my mind super calm and present. It only took a few seconds for the pain to literally subside and I finished that set without stopping. I am always amazed at how well it works. I am ALSO amazed at how tough it can be to stay in that place when you are in the moment. It took quite a bit of effort to stay present and not allow my mind to take over telling me that what I was doing was difficult and should be making me tired. But, having done so I felt like a rock star! lol!
See, there are SO many gifts to working out besides just seeing how fast you can do something or how much weight you can lift.
I want to tap into my greatest potential - body, mind and spirit - in every workout. I made a little bit of progress that day toward taking control of my monkey mind and squeezing out some more of my potential. Try it next time you go workout and let me know how it goes!!
Those of you who know me well know that I have been working on my strength for the past year or more. My strength in the past has been more cardio - based workouts and really long Hero WODs. I am great at pacing myself and love the mental challenge of pushing through a long workout.
It has taken me a while to learn to love lifting heavy. Heavy squats, heavy deadlifts, heavy Olympic lifts...
I can honestly say now, though, that I really do love it. I LOVE feeling strong and the feeling of a lot of weight on my back and in my hands.
Now that the Crossfit Open is getting closer and closer I have been needing to get back into some of the more intense WODs that now, I don't necessarily look forward to! It seems so much more fun to lift heavy then feel that ache in my lungs and the burning in my muscles that most Crossfit WODS provide!
It has only taken me a couple of weeks to begin appreciating that feeling again though. I am happy to say that, as of Sunday, to me I am officially "back"! Lol! I was in the middle of a great "chipper" WOD determined to "make friends with the beast", as one ultra runner termed that feeling when you want to stop. :D I could feel during my kettlebell swings the number where I REALLY wanted to stop. I was watching my mind as it started to try to convince me that I was getting tired and that I should put it down. I say it ALL the time, but these are the most important times in my workout. THIS is what I am training for, and not just so I can get in a better workout, push my body more and get a better time, but this is how I strengthen my resolve for ALL things in my life. This is how I strengthen my will, how I prove my drive and my determination. This is how I get BETTER!
So, I think you already know what I did, or didn't do! Lol! I did all 40 of those kettlebell swings unbroken. I put that kettlebell down, looked at my son and said "YES!!!! - I'm BACK!"
Those little victories are SO important and I usually have little goals like that in mind before I start ANY workout. For me it's not always about my time, in fact, sometimes I forget to look at my time when I am done. For me it is about getting a little better each time at something I know I struggle with. Add up all the little victories and you get...
I started a fun, new tradition 2 weeks ago with my son and his girlfriend. Every Sunday we will go to Mile Hi Church to fill ourselves with Spirit. We then will go to a new restaurant every week to fill our bellies with good food and prepare our bodies for a Crazy Workout Sunday!
I can't speak for them but I have had the most wonderful time! It feels so good to be at Church again connecting with those who have a similar belief to mine. I love the energy there but almost more importantly I love sharing the experience with my son.
This past Sunday we all had a very interesting experience at the end of Church when everyone holds hands and sings. I had Bella to the right of me and Christopher was to the right of her and then I had another woman to my left. As soon as we joined hands there was a JOLT of energy that moved through us. It wasn't like a shock you get from static electricity but it was a deep surge of energy that we all felt deep inside our bodies. I looked at the woman next to me and she said, "Did you feel that?" I said, "Yes!". I looked over at Bella and said, "Did you feel that?" and SHE said "Yes!" There were only 5 of us that felt it and yet we were holding hands with a line of at least 50 people! Explain it scientifically how you will but, I believe it to have been the energy of Spirit! I was feeling particularly connected and joyful that day and perhaps everyone else around me had been too! I like to think we created some amazing and powerful energy with one another. :D
That was just one of the many amazing things that happened that day. There were many many synchronicities and magic that occurred. From a perfect parking spot right in front of the cafe we went to, which was PACKED, to little signs and symbols we came across that affirmed to us that the Universe had been listening to our conversations.
I love my alone time because, as I become more and more connected every day to Spirit, I know and feel like I am never really alone. Lately, though, I find myself craving and desiring to share my spirit and my spiritual, magical experiences with other people. I am grateful my son and his girlfriend were willing to start this tradition with me. It truly has been a gift and I look forward to many many more magical days shared with friends!
"In truth there is no road to travel, for what we call a path is but the awakening of a soul from its deep slumber."
~~ God I Am
So I mentioned the other day to you all that I had done some contemplating the last couple weeks and realized that I have been holding back in some areas of my life and that that was going to change this year.
Well, it may come as a surprise to most of you that one of those areas is my spirituality. If I am truly authentic with you all - which I always want to be - I am much more spiritual then I let on most of the time. My knowledge of metaphysical principles, quantum physics, universal theories, etc, is much more vast then I ever portray. The only reason I tend to keep it under wraps is because I feel like people wouldn't be able to relate to me and that is something I have felt since I was young when all we tend to want is to feel accepted and understood.
This year I feel it is time for me to let go of those kinds of fears and just be me. I will be writing more about it, informing you more about it and sharing my knowledge and wisdom more in hopes that in some way it will help you in your awakening. A lot of it I will also be posting on my page Juliet Schutte - The Human Being Project and on my website which is in the EARLY stages of being redone but you can go there anytime www.thehumanbeingproject.net.
I LOVED this picture because that is exactly how I feel about my role on this planet. I am NOT a teacher, a therapist, or truly even a life coach. I am an awakener. I don't know that I would compare myself to a monk with their hours of deep meditation and spiritual study but just know that when you come to me for something my role is to point you to your awakening not to counsel you through your issues. I most likely will not commiserate with you but instead show compassion and BE an unconditionally loving space for you pointing you back to your own wisdom and the knowledge that you have inside as a Divine Being.
I thank you ahead of time for your love as I continue on this journey of mine to complete authenticity, openness, transparency and vulnerability.... heart emoticon I bless and love you ALL!
"Those who dare to question their reality, I invite to join me in the grand adventure of Self-discovery, the flight of the soul. There is nothing to lose, only to gain! To redefine Self identity and to release fear as a result of it, is the answer to all man's woes. This is our purpose here. To realign our Being with the Divine Intent."
~~ Peter O' Erbe
I think it is really time for me to step out of my normal box. Watching videos about being authentic and embracing my TRUE self is getting me thinking about where I am limiting myself to fit in somehow. Sometimes I think I am bold and somewhat crazy and a rebel but I actually think I am MORE a rebel than I ever imagined. I am letting go of my fears of not being accepted and embracing the uniqueness that is me.
I believe differently, I understand things differently, I think differently. Everything about me responds differently than most -
I am more deeply spiritual than I have let most people believe. My knowings are far beyond what I have ever articulated.
I choose to receive all the abundance, abilities, talents and powers that I know have been waiting just outside me. I let it all in now. I release my fears of being seen and "needed" and embrace my purpose and BEING.
I need to take off my armor and my box and allow myself to be seen.
Dare to stand out - dare to be different… embrace the "other" in me.
The transformation - the aha moment came in the form of pain. I was being "scolded" for doing something "wrong". It was certainly a familiar feeling to me. As a former people pleaser I had felt this feeling before whenever I "spoke up" and said what was on my mind. Or went against my inner knowing and did or didn't do something I knew I should or shouldn't have. I DID feel like I wasn't really wanted there. Whether it was true or if I was creating it to BE true - I felt it. I realized as I was going through those familiar feelings that I wasn't happy. Oh gosh - hadn't I just said to my guides - "Where is my joy? Why have I been feeling so down for so long? What is going on with me?"
I really didn't know -
Although I DID know that for the last few months walking in there felt heavy. I felt a little nervous and just generally not happy.
I made the decision that moment that it was time to leave. And immediately -- I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. Oh my gosh! I felt like I could take a deep breath. I felt so open and light and …. Ohhhh there It was… HAPPY!! Ohhhh my JOY!
I looked back at the last few months and just thought -- Oh my goodness! THAT was it! I honestly didn't know at the time.
I had been asking for big change. I knew big change was coming and already in the other areas of my life it HAD! And I had wondered why THOSE changes hadn't helped me find my joy. When I was being told to let go of my past to move forward into a brand new future I didn't know or even THINK that it would include letting go of that.
It seems so obvious now though. I really had never felt like part of the family there although I loved many there. I didn't feel for a LONG time that I was getting there what I felt I needed although I received so much. When I didn't receive what I needed there - I fulfilled my own need. I DO believe that we have all we need within so I wasn't thinking that it was okay to desire fulfilling that from without as well.
No I didn't probably handle it the way my highest self would have. I was afraid of how they were going to react. Afraid of what they were going to say. I didn't want them to try to talk me out of it and try to get me to stay… not that they would have. I knew their history when other people left and it made me nervous. I guess I CAN give myself some credit for writing to them and letting them know.
Even though they were harsh with me and they defamed my character - I allow them their reaction. I really DO know deep down that they love me and they are just disappointed and hurt. If they DIDN'T love me they wouldn't care. I know that they are human too - flawed and perfect. I love them but I am TRULY glad not to be in their presence or in the presence of their family. I raised my vibration and the universe and my highest self took care of the details - even when I didn't know them. How could I ever NOT trust the Universe in bringing to me the match to that new vibration?! That is my only job -- to keep my vibration high - to continue to grow and live my JOY and honestly the rest IS taking care of already!!
My success is assured - my abundance received - my love arrived - my Joy and Happiness ARE!
I am SOOO proud of myself! I saw the truth - I told the truth and I followed my heart WITHOUT hesitation!
And now - I feel so happy, so free, so open! I feel like a HUGE wave of opportunity has opened up to me and it is amazing and sooo wonderful
I let go now of the need to "settle" - I let go of staying in a place where I don't feel comfortable, loved and accepted. I let go of feeling like I need to be invisible. I let go of the need to stay safe. I let go of being in my bubble as to not be exposed (which I didn't know I was doing). I had been shrinking in order not to disturb others. (NO idea I was doing that either!) And when I feel like someone is upset with me - I let go of the tendency to close my heart.
Let nothing ever close my heart. Let me never shut anyone out no matter how they behave toward me or what I think, they think of me. I will always allow people to have that warm connection with me. I DO have an incredible influence on others and I own that because I am a leader --- in service to others.
~~~~ I had such an amazing workout last night! Was it amazing because I felt amazing and everything felt awesome? Ummm no…
It was amazing because I learned so much about myself! I try to always go into workouts that look really tough with an attitude of learning something about myself. No matter how the workout ends up going I always learn something incredibly valuable.
Last night was like that.
So, let me first preface this by telling you that I took on the Sealfit Challenge of 24 hours of ruck in the month of March. Not at a time, but accumulated. I started that challenge the night before last with 1 hour (6 miles) of running with my 25# weight vest… Plus some other stuff… but I am just saying that I knew I might feel a little fatigued from that.
I got to Crossfit early last night so that I could get in 15-20 more minutes of ruck before class started – and I did that. This is where the journey began….
My legs were a little bit tired from the night before but not like I thought they would be which was a wonderful observation in and of itself. There is something so powerful about running with the weight vest. The strength I feel in my legs and my hips is so different than just running without it. I affirmed over and over to myself that my legs and hips are getting stronger and stronger with each step. Then after about a mile I began to feel some strain in my mid-back. “Perfect!” I thought! That is exactly the area I need to strengthen to make my front squats better! Awesome!
The rest of the run was “easy” focusing on keeping my back upright and keeping my breathing steady (which is something I am always working on…).
So then, the workout at Crossfit was JUST the kind I need to work on the most. Heavier weights with some cardio mixed in there for a time between 6 and 18 minutes. This one was a 12 minute AMRAP of
50 Double Unders
20 Heavy KB swings and
7 Heavy Split Jerks
I wanted to go heavy because that is my weakness and so with the help of my coach Brandon (I LOVE your programming by the way Brandon!) I chose to do the 55# KB and just do 15 and then I personally chose to do 115# split jerks. I wasn’t sure how those were going go but I knew I wanted to go heavier than I ever had in a WOD so I went for it.
It was the absolute perfect challenge for me! Not just physically, but mentally too – which I LOVE!
[You see, one of the things that I love about my crossfit journey is figuring out how to approach certain workouts and then afterwards deciding where I could have pushed it more, or less, or if I approached it just right. ]
In this particular workout I took a little more time to rest before the KB swings and the jerks because they WERE heavier than I was used to and I want to make sure I am not too fatigued to use good form. The KB’s went pretty well even though a few of them threw me around a little bit! (That IS nearly half my body weight after all! Lol!!) And the split jerks! Sooo funny to me how in almost all workouts my 3rd round is always my best! I struggled quite a bit in the first round with them, not just because it was a bit heavy but because I was figuring out how much power I could get out of myself while breathing harder. Every rep was a focused effort, mentally telling myself to put all I had into it and then physically allowing myself to feel fatigued AND push out as much effort as I could muster. At the same time, I was VERY aware that proper technique would make it easier even if it was heavy, so I focused on that too.
I was SO proud of myself for all of that! It just makes me smile SO big watching myself on this journey to becoming my strongest self, body, mind and spirit...
So – it isn’t over yet.. loll! Then we did the strength portion of the workout which was another perfect type workout for me to work on.
EMOM for 8 sets (4 sets each)
Even minutes: 7 Toe to Bar – 7 105# power cleans
Odd minutes: 7 Toe to Bar – 7 105# front squats
SO, yes, I am already pretty fatigued (and feeling hungry at this point… :P) so I knew the power cleans at that weight might be tough but I could do them. The front squats on the other hand (which I am still making friends with mind you… ) well, I knew I could DO 7, but wasn’t sure I could do 7 Toe to Bar AND 7 front squats at that weight in a minute! Lol! Brandon and I discussed doing 5, but doing 7 if I could make it. (I ended up only doing 5)
This workout was CRAZY awesome in the learning department! I really really loved it…. It was TOUGH! :D
I know I probably sound crazy (which is a comment I get ALL the time! Haha!) but there was something so brilliant about working my way through that. It is hard to describe what my body was feeling, although I suspect if you do crossfit you already know what I am talking about. I was tired, breathing hard and my muscles felt fatigued…. But at the same time… I actually felt strong! Lol! I had to stop and catch my breath quite a bit, I didn’t go unbroken on my cleans and my front squats were slow with a HUGE amount of effort to keep my elbows up and back upright but you know what? I freaking did it! And mentally – just to keep telling myself to keep going, to stay focused on one rep at a time and put all my energy into the muscles that needed it… such an incredible form of meditation in my eyes!
(Praying to the front squat God’s helped too I think.. :D)
I don’t often think too much about my time in my Crossfit workouts. I always try to do my best as fast as I can but, honestly, the journey of each workout is always my greatest interest. I always have mini-goals inside of my workouts that mean more to me than what my final time will be. In that first workout – I may have been thrown around a little on the KB swings but I didn’t drop that sucker! Lol! And I didn’t accidentally throw it across the room either! My heavy split jerks weren’t unbroken or fast but my shoulder didn’t hurt which means I was using good technique like I have been practicing in my weightlifting class for weeks. My front squats were slow and I didn’t do 7 but I kept my back up better than I have before which means my extra back work is paying off. And my cleans weren’t unbroken but I was feeling myself use my power better…..
Victories everywhere!!! :D Yayy!
And then another victory…
I went and finished off the rest of the 40 minutes I needed to complete my hour of ruck after that. Yep, I was fatigued but I made a commitment and fatigued does not equal incapable.
I love this quote by Joel Runyon…
"I don’t want to ever not do something because I’m scared. "
Does your workout scare you? Make you nervous? Don’t want to do it?
Then that is definitely the one you want to do!!