Walk the talk: conditioning your mind, body for success

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This past Sunday, I woke up conflicted: workout, yoga or hike? My response: When in doubt, hike it out. The moderate-to-difficult trail proved to be exactly what I needed as endurance training for an upcoming trek of mine categorized as “hard.” And, it afforded me three hours of solitude in which I mentally sketched out revisions for a book I wrote earlier this year, as well as prefaced my next work of fiction. The time I spent strategizing in the mountains served as an effective tool to condition myself for this approaching season jam-packed with writing commitments—including two back-to-back online workshops, as well as NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month)—carrying me well into the new year. Because whether it’s a hike, or a writing workshop, training and planning go hand in hand. If I’m willing to condition and equip myself on the trail, then I should do the same for my vocational aspirations. In other words: walk—or hike—the talk.

How do you “train” for success?

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7 truths on and off the trail

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As I often do while hiking, I pray. I meditate. I search my soul and ask what it longs for most. I plot my goals or a story outline. While trekking through the desert this weekend, it’s as if life made a little more sense to me on and off the trail with these truths: 1) Danger is always possible: prepare for the unexpected and proceed with caution. 2) To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun. 3) Remember where you came from: embrace your roots. 4) Keep your eyes open for love: it can show up in unlikely places. 5) Obstacles [aka mountains] are inevitable: it’s our choice whether to scale or avoid them. 6) If it’s meant to be, new growth finds a way. 7) When we think we’ve made it unscathed, another obstacle looms in our path: if it’s the same one, quit going around it and tackle it head on.

Which truth(s) can you relate to everyday life?

Lean on me: finding a balance between solitude and fellowship

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I usually hike alone, using the space to reconnect with nature, to work up a sweat and to pray. This past weekend, however, I joined a group of ladies for an unhurried trek in the mountains and I gleaned a few observations along the way: 1) Circumstances might require us to slow down and come alongside others who need encouragement or a helping hand; 2) When is oftentimes less important than how we reach our destinations and 3) Although I enjoy my alone time, I believe humanity was created for fellowship and that two (or more) are better than one: if I fall, someone will be there to pick me up. Whether I fall in the literal or metaphorical sense, my friends are there to lend a hand, a hug or a compassionate ear. It’s good to enjoy our own company, it’s better to surround ourselves with a reliable tribe and it’s best to find a balance between the two.

How do you balance alone time with companionship?

Photo courtesy of Yelloo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

 

Change your thought patterns, change your life

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In my recent post, “Be a miracle worker…,” I list a few examples of what self-improvement might look like, and I introduce a need to focus on my personal growth. For me, this means making changes to my everyday approach to life, including a radical shift in my thought patterns. Plus, I must look at the long-term with an open mind. These aren’t new epiphanies yet, during a recent hike, they materialized in a more profound way. Every several hundred feet, I’d look up from the rock-strewn path to the cerulean skies above. The mountaintops towered over me, reminders of how tiny I am… the fragility of life. And that instead of lamenting the stumbling blocks and detours on my journey, it’s essential to express gratitude for my daily blessings. When we shift our gaze on the things we’re thankful for, we have less time to “see” the disappointments. And sometimes what we think we want is nothing compared to what awaits.

What thought pattern can you change?

No pain, no gain

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no-pain-no-gain

 

Business travel and other commitments kept me away from the hot room for days. I told a friend I looked forward to the simultaneous pleasure and pain of that evening’s practice. Not entirely familiar with Bikram yoga, he asked why I do it if it causes me pain. When I last hiked, my aching body rebelled as the wind sliced through five layers. When I write, oftentimes it’s with my own blood. So, why do we endure the physical and/or emotional pain that may accompany a strong passion(s) we entertain? Sometimes there is pain in the midst of transformation and healing. Of course, there is the adrenaline high that pushes many of us beyond our comfort zones. For me, I do what I do to face a challenge, to squeeze out every last drop of living in a particular moment. To come out a better, more complete version of me. And sometimes that might mean a skinned knee in the process.

Why do you do what you do?

What is muse and where do you find it?

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muse


As the weather cools in the Southwest, the mountains beckon me with their rugged magnetism, the twists and turns in their craggy landscape. Yet sometimes it’s different, not the terrain—although, each time I’m there, it feels like new territory to explore—but the escape. Instead of finding respite, the noise in my mind might be matched by the noise on the trails. Hyper aware of my surroundings, this prohibits me from receiving solace, from settling into my muse—or source of inspiration—and picking up where I left off the last time I set foot in the desert. My time there is never wasted, however.
Oftentimes, it’s there I feel closest to my creator as I marvel at the splendor of my surroundings. And then I realize that it’s life, in all its glorious imperfections and unpredictability, that serves as my real muse. The mountains simply function as a catalyst to fan the dormant embers of passion into a burning flame.

What and/or where is your muse?

Tips to bloom where you’re (trans)planted

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Bloom

 

The article ‘Bloom where you’re planted’ talks about making the most out of our situation, whether we like it or not—until we can make a change or something better comes along or whatever it is that serves to transplant us. According to the article, Keeping our dreams alive is what uplifts the human spirit, and then it goes on to suggest four ways we can survive before we thrive: 1) [Understand] every step in life prepares us for the next one, 2) stop complaining, 3) be a blessing and 4) bloom through the concrete—changing ourselves instead of expecting others to change. Although I think there are a passel of takeaways in the article, if our environment is an unhealthy one—no matter how hard we try to bloom—we will encounter resistance. Also, as I mention in ‘5 Things Hiking, Life Have in Common,’ if we get too comfortable in one place, we may cease to grow altogether.

What’s your take on blooming where we’re (trans)planted?

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