Where Is That Second Arrow?

According to the Buddha when we feel pain there are two arrows released. We are unable to avoid the first arrow, pain, however we can avoid the second arrow, our reaction to the pain. Pain in life is inevitable, but our reaction to the pain is controllable. We can choose to accept the pain or we can choose to suffer.

On June 11, 1963 Thich Quang Duc lit himself on fire to protest the religious persecution of the Catholic led government. It is said that he sat without making as sound as his body ignited, and was consumed by fire. What does this have to do with the two arrows? Thich Quang Duc allowed the first arrow to strike, but did not react to the second arrow. He had complete control of the situation. He was the master of his destiny, and quite frankly changed the world forever.

We all have ability to control our reactions to painful situations. Mindfulness practice and meditation can be the first steps to removing suffering from our lives. Unless you practice frequently and often this ability can be fleeting. I haven’t been practicing as much lately, and I have been noticing quite the difference in my reactivity. I think it’s time to once again create a daily practice. Even it’s just a few minutes.

What Is The Motivation?

Why are there some people who feel the need to make hateful and disrespectful comments to people who are just sharing their story, and trying to inspire others? I don’t understand this. What is the point?

I know it has become the culture to cut down people who might annoy you or might call you out. But why? Why not engage in a more constructive way or just don’t engage at all. Just move on. Why is it hard to find something positive to say to someone if you want to comment? It’s not. You can always find something kind to say if you really want to.

I’m making this observation based on comments directed at someone who has quite a following, and this person is learning to swim in the attempt to start triathlon. I’m super excited for this person. I’ve enjoyed watching this person overcome their fear of the water, and slowly gain more yardage with each training session. This person has to put up with so much hatred for just existing, and sharing their truth.

I can only imagine how I would react if I had this constant source of hatred thrown at me for being myself. It’s just wrong that we treat each other like this.

What do you see?

Today, much of my learning revolved around mindfulness and visualization, which flowed into the concept of grit. I don’t know how much grit I actually had as a younger person, but there have been phases in my life where I had lots of follow through, but in my mid-20’s my life was thrown off track, and I allowed myself to fall down into a depression that just kept sliding. I don’t know why I couldn’t fight my way out, and get back on track. I was in a totally new place, and I was working in a lab, but I knew that it wasn’t going to go anywhere. Instead, of continuing to try to find away back into a program similar to the one I was forced to leave. There were schools that offered a similar program that I could have work back into, but I didn’t push through. Instead, I dropped that passion and tried to follow something else. That just led me down a totally different path.

I had another goal that took a little less that 5 years to achieve, and I found myself continuing to search. I was happy, but I knew there was that little monster of depression and anxiety hanging back in my head. Then, in 2012 I started my fitness quest. Well, really I started trying to follow the Blue Zones principles. I sought out community. I started running, karate, and other athletic pursuits. I started eating better. All these things have contributed to me becoming a more healthy person. I finally see my passion, and I can visualize the outcome. There are a few hurdles that I can’t control. However, I’m going to attempt to stay on the path even if the path curves a bit.

I Never Know What to Expect

For some reason this week was a bit of a challenge. First, I shot my eye with full strength Peppermint Dr. Bronner’s soap. Let me tell you don’t do that ever. It’s very painful. Okay, it’s not the first time that I have done this, but this was the most painful. Yesterday, I decided to do a bit of bike care by re-wrapping my handlebar tape and wiping down my bike. I loaded bike into the train for a nice easy spin only to find myself falling over onto the bed about half way through. Apparently, the skewer wasn’t secure in the trainer. Go figure. I’ve never had that happen before. To me it was in slow motion, but apparently it make enough noise and burnt rubber smell to have J. running in to check on me before I had fully comprehended what had happened. I was okay, the bike was okay, but the floor was not so lucky. There was deep black skid mark along my floor. With a little patience, and some Bon Ami I was successful in removing most of the evidence of my folly. Note to self: Double check that everything is secure.

In brighter news, I received a letter stating that I had been awarded the KES Distinguished Student of the Year award. That made super happy, and it comes with a small prize that I can put towards my winter classes. I also officially completed my 2022 Honu Ironman registration. I have been deferred since 2020 due to the pandemic. Luckily, I am now fully vaccinated, and feel that it would be okay to start heading out on adventures again. I admit I’ve enjoyed staying close to home, but I do miss swimming and the local races. I almost talked J. into getting a swimming pool last week..

I do have one running race to look forward to in September, but for some reason I haven’t signed up for any of the other races that have been announced. I suppose one at a time. =)

Shall We Dance?

Today, I started watching the Last Dance on Netflix. I have had several professors recommend that I watch this documentary series. I’ve always loved basketball, but never really enjoyed watching others play the sport…. Okay, well I haven’t enjoyed watching men play the sport. I really enjoy watching ladies basketball. They are just two totally different games. That’s not to say that I don’t respect the athleticism of male players. Anyway, I remember the Chicago Bulls heyday, as may of the people I knew at the time were big Bulls and Michael Jordan fans. It just wasn’t something that I played into at the time.

Now, fast forward 20 some odd years and I’m watching the documentary to learn about sport psychology and how sports plays a role in the spirituality of players and community. I’m only one episode in, and I see that Michael Jordan was determined to be an amazing player from a young age. He had “grit.” Was that instilled by his mother who made sure that he got his education or was he naturally self driven and his mother just help push him further in his goals? Clearly, he had a winning combination of nature and nurture to produce the legacy that he has. Really, when people start tattooing themselves with your likeness then you have to know you have made some sort of impression on society.

Now, I’m also in the middle of Grit by Angela Duckworth… Don’t confuse her with Tammy Duckworth. They are different people. (that’s a joke… of course they are different people) This book attempts to delve deep into what makes people produce incredible feats. What makes someone amazing at a task? It takes hard work, determination, and conscious practice over hours and hours to achieve these feats.

Time is up…. More tomorrow.

Game, Set, Match

I finished reading the Inner Game of Tennis today. It brought back some memories from high school.

I wasn’t the most popular kid in school, but I wanted to have friends and be liked. There was just something about me that made me the lonely kid. During my transition between middle school and high school I lived near the local tennis courts. The offered tennis camps during the summer, and it was within walking distance. Since, most of my summers were spent home alone watching T.V. it was a great opportunity for me to get out and enjoy some activity.

I of course was a beginner, and when I arrived at the first class I was much older than the other students. I tried to so hard to do well, and towards the end of the summer camp I thought that I had progressed significantly.

There is a small part of the story that I’m not telling you. I had this super big crush on a boy called Jimmy H. I had told him about my crush in my 8th grade year. I think he was mortified by the fact that I had a crush on him. However, if I recall correctly he wasn’t really rude about dismissing me, but I admit to continue to pine after him even though I didn’t bring further attention to myself. See, Jimmy H. was a star tennis player in middle school, and of course I knew he would be on the high school tennis team. So, there was a small part of me that wanted to join the high school tennis team to be closer to him. I think my rational was that if I could be good at tennis, and make it on the team then he would see me as a potential girl friend.

I know failed logic there.

However, I really did enjoy tennis. I tried to practice all summer, and tried out for the tennis team in 9th grade. Let’s face it I didn’t have the skills as a beginner in high school, and promptly was told I wasn’t going to make the team cut. Tennis kids start young and train like crazy. My crush faded, and I moved on. I was still the sad lonely kid for the rest of my high school career. All I wanted to do was fit in somewhere, but never quite found my niche. It felt like most people put up with me because they didn’t quite know what to make of me. I don’t really know what they thought… that’s me just making up stories because I can only remember bits and pieces of my early life. I’ll hear a story or a song, and then some small bit comes racing back.

You Can Be A Badass Everyday

Yes, there is a book with that same title. I actually listened to it this morning, and one of the take-a-ways was to try to journal 15minutes everyday. I have this blog, and it’s just sitting here with me not posting anything. I can usually come up with 15 minutes in the day to cruise social media or find some other way to waste my time. Why not start blogging again even if it is is free form with random thoughts here and there?

That is the new goal. Help keep me to it. Feel free to edit my typos or whatever to keep me coming back updating.

The last I posted here I was starting my 2021 miles for the year running journey. That was going quite well until I developed another stress fracture in mid-March. There is no way to safely catch up on the running miles at this point in the year. Therefore, I am combining my biking and run miles to complete the goal.

I am now on the mend, and starting to slowly build my running miles back. Running is very important to my mental well-being. I was lucky that during the most part of the my time off I was in the middle of A&P1 which kept me very occupied with a clear goal. I was happy that my effort paid off with an A in the class. I had been putting off taking Anatomy and Physiology for awhile. When I took the class during my first full time in person summer semester in college many many moons ago I got a not so good grade. It soured me… However, I am at a point where I am attempting to challenge myself as frequently as possible by putting myself in uncomfortable situations with the understanding that magical things can happen if I try, and nothing will happen if I don’t try.

I’m growing…. I’m just not sure how I’m growing right now. I’m attempting to communicate more. It’s something that despite all my anxieties that I can do well. I just need to start practicing more with people in person. The pandemic year has really allowed me to regress and in some ways complicated some of my social anxieties. I will just work to push past these hurdles.

I’m also working on a reading challenge for the year. Read 100 books. I’m currently making progress with 35 books down. So, what book should I read/listen to? To be honest I’m only reading school books. All other books are audio books. Does it really even matter these days?