“in some countries that would be considered walking”

By some strange twist of fate, I have been asked to and have decided upon “helping out” with the cross-country team where I work. I do not say coach because, well, in the grand scheme of running I know nothing. (And more importantly, if someone walked into my classroom and started calling herself a teacher, I’d be pretty annoyed.)

At any rate, the title of this post was overheard during a drill.

When I went out to run alone yesterday, I thought about this. Not about my speed because I am ridiculously slower than the students with whom I work. But I thought about it in terms of effort. Usually when I run, I do it at the easiest pace I possibly can.

And I wonder why I make such slow progress.

So, I eliminated music from my runs. Which was a really hard thing for me to do. But I completed a two-hour run without music and knew that I would be okay relying on the sound of my breathing and my footsteps.

Once that hurdle was passed, I decided to make a conscious effort to improve form and speed. Doing the same thing in the same way over and over again (slowly in my case) just ensures that you can do that very thing in the same way forever, I realized.

And already I feel much better about my progress this week.

Nice to know that “to teach is to learn” applies to coaching as well.

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Cobra Bow Tie by The Canine Gospel. But it was a close tie with Boogie Man by the same band.

The write-up is for another time because I’ve only listened to their demo about eighteen times today, and that’s not nearly enough for an adequate opinion. (I’m totally serious about that.)

But suffice it to say, I have a total love affair with electric guitars. And this band is my new crush.

music…

I was trying to edit wedding pictures today when I got sidetracked by the overabundance of pictures I had of the musicians at the wedding. This wedding featured a mariachi band, a live DJ, and a traditional rock-type band. I had a lot of fun playing with the pictures and presets in Lightroom.

And all the while my one major thought was: If I could have a beer with any two people in the world, it would be David Hidalgo and Louie Perez.


currents

I’ve pretty much been listening to Led Zeppelin for the past three weeks or so. Just been in that kind of mood. Plus, it’s good working and running music. I like the transitions to be seamless so pulling the iPod off the dock and switching to headphones to run is important. My current favorite, favorite song is “What is and What Should Never Be.” Screeching guitars. And it totally sets you up to think you’re going to get a nice, slow song. Then, BAM! That’s a good description of my overall mood, too.

Coincidentally, this has become my wedding-prep song. (Not for me getting married, but for shooting weddings.) Don’t ask.

For the books:

I picked up today “The Bullpen Gospels.” I heard Keith Olbermann talk about it a couple of months ago and was so disappointed to figure out that he had obviously gotten an advanced copy. So, I’m excited for it in a major way. Plus, I think it will help with the rewrites I’m about to begin.

The other is “The Winner Stands Alone” by Paulo Coelho. I’m working my way through Coelho’s books in the order they appear in my life. Seriously. I’ve had friends hand them to me. Then, I found one sitting on the shelf–out of place–at the library a few weeks ago. So, when I returned it today, this book was the only remaining book in the “Coelho” section. Figured that it must be the right time for it. The eerie thing about these books is that not only do I feel like they’re telling my story, but I also feel they’ve been timed perfectly each and every time.

The Miracle of This Is It

I’ve spent a substantial amount of time in the last few months thinking about energy. I started at the beginning of October to take note each day of what I devoted my energy to. I did this for a week without making any changes. I simply noted what consumed my thoughts, what was part of my physical tiredness, who I was loving, and what I was dreaming. At the end of each day, I used this review as my meditation.

After seeing where the energy was going, I started something new. I woke up determined each day to focus my energy on all things positive, all thoughts positive and to be surrounded by positive people.

Except for one brief lapse on the Tuesday of the third week, I have noticed a remarkable difference in my own demeanor, the amount of physical energy I have, and the joy I take in seeing people.

I will admit that I laugh at myself because it all sounds so very strange. It does and it doesn’t. It seems an odd undertaking to channel your own energy. It seems stranger to record it. My job takes every ounce of physical and mental energy that I possess five days a week, and I just found that it was virtually impossible to do it well and devote energy to anything negative whatsoever.

There is a certain joy to life that I strive for. It’s not a major thing at all. It’s a joy that is so simple that it gets overly complicated a lot of times.

When I was 12 years old, my aunt gave me a book called “The Miracle of the Bells.” In it a very young woman is trying to become an actress. She is never quite good enough, but get a “break” one day from her admirer and is cast in a film. At the same time, she is dying. She resolves to finish the film and does. After her death, it is decided that the film will not be released. Her friend develops a plan as he prepares for her burial. He asks that church bells in the small town she is from ring for days on end. As the bells ring, notice is paid to her story and the film opens with resounding success. He is so pleased that her spirit is not only preserved in the film but that she shines for the world to see.

If that were not life lesson enough, I took away from it a very simple passage. In it, the characters are discussing life. It is decided that she lived her life to the fullest she could. She did what she loved until the very day she died, and the world was left with her beautiful spirit. Her friend went on to say that had she lived past her fame, she would have been forgotten and her spirit would have died.

I have held onto that for the past 15 years.

I laughed at Matt Kemp throughout the entire baseball season because he was so gleeful as he played baseball for the Dodgers. Then, one night, I realized I shouldn’t be laughing at him, and I thought if I could take half as much joy in my work as he does, life would be pretty amazing.

I watched “This Is It.” The film made from footage of Michael Jackson’s rehearsals right up to his death. I was struck by the joy. The joy he took in his art. The way that he used his entire self as an expression of that joy. It may seem that he had an easier means for doing that because his body was his art. That was simply his way.

Really, though, that is true for all that we do.

I describe what I do every day as an ‘artistic science.’ And I wrote about this last night, I know. I may be so exhausted but those moments that I share with my students, I am so unbelievably joyful.

I said I am lucky. But I’m not. It’s hard to work to find your joy. It’s hard work to get past what the world says you should do and be. It’s very hard work to make your work an expression of your beliefs. I may not dance. I may not play baseball. I may have one of the quietest talents that is out there. But I get to share it in such amazing ways. I get to receive twice as much as I give.

And I consider it to be a miracle. A miracle to do something that one loves. To feel that time suspends for you. To feel that you can create what you will. To be able to blend everything that inspires you, everything you love, everyone you respect into a body of work.

I love the ideas. I love thought. I love crafting both into something that can be shared. And I love knowing that if this were it, the memory of me would be one of joyful sharing.