Baseball and alchemy: Why everyday can feel like Opening Day

It’s a Spring day, still dark, the city is waking. Like any other Thursday, most have a little Friday itch coming on… but on this one in particular, the city is buzzing with the anticipation of baseball season. This week, a lot of folks spent their moments charging through their Mondays and Tuesdays, dreaming of a Friday filled with laughter, friends, sports and sunshine. I’ll be the first to tell ya, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with all of that. Get your chores done so you can go have some fun, we’ve all been there.

However, I will tell you that each day, each moment, each second can feel like Opening Day at the baseball stadium if you choose it to be.

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When I am at work, between traffic and weather reports, making coffee and building graphics for our morning news show, I like to think about how many alarm clocks are simultaneously going off at any particular moment. A night of sleep, restful or spent tossing and turning, eventually comes to an end and you’ve got a choice to make. Will today be like yesterday? Was yesterday like the day before? Patterns and ruts can be nasty little devils and our days are certainly filled with things we just simply have to do. My challenge in all of this obligation is this: within all the have tos, the get tos, the want tos and the hope tos, it is time to throw in some alchemy.

Alchemy is a power or process of transforming something common into something special. 

Back to the moment when the alarm clock goes off… If we could listen in to all the sounds of the collective waking moment, would you be contributing to the grumbling, cranky groan or a light sigh of taking in engaged responsibility for a new day? Without alchemy, the common response to the alarm is a scowl, an immediate jump into all the things you don’t want to do. With alchemy, the alarm clock is simply a reminder that you get yet another chance to reinvent, perfect, rock, edge closer to whomever it is you have in your mind to become.

An alchemist of one’s day wakes with the realization that the world was made to experience. Here and now, without delay, jumping in… forget that separation and the false idea that some things are special and some things are not. Do you ever find yourself getting tasks done, over with and out of the way, just to get on to the “fun” stuff. Get work done, get the grocery shopping done, go to the gym, homework, housework… all done in order to have more time to watch Desperate Housewives? I hope not.

When we categorize our day in to things we don’t want to do and things we do want to do, we are automatically allowing our minds to slip into the mode of “right now in this moment, I am common and normal”. When we do the fun stuff, our minds lean towards, “This is what I want, finally I finished the common stuff and now I am living”.

With the alchemist’s perspective, there is a heightened awareness of each correspondence, interaction, movement, and task. It is something my yoga instructors refer to often… conscious awareness of breath to draw your focus back to the here and now. When you are asked to focus on something as common as breath, you realize just how complex, beautiful and important it can be. The alchemist sees nothing as common, nothing as more or less “fun” than the rest, everything is an opportunity to be your most alive, creative, alert, engaged, feeling self.

It is easier to be your own alchemist when things are going your way… good moods allow you to jump in and rock those rose colored glasses, but it is the down times when you need the alchemist’s keen eye the most. I recently had a family emergency that made me feel like I was going to lose the most important person in my life. The why and the how doesn’t matter right now, but the heightened level of “this moment really matters” was brought to the forefront of my mind. Would I break down and mope and sulk over what may or may not happen, no. You do what you need to do when the moment is critical. In my case, I made the call to that person and had a real, gritty, somewhat angry talk about things that needed to change and improve. When you transform the common into something special, you carry more potential, opportunity and accessibility than you ever knew you could have.

When I hear the word alchemist, I, like many others immediately think of the awesome Paulo Coelho book by the same name. While that book was life shaping for me and its level of beauty truly unmatched, today’s comparison is slightly different.

Paulo Coelho wrote The Alchemist in only two weeks.

When asked how he was able to do it he answered, “because the story was already written in his soul”.

When you decide to exude your story of who and what you want to represent, your morning alarm will no longer be a cue to avoid the inevitable, it will be a call to action. The common day is yours for the rocking, if you decide to be the alchemist of your own day.

Back to baseball… An entire season of around 162 games starts with an Opening Day. If a team was only enthusiastic that first day out of the gate, they would fail miserably, and some certainly do. The teams that seize EVERY SINGLE opportunity to be excellent at their craft are the ones that come out on top. Opening Day will get your heart racing because of the feelings associated with that day, a way we all want to collectively feel.

The alchemist in us knows that turning the common in to the extra ordinary is as simple as deciding to see and feel the way we choose. How do you want to feel? Excited? Seek it. Mindful? It doesn’t cost you a thing. Successful? Work your tail off. Truly… we decide what happens and we decide our “luck”.

Here’s to hearing that alarm clock go off in the morning and treating it as an opportunity for the extraordinary to come alive. Opening Day is a new start. So is right now.

The 24 hour “what if” challenge

Living in the “what if” stage can be pretty addictive…

What if… you ask the question, request the favor, make the change, take the leap, quit the job, ask the girl, *answer* the question, get off the couch, turn off the tv, pay the bill, sign up, check out, check in to your goal?

You know that comfy feeling when you are staring into space, pondering what would happen if you do any one of these things? That place is dream land. No one holds you accountable for your unspoken “what ifs”, so you get to play and peruse possibility. You can be the biggest version of yourself in this space… you can be bold and sexy, quiet and constructive, in a sense, you are only limited by the bounds of your imagination. Who wouldn’t want to swim around in that kind of potential?

The problem comes when this place of dreaming becomes your comfort zone… Circling in the holding pattern between the conception of an idea and the physical action of starting the process is a space that doesn’t really have a lot of gumption or enterprise. It is a calm place, a hiding place. No one is going to drag you out of this lingering, meandering circle… you have to request your own clearance and move towards a decision, an action, a plan.

You have to decide if you are going to be the dreamer who stays asleep or the dreamer who wakes up and carpes the hell of the diem.

When you hang in the “what if” limbo, you are pressing pause on anything and everything that moves, grows, feels, and counts. Of course, that “what if” time is totally necessary for planning and preparing for the experiences we want to have, but let’s face it… we all spend a lot more time imagining the consequences of the “what ifs” than we do acting on them.

How long do we wait before engaging, trying and saying hello to all the deliciously interesting parts of life? What if we just did a fraction of the things we are imagining. That would be a biography of a life that I would want to read. Sometimes I ask the question, “if my life were a movie, would I keep watching?” or would I be bored out of my mind, screaming at the screen, telling myself to stop worrying so much about what might happen if I just got out of my head and started getting things done.

Here’s my challenge to you… In the next 24 hours, allow 3 of your big “what ifs” to be answered.

It will be a little scary, it will be a little uncomfortable. So what.

Act on your “what ifs”. Be the bold one who at the end of the day surprises him/herself a little bit. It could be really fun….

Maybe you have been thinking about learning something new, going back to school, getting involved with a charity, taking your career to a new level, branding yourself differently, making a new fitness commitment, whatever it is, you can spend a lot of time considering the idea or you can start answering your “what ifs” to get some answers.

“What if” you actually answered 3 of your “what ifs”…

Inertia: Why your next 5 decisions matter more than all the rest

Think back to being 9 years old. You’re running down a hill, chasing a friend, you’re neck and neck. The trees, the grass, the sky it’s all a blur of summertime warmth and glee. You didn’t know your legs could go this fast… you pull ahead. Your legs pump in Olympic fashion, and suddenly, you’ve lost control. Bones and flesh turn to jelly and in your mind, you picture a cartoon character with a blur of limbs circling beneath. You really want to win this race so you let your legs do their own work. Your legs are no longer yours to speed up or slow down, but you continue running. Legs keep doing what they have been trained to do. Heart pumping, win or lose, energy is in your favor and with nothing to slow them down, they just keep circling.

Newton’s Law of Inertia: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by another opposite force. 

Warm in your bed, sleeping like a lamb, you continue to slumber until an alarm clock, a barking dog, a brain wave, a temperature change wakes you and shakes alert. Inertia broken. You’re awake.

Two weeks of exercise, a daily practice becomes the norm and you are on a roll. Suddenly going to the gym is not the exception, but rather the rule. Inertia is rockin’ your world. You get used to feeling a certain way and you like it. You may even love it.

Going to the grocery store… that’s way too hard. I’ll just grab something quick on the way home. Insert low quality, cheap, fast, bloating, greasy, super tasty food. Get home, feel like the mashed up, human version of what you just put in your mouth, turn on television and zone out with a cocktail… one of the toughest forms of inertia to resist continuing. Sounds like a great life, right?

We have all heard the superhero-like people that we look up to say things like, ‘you’ve just got to make the good stuff a habit’, ‘the good stuff has to be a daily practice’, ‘the good stuff has to be your way of life.’ We have all heard the people who want to make a change say things like, ‘the bad stuff became a habit’, ‘the bad stuff became a daily practice’, and ‘the bad stuff became my way of life.’ Hmm.

Take inertia in the most literal sense: What if your last five actions became the path of the rest of your life? What if inertia kept you rolling in the same direction of the last five things you thought, did, ate, or felt? Consider the following options:

Situation One: Last 5 actions 1)complaining about a co-worker’s actions 2)skipping the gym or any form of physical activity 3)ignoring a friend’s call because you knew they needed your thoughts and your ear on an important issue 4)eating low energy, junk and feeling like junk afterwards 5)sleeping in whining when you finally do have to get out of bed because yesterday’s actions and thoughts gave you nothing to look forward to the next day.

Situation Two: Last 5 actions 1)waking up with a goal in mind, you made plans for something that excites you and you are looking forward to engaging in it 2)You move around a little, you shake it, you get your blood pumping, you smile at the kid in the grocery store because you have no particular reason to feel bad 3)You take the call from a friend and help them see that little changes can make a big difference and that every problem can be solved with a new perspective and by taking things one step at a time 4)You eat something that tastes, looks, feels, smells and like the stuff that fuels a healthy body 5)You encourage the coworker that is probably going through something at home that’s affecting their work performance. You offer help at work, but don’t feel like you have to complain or change the situation. You are simply a friendly face.

I don’t know about you, but to me, it is pretty easy to see how the actions in each situation could lead to inertia in either direction. Either you remain on a path of lazy, negative, yuck or you remain on a path of energy, health and optimism.

What were your last 5 actions?

More importantly, what are your next 5 actions?

Whatever they were, there you are. Deal with it. Either continue to be the inertia or start to be the change. Your next 5 actions can be completely opposite of the last five or they can be as radiant as the last. We are, of course, what we repeatedly do.

Say you’re working towards a goal. You chip away at it every day, you quietly put in the effort and just get on it. One of my favorite authors, Tim Ferriss, has a good way of explaining what that looks like from the outside. Ferriss says, “most people are fast to stop you before you get started but hesitate to get in the way if you’re moving.” It turns out that he has a lot in common with Amelia Earhart… She once said, “never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.” The reason I dig this way of thinking is because when you are setting out to do big things, people who live in the “Situation 1” form of negative inertia will try to hack away at your goals. Even if they don’t say it to your face, they will think it, and probably tell their friends. It is always a compliment when this happens, as they are spending time thinking about what you are up to and wondering how the hell you are pulling it off.

Let ’em.

Once you are on a roll, there you are, day by day, getting closer to your goal. It is hard to argue with results.

So here’s to a new year filled with the inertia that you choose. We all know that big goals, whether weight loss, a job promotion, an invention, a great relationship, a new skill, expanded learning, planning a flight around the world, whatever it is, it all requires a whole lot of hard work and elbow grease. These things don’t get accomplished through magic, they get accomplished through a series of steps that lead toward your goal. Inertia wants to work in your favor… an object at rest wants to stay at rest and an object in motion wants to stay in motion. You are the force acting against inertia. Either stop the bad or keep up the good. Your choice. 

Every last drop of the best parts of this big beautiful world are yours for the experiencing. Go get what you want, feel it deeply, teach others how you did it, and by all means, keep being oh so curiously engaged.

As Danielle Laporte says, “Life is full of opportunities to feel exactly how you want to feel.”

Take this opportunity to feel that way.

Why 5 decisions? Why not. High 5.

Cleaning fish with Dad and a hurricane update I didn’t expect…

***For full effect (I promise I am not crazy- it is just what I was listening to while I wrote) play the music on this great video while you read https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KDEmtWLwMOM#! ***

While walking for a coffee after work I wandered into my favorite art gallery this afternoon. After a quick pass through the building, I stopped when I saw this quote painted on a piece by the front door…

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out”

Ray Bradbury

Splashes of gray, bold, red text, on a rough stretched canvas struck me like a bolt of familiar lightning. Conservation of the good stuff suddenly came to mind. Saving and stashing vs. passing on your bountiful excess when someone needs your help.

I immediately pictured the blue speckled enamel camping cup my Dad would pack when we went on a weekend adventure. You know, the kind that would bang and clang if it touched another like it? That old cup was bent and dented, the handle a little askew from years of being put to good use. The cup held water, the cup held hot food, the cup probably scooped dirt to put out a campfire at one time or another. The blue cup most likely held flowers that I picked to enhance the beauty of our campsite as a little girl.

The cup was meant for holding stuff that mattered, stuff to be shared, stuff vital to the situation at hand.

Suddenly, the image of this cup teetering in a low stream bed, braced on a smooth stone, slightly precarious and off balance came to mind… It had a steady trickle of quiet water dropping in to it’s tin bottom. Never in my life have a seen the cup in such a place. To be honest- the mental image seemed a little strange.

For whatever reason, that quote and that oddly whimsical image stuck with me as I walked back to my car… The cup in the quote is not running around bragging about how full it is or what it held in the past, it is simply there, holding its contents, built up over time. The excess water easily, smoothly flowed over the top, clear and cool. When the cup filled, the weight of the water, would eventually tip the cup, passing along to the next cup on down the stream, waiting to be filled.

This was the kind of vision I read about in fictional books, metaphorical stuff. It made me want to hang out with my Dad. It made me want to ride horses and cook outside, it made me want to ask him why it would be better to use one tool or another when constructing a house, why use that particular knife when cleaning trout we caught in the river, I wanted to ask him how he got so caring and so smart, so capable of taking care of whatever situation came his way. I wanted to ask him how he came to be so willing to overflow his goodness onto others so freely, for nothing in return. He would pour his whole cup out, until it was completely dry to help someone else. It’s funny how long it takes to see these things in your Dad.

This afternoon, while cozily tucked in my bed (at 4pm) I was buried in meteorology text books, notes, and laptop with a warm little pup nestled against my leg. I was in the middle of a short exam when “Dad” popped up on my iPhone.

“Hey Dad, what’s up?”

“Hey kid- I just wanted to see if you were excited to be covering Hurricane Sandy- you know, being in meteorology school and all- I bet it was pretty wild”

“Yeah, it was cool- that storm is huge. I am actually taking a test right now…”

“Okay- well, get back to work, I don’t want to interrupt your test. I’ll talk to you later”

“See ya”

This post isn’t about flight and it’s not about motivating yourself to change the world. This one is just about love and respect and being thankful for all the people who tip themselves over on your behalf.

Chances are, if you have read the post this far, you probably have someone in your world that gives in excess in the form of checking in, loving, listening, encouraging.

Figure out how to tip your cup over and share some of the good you’ve been collecting lately.

Love you Dad…

Amelia

Can you relate?

Not a long post, nothing fancy… Just a quote that sends shivers down my spine.

“I owned the world that hour as I rode over it . . .  Free of the earth, free of
the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.”

— Charles A. Lindbergh
That’s the good stuff right there.
How can we create more moments like these in our lives?
Amelia

Why I never want you to completely succeed

What do you see when you gaze skyward? Take a beautiful sunrise, filled with creamy orange streaks, melted pink puddles, that gradient of color change when you can’t quite tell when muted purples gleefully transition to radiant blues…

The sight of a sunrise such as this is like your favorite candy. It’s just enough sweetness, it’s a little indulgent. All the colors in the bubble gum machine are there on display, ready to rock your tastebuds, which in this case, are your lovely peepers. This is grab-your-camera, point-with-a-stranger kind of beauty. It’s here in a flash and you always want just a little bit more. You want those colors to get brighter, last longer, go higher, blow your mind in that I-just-can’t-look-away fashion. Those colors are excellent because they are rare.

If we walked around with these kinds of colors, rockin’ our cones and rods, all the time, we would quickly get used to this display. No biggie, the sky is exploding with red, blue, yellow, purple and orange. La tee dah, I want a sandwich. But the good news is, we don’t get it all the time and we most certainly are not thinking about common day stuff.

When dreamers see these colors, something bigger washes over us. For me, the rare moments of spectacular sight are when my vision leaps from my eyes and lands in my ***heart***

When we are graced by the extra ordinary, we savor the change, but realize it’s fleeting.

These sunsets make you stop and appreciate whatcha got, and that’s a lot.

That’s what flight is like. When I’m in the plane, I want more time to gaze   at the stars, seek horizons, leave the earthbound problems and issues far below. I want more swift, sweet flight, more of that sugar on my tongue. When destinations are reached, sure it is a success, but it means it is time to leave the extra ordinary and put your feet back on the ground.

The ultimate conundrum is this: if we always flew, we would crave the opportunity to walk.

Where am I going with all this fleeting color talk? ***The parts of life we want the most, are the ones we are given the least***

Allow me to attempt to prove my theory.

Thirsty for water in a desert? You’d do whatever it took to find a glass of h2o, steal, beg, borrow to quench that thirst.

Falling in love? You ache to see that person like no other. Priorities fall by the wayside and you just want to be in their presence.

Want to fly but are strapped for cash? Flight takes over the mind, you crave it, you long for it, you yearn to be airborne. You work your ass off to make it possible to afford to fly.

Stuck below the glass ceiling at work? You’ll claw, fight and leap to have your chance to prove yourself and bust out from that cage.

The less you HAVE, the more you WANT

The more you WANT, the harder you’ll WORK

The harder you WORK, the more you’ll DESERVE

The more you DESERVE, the bigger the SATISFACTION

The bigger the SATISFACTION, the bigger he next GOAL

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

So it goes with success… when you are constantly in a state of desire for deeper, more gratifying, bigger, accomplishments, you will continue to work hard to achieve the goals.

While it may be fun to daydream about winning the lottery and having “everything you could ever want and more”, I’d argue that it wouldn’t be as satisfying as you might think.

Anything in *excess* loses its value.

We have to have the blue sky to appreciate the vivid sunsets

We have to have eager thirst to appreciate water

We have to miss someone to enjoy when they grace us with their presence

You have to be on a budget to feel the satisfaction of spending saved cash

You have to be told you can’t do something to feel the joy of saying, “actually, yes I can”

Yes, there are exceptions, but what I propose is this:

In the hunt for success, learn to love the feeling of wanting more. It is the want that creates that oh-so-sexy fire in the eyes of someone who wants something so badly they can taste it, feel it, live it with everything they’ve got.

Be the want, be the work, and deep down, enjoy the climb.

Here’s to never quite getting everything you want… how boring would that be?

Living in-decision… get off the fence and get in the jet

Airshow stance… 3:30pm Sunday, August 26th, 2012 Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport.

Right hand up, blocking the sun. Eyes squinting through slightly scratched aviator sunglasses. Old tennis shoe wearing feet, planted in weedy grass next to runway 2-0. Sweating, longing, heart pounding, needing. I. Want. What. That. Stands. For. Greatness.

Not one person there didn’t feel the roar of the F22 in their bellies, deep-down, their inner drive pulsing to be something monumental, like what we saw in the sky. As a collective group of strangers, we knew without a doubt, this is what love feels like. We are born to crave these feelings and seek them continually in our lives.

So what is it about a fighter jet that makes even the most squeamish, conservative among us say, “I wanna do that, be that, fly that, own that, design that, FEEL THAT”? Why are we drawn to the raw, gray metal, the unreachable aura surrounding the jet?

We all want to know, what does that feel like? What does a power of that magnitude create in the pilot’s hands, heart, and head? I bet he feels awesome, in control and is probably overcome with i n d e c i s i o n.

Whah? Why the hell would a fighter pilot, rocking 9+ gs, all top-gunned out, in an F22 Raptor feel indecision. He wouldn’t…

He ditched indecision a long time ago and now lives in-decision.

Stay with me here.

“Choices are the hinges of destiny” Pythagoras

Tough choices are tough because we give them meaning, we create options and usually have a this way or that approach. If I choose option A, I get outcomes that match A. If I choose option B, I get outcomes that match B.

As the fighter pilot executes his maneuvers, flies high then dives toward the ground, there are two choices: Option A is *smoosh* and option B is *whoosh*. In this case, the decision to act is more important than executing the maneuver perfectly, to highest standards. It is about continuing on or stopping in your tracks.

In life, indecision is fatal. Wavering, teetering, neutral. Being in neutral, you have no power. No fuel. No propulsion.

The failure to act is the end-all-be-all of living a life worth while.

Do or don’t but don’t be the murky, boring, cloudy, and eternal maybe.

Lots of us live in indecision. We have all been there and we will go there again. We worry and fret that by making a decision, we will be pressed to choose, made to be held responsible to the choices we make and then, have to pay for the choices we make.

You bet your ass you will. Make a decision and be responsible for it. Pay for the decisions you make and eventually, you will make the right decision that will pay off in ways you’ve never, ever, ever, imagined. It will be your kaboom moment. (Enough of the ah-ha moment crap, it’s overused. Sorry Oprah, love your show)

Consider, for a moment, living indecision vs. living in-decision.

Which is which and what is what…

You can either…

Spend the time preparing, finessing, crafting the proposal that will rock the socks off of those who you are asking for support.

-OR-

Procrastinate until the day before, make excuses and then blame your environment for your inability to seal the deal.

You can either…

Ask the question, make the call, make eye contact, say hello, open the book, say yes, or say no.

-OR-

Open Facebook, bring someone down with your jealousy and criticism, hit the snooze, hit the booze.

Living in-decision, means action. Living indecision means you are stationary. You can’t get a yes to a question you haven’t asked, you can’t get an offer on something that’s not worth buying.

You CAN get invitations from new friends who know you are open to showing up and bringing fun, creativity and new panache.

You CAN get yeses (Is that a word?) to questions you put out there to be answered.

So back to the question… “Why are we drawn to the raw, gray metal, the unreachable aura surrounding the jet?”

Because the jet is a solid, resounding yes or a no. It accelerates to 1,300 miles per hour and stops when you tell it to. There’s no maybe in flying a fighter jet. You are either in or you’re out. You are either indecision or in-decision.

Let’s face it… we are drawn to things, people, ideas, that know exactly who they are and what they stand for. Be what you want to be. The fence is a terribly uncomfortable, unstable place to sit. Literally. 

I think you know where I stand. See you there.

In-decision (and lots of love),

Amelia