I’m pretty good at keeping up with the housework, laundry and meal prep. I work from home for the most part, so taking a five minute break to fold laundry or start the crockpot is easy and natural. For some reason, I started this week ‘behind.’ Why the quotes? Because the truth is, there’s no such thing as behind when it comes to these tasks. There’s always more to do, and you’re never truly done. In my mind, behind is simply the feeling of discomfort that occurs when things didn’t go according to my master plan.
Unplanned day trips in the jeep. So fun!
Bowling with good friends. I broke my all-time score of 60!
Buying just a few (12) more sprouts for the garden. Pure joy!
So, what was my issue again? I have to laugh at myself when I think about the feeling of discomfort. I have memories that you can’t buy. I have peace from stress-free days. I have a great life.
I hope you are laughing at my discomfort as much as I am. Go ahead, laugh! It’s okay!
Life is not about laundry, it’s about experiences and joy. It’s about being with the people you love and being in the moment.
Laundry is what happens in between the fun stuff.
I needed to write this blog for myself Sunday night because when I woke up on Monday morning, I wasn’t thinking about the joy of life. I was thinking about the mountain of laundry that comes from a household where people go to the gym. A lot. And the pool. And work outside in the garden. And…like I said, a mountain of laundry.
Halfway through my grumpy morning, I brought the plane up to 30,000 feet and observed myself. Here I was in a home I adore, with a life filled with joy and I was grouchy about laundry? Cue the laughter again. And my beautiful, silly, slightly jostled brain flashed me a picture of Snow White to make the comedy complete. But let’s be honest, I’m no princess. Maybe more like a dwarf. Prior to that moment, Grumpy. Then a few minutes of Dopey, finally back to my default, Happy.
The moral of this laundry fairy tale is perspective. If we choose to view our life as a To Do List, filled with endless mundane tasks, we choose Grumpy. If we can take a moment to step back from the emotion of the situation, whether that’s frustration, anger, sadness or overwhelm, we can choose our Dwarf persona and change the very nature of the experience.
It’s easy to say, and not as easy to do. Like anything in life from cooking to crossfit, yoga to mindfulness, relationship skills to running a business, it takes consistent practice.
How do we put this into practical form? I’m so glad you asked!
Hopefully these tips can help you to be a bit more mindfully the next time a mountain of laundry appears at your house. And now, to play some great music while I fold.
I want you to imagine for a moment that you had the ability to know what everyone says about you. Everything. All the nice things and admiration as well as all the painful things, both lies and truths.
You would quickly learn who has your back, your warriors. We have them, you know. People who fight for us when others speak negatively about us. Our protectors that stand up for our reputations even when it’s not easy or uncool to do so.
I’m guessing that you would also end friendships with people who speak one way in front of you, and quite another behind your back. Sadly, I think we all have those in our circles as well no matter how discerning we are.
Would you accept this power? At first glance, it’s easy to say yes. But remember, while everyone comes into your life for a reason, the things they choose to do and say are more of a reflection of themselves than you. Would you be able to not take things personally? Could you accept others as they are? Would you curl up into a little ball in your cave never to leave again? Or lose your confidence and believe the things others say? Or would your confidence overflow as you begin to see yourself in the beautiful light that others do? That’s my favorite version.
Still accepting the new super power? Okay, you’ve got it. But there’s a twist.
If you accept this new power, then everything you say about everyone else will also be known to them, good or not so good.
Hmm. Reconsidering? Yeah, me too. I felt pretty darn confident about my new power until that twist. Have I said things about others that I wouldn’t share with them? I don’t think so…but being unsure feels very uncomfortable, and not in good way that comes from needing to grow past an obstacle. I want to know deep in my heart that all my words could be shared, and cause only joy and never pain.
Time to reread The Four Agreements and practice being impeccable with my word. Care to join me?
Normally, I love Monday mornings. I view them as the start of something great. It sounds corny, but I genuinely do. Occasionally, it goes a little differently than I visualize. This past Monday was one of those days.
It started okay. I was tired because I hadn't slept well, but I knew a good breakfast would help. My breakfast is always planned and prepped ahead of time and packed with plenty of healthy protein, fats and fruit. Breakfast on autopilot so I can focus on my morning routine. After my gratitude, watering the garden, writing my Blueprint and going over my schedule, I was ready to hit the gym. If you have been following me at all, you know I live a CrossFit life. When I was younger, and during my service in the Army, I was a runner. Years of running takes a toll on the body, and I also wanted to develop more muscle and strength so to my great joy, my caveman, Vic, introduced me to the world of CrossFit.
Three weeks ago, we changed to a new CrossFit box, CrossFit Rappahannock, and have had to up our game. I think I’ve uttered the words, ‘Everyone is so strong here,’ 1000 times in the last three weeks. It’s been inspiring, and—to be honest--intimidating. I want to surround myself with strong, capable people. Not just at the gym, but also in life. I want to be around others who continually challenge themselves. And at our new box, I got my wish!
So, Monday morning, I’m headed to the gym. Normally, I look at the workout and decide my weights ahead of time but I haven’t been doing a great job of that at the new gym. Why? Because I was too busy gawking at everyone else’s weights!
I’m guessing you know how this is going to end. My workout felt terrible. I remember at one point asking myself if I was really cut out to do CrossFit. This isn’t too unusual during a WOD. My friend, Tracey, and I have discussed the jumble of thoughts that go on during a CrossFit workout. It begins with excitement and nerves. When you are just under half way through, you consider faking an injury, and finally when it’s over, you feel exhilaration and pride. But that’s the beauty of pushing yourself in the gym, and in life. When you get through it, even though it was really tough, you feel proud of yourself and have a big win to celebrate.
I may or may not have cried on the way home, rethinking my entire life in the span of four minutes. Don’t even pretend I’m alone here. I know you’ve done it too. I know I’ve done a million times. Fortunately, I have the ability to pause (once I catch myself) and allow the momentum of that hurricane of emotion to lose speed. I came to my senses by the time I walked into the house, but I knew something had to shift. I was too focused on everyone else, and their strength and abilities. And it felt awful because I saw myself only as lacking.
Enough of that, right? I know I’m pretty darn amazing!
So now what?
I began by putting on music that lifts me up. Change your energy and change your emotion, right? Yes! That helped. I grabbed my log book and put my numbers into the app that tracks my workouts…and realized that I had a 5 lb. PR (personal record) on one of my most challenging lifts.
So let's review: I cried and wanted to change my life because everyone else was so strong AND I lifted more than I have ever lifted before? As soon as I saw the little PR symbol on the app, I started to laugh. And gently lecture:
“Jennifer, how about we focus on how strong you are instead of how much stronger everyone is than you? Hmm? How does that sound, love?”
I made a pact in that moment. An agreement with myself to focus on my own power and abilities. Do you see this little book right here, my log book? It doesn't say 'Jen Duff, person who shows up but really has no business doing CrossFit.' It also doesn't say, 'Jen Duff, quitter when things are challenging.'
It says, 'Jen Duff, athlete.' Because that's who I am. I am an athlete. And athletes train. Athletes fall down, and get back up. Athletes grow. Athletes choose to see themselves as athletes.
I took a day off to play and relax with the caveman, and went back with a much different mindset on Wednesday. I had my goals written in my book, and absolutely crushed them. I did 50 pull ups in the workout. Did you hear me? 50! In the workout! Me!
And then, (my mom loves when I say that because she knows something amazing is going to follow), I jumped on a 24-inch box. I’m used to 20 inches but often step up instead of jumping. Well not today! Not only did I jump on this box but after I fell and bruised up my shin, I kept going. I was capped (time ran out before I could finish the workout) but I left the gym that day feeling like a superhero. I was so proud of myself. I knew that I had just accomplished something more difficult than I had ever done before. I did it. The same person who left the gym only two days before, crushed by my own lack of ability came out of that same building walking just a little bit taller. And proud! It’s not often that we really give ourselves the chance to be proud.
Wow, what a feeling!
I hope that you can see yourself in my story. I hope this lifts you up, even just a little, to push forward with a new, improved mindset for a challenging task.
But you’ve read this far so I’m not just letting you go without a call to action.
When you are ready for support, I’ve got your back! Together, there is nothing we can’t accomplish!
It’s been a year since my first CrossFit individual competition.
It’s been a year of training and extra accessory work, a year of successes, a year of failures, a year of learning what foods my body needed (and didn’t need), and a year of hitting reset when I ate those unneeded foods instead of my broccoli. This year was filled with research and endless questions to my coaches. It was also the year that I found the right people to push me from my workout partner to my CrossFit friends who sent me videos, and encouraged me to challenge myself. I set goals and crushed them, and set new ones and got off track only to find my way back again and again. I’m pretty sure that I’m the world’s biggest button pusher when it comes to hitting RESET. This year I lost weight and body fat while continuing to build muscle mass. This year I focused on listening to my coaches and being coachable. This year, I even got my first pull up!
But the most powerful thing that occurred this year was my decision to think like an athlete.
This year, I want to share the things that made the biggest impact for me so they can help you as well. I’m also sharing them as my way of holding myself accountable. I believe deeply in walking my talk. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I cannot help others unless I first apply my own advice. This begins with the basics like food prep, good sleep and consistent training but it doesn’t end there. Treating myself with compassion and love are high on the self-care list as is a powerful and bold mindset. These tips are for you and me, so please, hold me accountable!
Lunchtime. It can be the meal that gives you energy and clear thinking in the afternoon, and fuel an evening workout ...or not.
Most often, it is not. Most people rely on takeout, what’s available at work, or a hastily made sandwich with some cheese and lunch meat. Or they skip lunch completely! *Gasp
Improving lunch does not need to be a
I often use the early morning to organize my thoughts into paragraphs. And sometimes into recipes.