A Bear in the Sensory Depravation Chamber

As I stared up – or was it sideways? – while floating for an undisclosed amount of time in what I can only imagine my mother’s womb probably felt like, I felt the presence of a terrifying grizzly bear I hadn’t interacted with in years. And I was absolutely trapped and unable to have any sense of what direction in might come from to attack me. For a few moments – or was it hours? – I was convinced he would finish the job he attempted to so many years before in the Smoky Mountains.

Let me give some context here.

A couple years ago, my husband and I decided to try a sensory depravation chamber. As with most experimental holistic decisions, we did so with a Groupon. You know, to make sure we were getting top-of-the-line service with the people we would soon be trusting to keep us alive in a scenario where we would have absolutely no way of calling out for help…but on a discount.

As we prepared to go in our separate chambers, I was anxious. I had heard and read about sensory depravation before. And I’ve been meditating off and on long enough to know how to breathe through some intense monkey mind complaining. But the idea of floating in an underground chamber in a small bit of water with absolutely no way to see or hear anything happening in the world around me made me, understandably, anxious.

I considered not going in. I live in LA, after all, and “The Big One” (aka a catastrophic earthquake that everyone in LA is constantly hoping will wait until after their lifetimes to hit) could happen at any time. What if there’s a terrible earthquake while I’m in the chamber and I get locked in and I’m stuck there and I suffocate and that’s how I die?

Or what if I have a heart attack or an anxiety attack and I can’t call out for help and my body rebels and I lay there and they don’t know it until they find my body two hours later?

Or what if [insert any real or imagined catastrophe] happens and I [insert any real or imagined physical ailment of any degree] and that’s how I die?

My mind was already resisting, which is why I knew I needed to press on.

I did it. I got in the chamber. I closed the doors. And I floated in my own thoughts, eventually resigning myself to the fact that anything in the external world might happen at any time – including some major catastrophe. And, as fun as it was to worry about, I am generally powerless to do anything about it anyway so I might as well live life on my own terms and choose to face my challenges whenever I can. My first little zen moment of serenity.

Of course, I didn’t count on that damn bear showing up and haunting most of my experience.

More on him in a second.

If you haven’t experienced a sensory depravation chamber, it’s a fascinating challenge for your brain. I don’t want to say it’s good or bad because those are arbitrary judgments that mean nothing anyway. And I don’t want to outright recommend it because everybody is different and what works for one brain may genuinely be awful for another.

But, assuming you’re a pretty normal human living in this loud and distraction-filled world, it’s a fascinating way of shutting it all out and getting deeply in touch with the abyss of your creative mind.

The tank is essentially set up so you float in a shallow pool of body temperature salt water (so you float easily) without the ability to see or hear any element of the outside world. And you do that for some pre-disclosed amount of time. Basically, you want to feel like a floating brain completely unaware of your external surroundings. They come in and knock on the door when you’re done and then you sort of float around to find the handle and reenter the previous world, a little more in touch (hopefully) with some truth about your own self or your own mind. Or, you just got a refreshing two hour nap in a weird underground tank. There’s no right or wrong to the experience, just that you experience it.

It took me a minute to adjust to the fact that I had basically lost my body and was more or less just a disembodied brain. It felt sort of like en episode of Black Mirror where my conscious was present but I couldn’t figure out where my body went.

And then, you guessed it, that damn bear showed up.

Okay, pause again, I want to take you even further back in time so this makes a little more sense.

When I was in fifth grade, I went on a school field trip to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The two most memorable parts of that field trip, for me, were the scat scarves we all got that told us how to identify all sorts of woodland creature poops and the mile-long solo walk we went on to get in touch with our own minds.

All of us in my small class would all take part in this half mile-long solo walk. It was an easy enough, clear path we were told not to stray from at all. A teacher went first and chaperones were periodically placed in the line up. They’d have someone go, you’d wait a few minutes, and then the next person went so that you couldn’t see who was ahead or behind you. It was a very awesome way to experience nature quietly with none of the usual distractions.

I remember I went after John Loser. Fun fact, his younger sister would go on to marry my older brother. That has nothing to do with the solo walk, it’s just funny how life works out like that sometimes. Anyway, he plays a tiny little role in this so I figured I’d mention it and throw in that fun aside because why not. You’re still reading aren’t you? Okay, great.

So I started my solo walk and I did my best to stay calm. I was nervous. I’m an extrovert and like being around people. I’ve always been someone who enjoys having people around. Though my active imagination and general love for the outdoors combined with my brother’s introversion and preference for video games meant I often played outside by myself for hours, I generally liked to experience life with other people around. A solo walk was way outside my comfort zone.

Combine that with the fact that, as a girl, I have been reminded from a young age that if I go anywhere by myself, I will probably be hurt, robbed, or swept up into some horrible underground life, I wasn’t exactly comfortable chilling by myself.

But even in fifth grade, I understood that I was probably safe enough in the constructs they had provided for this solo walk. After all, plenty of middle schoolers before me had done it and none of them had been hurt or sold into human trafficking, so I’d probably be okay.

I tried to walk slowly but my normal pace is pretty fast. So I made a point to breathe and go way slower than felt normal just to enjoy the beautiful fall surroundings. I remember thinking how cool it was that it was so quiet and that the leaves were so bright. I remember thinking the crunch of the leaves below my feet into the muddy ground combined with the gorgeous views off the side of the mountain made me feel pretty lucky to have the experience.

All that lasted probably just a few minutes before the damn grizzly bear made his first appearance.

Let me be clear, I never actually saw the bear. But I knew he was there. All of a sudden, in my anxiety, I realized that I was alone and anything could happen and that I didn’t trust myself to know what to do if something out-of-the-ordinary happened and what if I’m going to slow or too fast and they leave me behind and I’m stuck out here lost forever and it turns to winter and I’m still out here and I freeze to death? All of those terrified, insecure thoughts rushed through me. And, though I am grateful for my imagination, I didn’t yet understand that sometimes an active imagination can work against you when combined with primal fear.

So as those thoughts began ringing through my head, replacing the gratitude and enjoyment I had been previously feeling in nature. And they manifested themselves in the form of an unseen grizzly bear I was absolutely convinced was stalking me. I knew for sure that I wasn’t safe, I shouldn’t be alone, how dare I enjoy nature on my own when there are so many dangers out to get me, and I’d better speed up so I can make sure I’m not on this journey anymore by myself or at least so someone can hear me if that grizzly decides to pounce.

I picked up my pace. My heart rate and brain terrors picked up with it. No matter what I did, that damn invisible grizzly continued to watch me from the forest above, waiting for his chance to come attack me.

Eventually, I saw John and became comforted by the fact that another human was nearby.

The immediately realized that I was no longer experiencing this immaculate nature alone and now I had to share what felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience with someone else when I could have had it alone.

I may have been young, but I always held some regret about how quickly I let my anxiety take over my brain that day and how I squandered what could have been a transformative experience. And all because of being convinced of my own pending doom in the form of a stupid grizzly bear I never even saw.

Okay, now fast forward again.

Maybe the bear showing up makes a little more sense to you now. I didn’t see it again. But I felt it. I felt my anxiety start to bubble up. I became convinced – absolutely convinced – that if I didn’t get out of the chamber right then, it would attack me. It had waited all these years for the perfect moment when I was completely alone and vulnerable again. And it would finish the job it started back in the day.

But I was older now. I knew that the stupid bear only had the power I gave him. I knew that I technically could get out of the chamber at any time. I could end the experience quickly and just wait around for my husband to finish his time while I continued to be distracted by my phone or any other external distraction my brain knew and loved.

Instead, I stared that bear back in its invisible face – or maybe it’s butt? Again, I had no sense of direction in there – and I told it to back off. I told it that this time, I was going to finish this experience. I wasn’t going to rush it. And I wasn’t going to let its fear keep me from being present and breathing calmly. Eventually, it went away.

I have no idea what the end ratio was of monkey mind wild thoughts to eventual calm brain after my chamber experience. It could be that my brain was insane for an hour and 50 minutes, and crazy calm for the last 10. Or maybe it was insane for 10 and crazy calm for the rest of it. I do know that after I stared down the bear, it started a quick chain reaction that eventually led to me being so in a calm zone, I was shocked to hear the eventual knocks to let me know my time had passed. I know that when the knocks eventually came, they brought me back from somewhere between awake and sleeping that helped me better understand the nature of myself and of reality as I know it.

I loved my depravation chamber experience despite the safety failings that allowed a bear to join me for a short – or was it long? – time. I also know that the bear will be back again. He shows up whenever I’m out of my comfort zone and getting in deep touch with myself. He remind me that danger could be around every corner. But now that I beat him in the chamber using only my mind (seriously, I couldn’t find my body, I had temporarily misplaced it), I know that I can handle him whenever and wherever he shows up next. Maybe it’ll be next week, maybe it’ll be next decade. But I beat him once, I can beat him again.

Hey, but if you see a grizzly bear for real, please don’t try the stare down technique. It only works for metaphorical bears.

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Ayurveda Schedule

training_the_mind_healing_the_body_16360dpI recently listened to this fantastic audiobook called Training the Mind, Healing the Body. It’s dense and hefty, but totally worth it.

I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I started listening, but the title was catchy so I was 0pen.

It turned out to be a great audio course in holistic healing, specifically through using Ayurvedic methods.

That sentence felt really zen and really nerdy. And I loved it.

One of the ideas that stuck with me most was the argument that our body, like the seasons, has it’s own schedule. Which means more than just whether or not you’re a “night owl” or an “early bird.” Theses guys basically make the argument that all bodies respond to certain stimulus at certain times better than others. You’ll have to do your own research to learn the details, but I thought it was a really cool concept. And, since I’m all about trying out different schedules that work with my life, I’m gonna try this one on for size.

It makes a lot of sense. Even if I can’t implement all of it, there are small things that I can. Like, the idea that your body is more responsive to exercise and energy in the morning than late at night. And that you genuinely need to wind down and sleep at reasonable hours and your sleep will be better than if you sleep too early in the morning.

I don’t exactly have the most holistic schedule at the moment and I don’t always have a lot of control over the windows of opportunity I have for healthy habits I enjoy like meditation and exercise. But I’m slowly but surely carving out a more reasonable and doable schedule for myself and a generally more balanced life. So as I continue to get closer to that balance, I’m going to do my best to implement all these small changes as well.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

Emerging from the Cocoon

butterflyFor my consistent readers, you may recall that I recently posted about “Going in.” I was entering a phase of intense work on both my productivity and myself.

I thought I would come out in early December. Turns out, I’ve got more work to do.

While I already feel like I’ve made some progress, and I’m certainly working on some issues I knew I needed to work on while going in, I’m not in any big hurry to reenter society yet. Of course I’m still going out and working as usual in many ways, but it’s a mental attitude shift that I’m going through right now. I’m being extra aware of my emotions and mind and spending huge chunks of free time filling my brain with information. I’m taking extra time to work on me and reshaping my own foundation. And it turns out, it feels pretty good to take the time to do this. And there’s more work here than I anticipated. So I’m gonna stay in for a little while longer.

It’s like when you take your car in and get an estimate on some obvious damage, then when they actually open the car up they realize there’s a lot more damage than they anticipated and it’s gonna take longer than you thought. That’s what’s happening with me right now. At least that’s how I feel.

And that’s ok. We’re all damaged. I’m going through some serious physical and mental makeovers at the moment. We’re upgrading and prepping for the craziness ahead and I wanna make sure the car is in perfect working order before we go test the limits.

I’ll probably be here throughout the rest of the year. Don’t worry about me. In fact, maybe take some time for you. It’s not terrible here in the cave. Sure, emotions run rampant and there’s intense fear you’ve got to face head-on daily… but it’s kind of exhilarating, too.

New Years Prep

New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black backgroundIt’s coming. Just a few short weeks away. It’s coming.

And if you’re anything like me, you not only plan your New Year’s Resolutions weeks in advance, but you constantly recommit to goals throughout the year. The holidays are alright but New Years is when the type A planners like myself who love goals and productivity really feel like giddy little kids.

As excited as I am, I’m already anxious. I’m anxious at the number of people who will be at the gym again. I’m anxious about how many people will be setting themselves up for unachievable goals without action plans associated with them and how I will have to see them slowly get frustrated as the months wear on. I’m anxious I’m going to overshoot my own goals and be thrown off when life has obvious other plans for me.

But I know that the anxiety means I need to be realistic about what I want to accomplish and how to achieve it. And it means I need to make sure I keep up my meditation so I can keep my wandering mind in check. So if you haven’t yet thought about New Years, start thinking about it. Because it’s never too early to plan and it’s never to late to start!

I just made that up. Just now. I kinda like it. I’ll probably hate it by the time I actually publish this post because I ‘ll realize how silly it sounds, but whatever. I like it for now so I’m keepin’ it.

Break’s Over

I had an epic day yesterday. I performed on The Groundlings stage in the early afternoon then a few hours later on the UCB stage. It was delightful.double day

A lot of time, energy, and effort went into both shows and I had a blast.

I also went without working out for two weeks because of the amount of time, energy, and effort that went into those shows.

I have to watch myself because I have a tendency to put too much on my plate. When I do that, I let the important me-things like exercise, meditation and journaling fall by the wayside.

Now that my big day yesterday is done (and was a ton of fun), it’s time to start reevaluating and re-grounding. I let myself sleep in but still worked out in my apartment as best I could for 20 minutes this morning. I’m gonna make sure I get in a quick meditation this afternoon. I’m gonna try and get some rest tonight so I can get up tomorrow and start getting back on track.

Of course there are lots of things I always have on the docket, but I gave myself a break to focus on getting through yesterday. Now that yesterday is done…break’s over. Back to work.

Episode 59: Meditation – Show Notes

The latest episode of Femoir: The Podcast is available online streaming or on iTunes for free!meditation I talk about meditation- which is a subject I’ve written about before. I throw out some different kinds of meditation including Tibetan, guided, zen and TM. I talk about some meditation apps you can get at the App Store. All in all, I basically make the case for meditation. And I’m not the first person to do so. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPLn1ZgGxos Catch ya next episode, friends.

Podcast Episode 51 – Show Notes

This episode of Femoir: The Podcast was all about Quiet Time. What it means to you and me.

It was a quick podcast. Not much to report.

This was the quote I referenced

In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.

Take a listen. Catch up on the other episodes on iTunes for free.

Tell me what you think and what you want me to ramble on about in the future.

It’s a Workout For Your Brain

meditationWhen I was in high school, a classmate of mine was really into Buddhism and meditation. Like, really into it. Especially for a high schooler. He practiced for hours daily, led meditation and discussion groups, and quietly ate healthy, vegetarian lunches by himself most days. He was a delightful and fun guy to be around and I always enjoyed asking him about his practice. Especially since I enjoyed meditation and spirituality as well, but didn’t have the discipline he did to follow through with the hours of practice.

One day after school, I was talking to him about his meditation specifically. I asked him how much time he takes out of his day to meditate. He responded, “It actually puts more time into my day.”

If that were a basketball game, that answer was the equivalent of a badass alley-oop. Except the person setting up the alley-oop had no idea they had set the dunker up perfectly.

I immediately understood his point. And he’s right. Every time I’m disciplined in my own meditation practice, I never notice how much time it takes “out of” my day. I always notice how much more it puts in. I’m much more present. I’m able to cultivate more compassion more easily because I’m in touch with my breath. I notice how much more efficiently I work. I notice that my brain feels sharper and I’m more in touch with my own emotions and those around me. And I also notice that I’m more at peace with whatever external things happen around me. I’m not always in response to them, letting my emotions fly off the handle no matter what’s happening. I’m more centered. Every day is more productive and positive.

I approach meditation like a workout for my brain. When you go to the gym, you can just wander around and do barely anything helpful. Or you can go, be very concentrated in your movements, aware of your surroundings and your body, and be really efficient. If you’re more present and aware, it adds time to your day. So better to do ten minutes of meditation before 45 good minutes at the gym than spend 2 hours sitting on the bike pretending you’re helping yourself while having an excuse to watch Sex in the City marathons.

Like my own workouts, I’m not always perfect in my practice. I don’t make time to meditate every day. The funny part is, the more I meditate, the more I’m OK with the days I don’t get to practice. Because I’m more OK with everything in general. So it makes me want to meditate even more. It’s a great cycle to be caught up in.

I have a couple apps I use right now. Mindfulness and Simply Being. I also have a Pocket Zen app that sends me reminders to be more aware of different elements of life throughout my day. It sounds annoying, but is actually wonderful.

Do you meditate? Does it help you? Do you have a specific time or style you use? I’d love to hear about it.

And if you don’t yet make time to meditate, try it. I always think about what my friend said to me when I was 16. It doesn’t take time out of your day- it actually adds to it.

Black Kitty

This morning I got up at 5:48 am. If you don’t know me personally, you may not know how odd that is. I went to bed around midnight and woke up at 5:48 am. Which, on west-coast time is 2:48 am. I’m on east coast time right now because I’m home visiting my family in Indianapolis. Normally, it takes me at least 20 minutes to get out of bed. If I get up early like this, I fall right back asleep once I realize what time it is.

But for some reason this morning, I couldn’t.

It was the type of wake up where you are 200% awake. I’ve gone through days where at my most awake, I felt less awake than I did this early morning. It was like the caffeine from my afternoon double shot of espresso hit me all at once. Except that I hadn’t had a double shot of espresso. At least not in the real world. Maybe in dreamland. But I’m pretty sure I was just grocery shopping in my dream. Come to think of it, maybe my dream was so boring, my mind was like “ANYTHING ELSE” and made me wide awake. Who knows.

I puttered around my house hoping to catch my dad before he went to work. Too late. It was totally dark out but his car was already gone. I saw a cat wandering around our front yard. I walked back upstairs to try and sleep again but couldn’t.

I decided to go out on the front porch and pet the cat.

My parents have been adopted by a stray black cat. In an (I believe fruitless) attempt to not become attached to it, they have not given it an official name and just call it “Black Kitty” or “BK.”

My family has never bought a cat, but we’ve had two in my lifetime. We choose dogs. We are chosen by cats.

I’ve heard tales of BK’s friendliness and cuddliness for months. I was actually excited to meet him. Because he’s still technically a stray, I was a little worried maybe he’d move on by the time I came around. But, sure enough, when we pulled into the driveway at midnight from the airport on Tuesday, there was Black Kitty on the porch waiting to greet us.

So I thought I’d go outside to let him keep me company. It’d be a win/win. He gets attention, which he wanted, and I get another warm body that’s awake, which I wanted.

I sat on the porch and looked for him but didn’t see him. I called for him a little bit but he wasn’t around. And he’s a cat. They don’t come when you call them. Especially when you don’t have a name beyond a basic description.

I thought about going back inside, then I heard the crickets. I forgot how loud the crickets are in Indiana in the darkness. So I sat down, smelled the fresh, humid, morning air and listened to the familiar sounds of the midwest in the early morning hours.

I love my new home, Los Angeles. I love the smells and sights and sounds there. But they’re different. They bring out different emotions.

Indiana smells have a thousand past memories attached to them. I just sat there taking them each in with every breath. I sat on my porch that I’ve known my entire life and looked around. It was so peaceful. I know this place. I know these smells. I know these people. I understand it.

It was that perfect twilight time just before the world wakes up and corrupts the quiet. Very few people (like my dad) are up and about during these hours. I am rarely up during these hours. It was a treat and I let myself enjoy every moment.

I still wanted to pet that cat. I thought that I could enjoy the quiet smells and sounds with a warm cat in my lap. I heard the sound of another cat meowing in the distance. I figured it was Black Kitty upset nobody was around to pet it. “I’m right here, silly!” I kept thinking and called out for him a couple times so he knew. But he didn’t come. Because he’s a cat. Who isn’t mine. And doesn’t know me. Didn’t stop me from being insulted, of course.

I stayed on the porch for a long time thinking I’d go inside again when the crickets sounds died down. If the cat didn’t want attention, I wasn’t going to sit around and wait for him. But, I really liked the cricket sounds and wasn’t in a hurry to go inside and miss the symphony. So I just stayed there, took deep breaths, and got lost in my own thoughts and world.

As the sun started to rise, I came to terms with the fact that I would not get my alone time to bond with the supposedly friendly black cat. I wished my parents would just let him come inside already so I could have pet him on the couch and fallen back asleep. They won’t let him yet because they’re not ready to commit to him. They just got out of a cat-lationship. They know hurt it can cause in the end. The timing has to be right for them to decide to get another cat. Even though this cat has clearly already decided he’s family, my parents feed him, give him treats, and spend hours petting him…they’re not ready to commit to another cat.

I respect that approach. I tend to go head first into anything and everything. My personality is like, “Oh, sweet a cat has been here for more than an hour- he must want to stay! Let’s let him in the house and love the shit out of him until he tears up everything and runs away because he’s feral and wants to be free!”

My parents have been around the block. They understand these things better. They know that committing to a cat is a huge emotional investment. They know the heartache it can cause. They know the responsibility it entails. They understand the depth of the investment. I take longer to catch onto these things.

I thought about all that as I got ready to go inside. I respected their patience and realized I need to employ it myself in more ways in my life. Just because a cat is around and gives you attention and clearly thinks it wants in the house, doesn’t mean it’s the right timing yet to let it in the house. When the time is right, it will be obvious to everyone.

See, I get scared the cat will change its mind and run away. I feel like you’ve got to “strike while the iron is hot” and act on impulse. I’m convinced if some other home sees this friendly cat and they let it in, we lose the chance to have a sweet cat.

But my parents are okay with that. They can love and let go. They understand that the cat is free to go wherever it wants. He’s not our cat. Not yet. If it chooses to stick around, and they decide the timing is right, he will become our cat. But until then, he’s free to do whatever he wants. He may join me on the porch or he may continue to chase mice three doors down. He does whatever he wants. He doesn’t have to answer to me. I’m not committed to him. He’s not my cat. I’m not his owner.

I’m starting to understand that concept better now. In a lot of areas of my life.

As the sun came up and the crickets got quieter, I continued to hear that cat complaining a few doors down and I thought “Well, I tried, kitty. Maybe next time.” Just as I stood up to go inside, Black Kitty joined me on the porch. He wasn’t the cat that was complaining. He was just around somewhere quietly chillin, doing his own thing.

He seemed excited to have someone to pet him. He knew why I was there. And let me tell you guys, that is a friendly, sweet, cuddly cat. He lets you pet his belly. A stray cat that lets you pet his belly! Amazing!

I think I enjoyed petting him even more because the timing was better. I had the right attitude about it. I didn’t need to pet a cat for company. I enjoyed a quiet morning to myself and had let go of needing to pet him. I pet him because I wanted to.

Though I thought I could concentrate on both the smells and sounds outside and the cat, it turns out I got completely one-track-minded when the cat was around and only focused on him.

And when I went inside a while later, leaving him on the porch, I wasn’t scared he was going to run away and I’d never see him again. I was just glad I got to spend the time that I did with him. I was glad he showed up when he did. I wouldn’t have gotten the quiet me time to take in everything if he had been there earlier. I didn’t realize what a distraction he was. A wonderful distraction, but a distraction nonetheless.

Next time I see him, I’m going to pet him because I want to. And he wants me to. Not because I need to. He certainly doesn’t need me. And that’s a-ok.

I’m going to do it when I’m willing to focus on him instead of my own world. I won’t pretend I can multi-task, because I obviously can’t. He has to enrich my world, not become the sole focus of it.

Maybe he’ll be there when I head out again. Maybe he’ll wait for me when I get back from my adventures. Maybe he’ll have moved on. No matter what the outcome, I enjoyed the heck out of our meeting and the time we got to spend together.

Almost as much as I enjoy my quiet me time when he’s not around.

Either way, I’m grateful.

And sleepy. Very, very sleepy.

BK

Oh- and I’m glad he wasn’t that loud, needy, whiny cat a few doors down. I ain’t got time for that b.s.

 

 

 

 

Me Time

I understand people have gym buddies. It can be really good motivation for the right type of person. A few weeks ago, my girlfriend asked me if she could tag along when I was going to the gym as motivation for her. I was totally fine with this once in a while.

I get it. Everyone’s different.

I happen to be a personality, though, that prefers to workout alone. Unless I’m doing specifically training for some team sport or playing an active activity with friends, my workout time is my me time.

I’m out and about a lot amongst people. My day job requires that I talk to people and be pleasant throughout the day. My career is filled with working with different personalities and getting to know people from all over. And I love it. But it requires a lot of energy.

So when I workout, that’s my meditation time. It’s my reminder to breathe in my nose and out my mouth. It’s when I quietly check in with my body to see how it’s feeling and what it wants. It’s my time to listen to ridiculous, fun music or great podcasts and just relax.

In a world where I’m always (happily) giving myself to others in some capacity, my workout is my time to give back to my own mind, body, and spirit.

There’s a reason I gravitate towards running and don’t like spinning. Running you’re quietly by yourself taking in the sights and sounds and going at your own pace. Aside from the anonymous people in traffic, nobody notices you. You can zone out. You can relax. You can be invisible and invincible all at once. It’s magical.

Even lifting is as rejuvenating for me. I like being by myself and focusing on getting just the right form for the lift. I like to push my body hard but also listen and know when enough is enough. I like to take breaks between sets and just bop my head to the music I’m listening to and let my body recover. I like to scan around the room and let my mind wander to the personalities around me without investing in any one or anything too much. These people don’t know me. They don’t know the first thing about me. And they don’t care. And I love it.

So now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go run to the ocean for a training run and some me time.