I find myself being quite challenged by this piece. I know exactly the story and the lesson I want to share, but I’m finding this piece difficult to start.
If you think about it, every word in the English Language – at least since the days of Beowulf — has been combinations of the same 26 letters. You combine letters to create words, words and punctuation to create sentences, and you string a few sentences together to create a paragraph. Add a few paragraphs together, that’s a page. Add a couple of pages together, that’s an article for this website.
Yet, the hardest thing to do is get started!
I’ve written two books and published one. I’m working on finding a publishing home for the second book. And I was invited to contribute to an anthology of blessings, wisdom, and life lessons from COVID-19.
The Great Pause – coming VERY soon.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had conversations on my podcast with many of my fellow authors in this book project. Primarily around their own life lessons through what Covid-19 has taught them.
And there’s been one major theme in most of these stories you’ll find in this book. That theme has been to slow down and remember what’s important.
Slow down, get back to basics, and remember what makes you tick.
Oddly enough, this is exactly what I’ve done something I haven’t done since I was in grade school. And when I was in grade school, I despised this activity with the heat of the South Alabama July sun.
I woke up one morning last week and I threw on some workout clothes for the first time in several months. I laced up my sneakers. And I stepped outside and I ran!
I was the fat kid in school who could barely finish his assigned runs in PE class. I couldn’t do it. I’d take forever to run a mile. I had absolutely no stamina.
I have grown to fall in love with weight training. The primal movements of squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. But I still had an aversion to running.
When my feet started to pound the pavement, I started to hurt. It felt awful. My legs felt like shock absorbers in a desert during one of those Baja rally races.
But I kept going.
Granted, I walked way more than I ran. But I did run.
And…I really liked it.
Over the past week, I can’t start my day without a great sweat, and pounding the pavement.
My coaching has been better.
My podcasts have been out of this world.
I sleep better.
And my stamina has gotten way better!
I’m writing this in July. I want to complete a 5K by Labor Day! The rate I’m going, I’m gonna blow that goal out of the water!
Clearly, this isn’t about my fitness goals.
It’s about getting back to basics.
Life has thrown me nothing but curveballs in 2020. From getting fired from my “dream” job in January, to getting thrown out of my place where I was living right before a global pandemic hit, I’ve had a challenging year.
This year has led me to look at life in a very different way. And at the rate I’m going, I’m going to have a July that I’m never going to forget. From a blossoming coaching business, to a new book coming out in a matter of weeks, you can’t drag me off this court.
I’d like to share a few simple practices that I have taken on with my life to help me in getting back to basics.
- Drop your awareness into your body. During the depths of my depression right when the pandemic and quarantine first hit, I found an almost magnetic draw inside the bathtub in my hotel room. I’d sit in there several times a day. I wasn’t taking my therapy seriously, and I wasn’t making much progress. The first thing I’ve done to get back to basics is simply starting to move! Move my body and get out of my head.
- Get grounded. My friends Bob and Shonna have gained a significant amount of notoriety during Shonna’s pregnancy. Shonna’s water broke prematurely back in March, and there was a less than 1% chance that the baby would make it. After staying in the hospital, mostly alone because of the pandemic, for more than 60 days, Shonna and Bob welcomed little Forest to the world on Father’s Day. And after spending 20 days in NICU, I’m writing this on the day that Forest leaves NICU to go home!
In one of the countless interviews that Bob (a fellow contributor to The Good Men Project) gave as their story gained traction, someone asked him what the first thing would be he would to say to his son.
“You’re grounded.” Get it? Cuz’ there are trees with roots in a Forest…
While humorous, I think it paints a powerful picture of just how simply getting grounded can be to your growth.
Case in point, as I’m writing this piece, I’m sitting in the grass in a city park in Stamford, CT. My shoes are off. I feel the grass under my feet. I feel the sun in my face. And I feel the breeze in my hair.
And I’ve never felt more grounded in my life.
- Don’t do this alone. I have said this countless times in this space over the years. Do not try to transform who you’re being in the world without enlisting a team to support you. Get a coach (know any good ones?), get a therapist, reach out to a good friend for support, speak to a clergy member you trust – but don’t do this alone!
Last but not least…
- Re-meet your inner child! What did you love to do when you were a child? Did you love playing music? Get your guitar out of mothballs then. Did you love climbing trees (I ask as I see someone climbing a tree in this park)? Go find a tree, or even a climbing wall! Find a city park and read poetry while lying in the park barefoot. Pick up your video game console or the first time in ages. Or even simply have a conversation with your inner child!
Quick story, my therapist in a recent session encouraged me to invite my inner child out on a run one morning. And I did.
“That was kinda fun. Can we do that again?” My inner 12-year old says to me.
Getting back to basics may seem counterproductive to where we want to be in the world. But when was the last time you tried it? When was the last time you laid down in the grass in a city park in Stamford, CT and just let Mother Earth give you a giant hug?
Get back to basics. You might find yourself quite surprised.