Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: mind

Willpower Won Today!

I ran my first race today.  A 10K in Crissy Field in San Francisco called Run 10 Feed 10.

race bib

It was a cool, foggy morning in the city.  The route was a loop through Crissy Field that gave us views of Golden Gate bridge shrouded in fog.  There were probably a few hundred runners in this race sponsored by Women’s Health.

My main goal for this race was to finish and to keep running the whole way.  And I accomplished those goals!  There were times when I just wanted to walk, especially as I saw other runners doing the same.  But I quelled the voices in my head that were saying, things like,

  • Just take a quick break.  You can always start up running again.  
  • Feel that cramp in your abdomen?  It hurts, doesn’t it?  Walk it off!
  • Aren’t your legs tired?  Take it easy!

I just kept thinking of how much I wanted to be able to tell people that I ran the whole race, all 6.2 miles, without stopping.  And just that thought kept me going.  The thought of how proud I would be with what I had accomplished.  But those “can’t” voices in my head sure kept trying to slow me down.

I’m just amazed at how far I’ve come in 8 months of running.  From a place where I could barely do intervals of one minute running, one minute walking for a total of a half hour.  Now to a place where I ran a full 6.2 miles.

It’s all about willpower, which I’ve talked about before.  I know my body can do the run.  It’s not impossible physically.  But it’s all about the mind.  About those voices that say, “I can’t.”  And it’s amazing how loud those voices can be when the going gets tough: running long distance, difficult yoga poses, life challenges.

I don’t know if I’m ready for a half or full marathon yet in my life.  This 10K really pushed me beyond my comfort zone.  I still have the goal of doing a triathlon someday, so maybe that’s the next thing I need to start training for.

I like the challenge that these past 8 months of running have presented to me.  I had to get into a groove from never having one before.  I had to get out of bed and battle all the voices encouraging me to sleep and “just run tomorrow.”  I overcame a sprained ankle.  I made the decision to enter a 10K race before I had even run a 5K.  I started a job and had to figure out a new running schedule.  All of these potential roadblocks were overcome by my will and desire to keep going and reaching my goal.  It’s given me learnings that I can apply to my life as I encounter challenges that really count.

Rainy Day = Thinking Time

It's been pouring and windy all day on my last full day in Kerikeri. All timed well– it was supposed to be a day off for me anyway plus it's a weekend. So it's a nice day to curl up in a cozy chair, watching the rain streak by and the palms and ferns and plants bear the strong winds. Only thing is my laundry is outside in the shed trying to dry. Oh well, it's not the end of the world.

Days off can be a mixed bag of relaxing, catching up on things I haven't been able to tend to combined with having too much time to think and dwell on things that I might have been avoiding during the working days. The workaholic in me needs to always be doing something– working, baking, cleaning, surfing the web… And in this case, I've resorted to blogging when I could be “relaxing.”

A few thoughts that have been running through my mind lately:

I've been thinking about the name of my next “project” or venture or career or job or whatever, and I've been wanting to incorporate the word “Blackbird” into the name somehow.

I love the Beatles' song “Blackbird.” It was a song I grew up with, and I've even learned how to pick it out on the guitar– the only song that I know the picking for. Otherwise, I have no patience for guitar tabs. Today I was researching the background of the song and found that Paul McCartney once talked about how it's related to the struggles and uprising of the black community during the late 60s with the Civil Rights Movement and urban riots. This gives me a newfound appreciation and even deeper love for the song.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these sunken eyes and learn to see

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly

Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly

Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

I've been seeing blackbirds all over New Zealand in my travels and WWOOFing, and it's probably the only bird I can recognize right away because it's black (duh) and it has a bright orange beak. And it's often hopping around on the ground looking for food and also flying low, looking for (because it's spring here) twig and grasses to build a nest. They're quite hard workers.

I also did a bit of additional research on blackbirds and have found some meanings related to it that I've found quite interesting:

  • Birds robed in black do not give up their secrets easily. The bird is symbolic of life in the heavens (higher ideals, higher path of knowing) and the color black is symbolic of pure potential. (
  • Their singing puts the listener into a sleep or a trance which enables him or her to travel to the otherworld. It was said to impart mystic secrets. Blackbirds are timid and prefer their own company over the company of others. Blackbirds are timid and prefer their own company over the company of others. The male's distinctive song during breeding season is loud and melodious with flute like qualities. Males often sing from high perches and both sexes produce a variety of sounds which include mimicking other birds. Blackbirds spend much of their time on the ground. Its locomotion includes walking, climbing and hopping forward and backwards. They forage for food in open spaces although cover is always near by. The blackbirds flights are low, short and undulating but fast and direct over open country. They move with determination and focus and can teach us how to do the same. When blackbird flies into your life your connection with nature and the forces of creation increase. The magic of the underworld surfaces in your life. Awareness is heightened and change on a cellular level begins. The blackbird teaches you how to acknowledge your power and use it to its fullest. (
  • Blackbirds are quite different from crows and ravens (which I don't like). Those two are related to each other and are more like pests with a crow or caw. Blackbirds' song is actually quite tuneful and lyrical. They're related to orioles (which is cool because I'm from the Baltimore area, where the baseball team we grew up with was the Baltimore Oriole!).

Anyways, all this has gone to make the blackbird more solidly a symbol or totem that I hope to carry in my next venture. I like the multiple meanings that it holds for my life.

I've been alluding to this “next venture” a bit, and what I'll share for now is that I think it's going to be a small business. Something that I start. Involving food for body, mind, and spirit in all the forms that I have discovered I am passionate about: yoga, community, homecooking, gardens, sustainable living, education… It's starting to take form in my head… And I don't want it to be dependent on government funding, rich people-funding, or any kind of “others.” I want it to be dependent on “us,” whoever that “us” becomes. And I want that “us” to be bigger than just me, or me and another person. But I'll leave it at that for now!


Q is for “Quiet”

I love how every time I go to yoga class, a word sticks out that connects with my ABC-blog assignment for the day!  🙂  Thanks, yoga teachers!  Thanks, universe!

Today’s word that stuck with me was “quiet.”

Sunday mornings always bring a special kind of quiet that I love.  Everyone’s sleeping in so no lawn mowing, no cars and buses, no kids running around.  And it’s especially nice on a cool morning like it was today.  I can open all the windows and just revel in the quiet.  It helps to quiet my mind, too.  Something that rarely happens.  And these days, my Sunday mornings have been busy, too, so my Sunday morning quiet hasn’t always been available to me.

(This photo is not taken by me, unlike most blog images.  This is from online.)

During these times of quiet, I focus on my breath.  I realize then how shallow my breathing is usually, and with a focus on deeper breath, I feel calmer and replenished of healthy, fresh life force (or as it’s called in yoga, prana).

My mind also slows down, and I realize then how much I am thinking about a million things at once.  At work, especially.  When things are quiet, I can let my mind wander and not be so scattered.  That takes some practice and focus, too.

Since I’ve been living on my own, I’ve been watching way less TV.  I usually just have music on as background murmur.  But with music, it’s just my ears that get stimulus.  When I’m watching TV, my eyes, my ears, my mind are all being stimulated, and I find that I can’t concentrate on anything but what’s on the TV.  Since I’ve been watching less TV, I’ve found it easier to be quiet and I’ve enjoyed it.  I’m not the type that would ever give up my TV, but I could deal with not having supreme cable.  I like having the TV for specials and also to watch movies.  But crazy sensory overload of regular TV with its commercials, loud sounds, and bright colors is not something I miss.

I’ve been a little stressed with some things related to my upcoming trip– namely my lack of a plan.  I’m trying to have some kind of plan but also let myself be OK with not having a rigid plan, and it’s been hard to allay my fears and nerves about the ambiguity of it all.  But during these times of quiet, I can more easily let the stress go and live in the quiet.  I’m learning to let go.  To let things happen, and so far things have been happening.  I know I have a safety net of money, family, and my own intellect.  So what more do you need?

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