When I learned to kayak, my instructor made swim the rapid. Even though I grew up with a pool in the backyard, I wasn’t a strong swimmer. And the lifejacket strapped to my body didn’t really comfort me, either. “Don’t panic. And take a big breath when the rapid shoots you out, because then it’s going to pull you back down again.” Sure enough, I panicked. Underwater, my arms flailed grandly as I tried to reach the surface. When my head popped out of the water, I took a breath — probably not as big as I should have — and then quickly disappeared underwater. When I came to the surface again, I was beyond spent and, to my dismay, headed straight for the next rapid. And I was desperately in need of a course correction. [Read more…] about Course Correction
I’m starting from zero. And it’s hard. It means ‘forgetting’ everything I’ve learned, everything I know. Especially when my instinct tells me to just press on, to keep going as if nothing has happened. As if everything is normal. But everything isn’t normal. Because I screwed up. Royally.
Running Through the Pain
I don’t remember when exactly the pain started in my foot. I just remember how, when my goal was a 15-km run, my foot began to throb when I hit 12 km. At that point, I still had to get home. And as the pain seared my foot with each step, I slowed my pace, eventually running with a pronounced limp. Maybe no one else noticed that I was limping, but I did. And I couldn’t wait to be home.
Stubbornness. That’s what told me to keep running through the pain. Running has become as big a part of my morning routine as my morning cup of java that I didn’t want to give it up. Didn’t want to go through ‘withdrawal.’ I pressed on. Mistake!
I wanted to believe my foot pain was a result of worn out shoes. So, I bought a new pair. The pain didn’t go away. Bought two different pairs of insoles. Still … pain. Yet, I kept running. Even when my first steps in the morning (plantar fasciitis) brought tears to my eyes, I ran. Until running even ten kilometres required multiple stops. That was when I knew I couldn’t, like with previous injuries, just run through the pain and hope that everything would be okay. I had to stop living in denial mode. Time to face reality. Starting from zero was the only option.
Starting from Zero
I stopped running. Well, I did for five days. On the sixth day when I ran again, the pain was less but it was time for a reset. As hard and frustrating as it is, I’m running about every second day, and no more than five kilometres. I’m being more intentional about pre- and post-stretching sessions. Getting back to basics, per se.
Starting from zero gives perspective — about what’s working and what’s not, and what needs to be done differently. Not just with running, but in so many areas of my life. It’s an opportunity to assess where I am and where I’m hoping to go, and if the plan to get me there is the right one. Or are adjustments needed? But the hope, as I slow things down, is that I’m come out on top stronger and better off for it.
Have you ever had to start from zero? What was its biggest lesson? Click Reply to share your thoughts.
After taking the month of August off to ‘rest and recharge,’ I’m easing back into a routine of sorts. I’ve always thought of September (or autumn) as the beginning of my creative cycle. It’s the time of year when I either start writing a new major work or begin rewriting a project that I’ve let rest for several months. And, usually, I bring boundless energy and enthusiasm to whatever I undertake. But this time, I’m coming at it all shaken and asking myself this: am I focused on what really matters?
Stopping Social Media from Stealing My Time
For me, taking time to rest means stepping back and slowing down, which is a real struggle at times. A big part of that is disconnecting from social media. In the early days of August, I tried not posting on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, sending text messages, or frequently opening WhatsApp. And I did everything to avoid the negativity permeating the news cycle. To focus on what really matters (at the time, that was preparing for the release of my next book later this year), it was imperative to keep distractions at bay. [Read more…] about Getting Back to What Really Matters
About a week ago, I just stopped posting to social media. No warning. It wasn’t planned like some of my earlier off-the-grid exploits. There was just this urgent need to disconnect. And for the seven days that followed, I kept my phone off. (If there had been any type of emergency, I could have been reached through e-mail, which I was still checking sporadically.) When I rejoined the world, there were several messages across different social media platforms from people wondering if I was okay. I was fine. And my time out reminded me of something I’ve always struggled with: the art of rest. [Read more…] about Taking Time to Rest
This is the third and final installment in the Take Positions for Takeoff series. As a reminder, in Part I: From Chaos to Possibility, I wrote about the initial impact of COVID-19 on my life. Then in Part II: Be Ready for Anything, I shared some of my experiences as a flight attendant. Now, let’s talk about the biggest takeaway from my time in the aviation industry: patience.
Patience as Virtue
They say patience is a virtue. Maybe that’s true. And I often thought of myself as a patient person … until I became a flight attendant. At 38,000 ft, in a pressurized cabin, and when the only thing on offer is recycled air … human behaviour changes dramatically. Maybe the frontal lobe suffers some form of damage. I don’t really know. Or maybe it’s the stress of air travel and passengers trying to figure out all the different rules and restrictions that vary from one airline to another, from one country to another. Whatever the reason, it’s an opportunity to see people at their best and — unfortunately, and growing more frequently — at their worst. [Read more…] about Take Positions for Takeoff – Part III: The Art of Patience