Accuracy

Accuracy. For those of us who grew up on video games, this word may conjure up hooded archers and sharpshooters. While others may visualize scientists, statisticians, or students. Generally, we imagine sports or people whose success depends on an ability to be correct.  But accuracy is a skill we can all practice. One that allows each of us the chance to concentrate our efforts. In its pursuit, we refine the way we nourish ourselves towards our highest expression. We give ourselves the opportunity to hone our decision-making to better serve our own heart, life, and well-being on a moment to moment basis.  

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As @functionalcoach explains, this skill is not simply about hitting a bull’s eye, though.  There is an element of intensity involved. Can we apply the right amount force necessary in the moment for overall success? Not too much…or too little. 

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Today I witnessed a lack of accuracy begin to  play out internally when I was making excuses for not working out and taking an “all or nothing” mentality with training.  I began to mask my lack of discipline with the stresses that come from being off my normal routine.  I almost skipped my workout completely for other kinds of work (mentally siting the latest study on adrenal fatigue while I was at it). 

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But I was born to move, and I know a day without any dedicated time for movement is not true to who I am and what I value.  

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Instead, I asked myself—based on the current situation, what is the most accurate choice for me today?  How can I apply the right amount of force where needed? In the end, I decided to do the @birthfit Functional Progression and 1/2 of my planned workout, because that’s what I had the time, energy, and capacity for in the moment. On another day, the answer may have been a walk with the kids or a yoga flow. 

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How are you being inaccurate in your ability to apply force? What’s the most accurate choice for you today? 

Balance

Balance. Sometimes we talk about it as if it’s an end point or destination—one we will know when we get there.  Joy, peace, and purpose will be wrapped up in a neat little package, and balance will be the bow that ties them all together.  

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In reality, balance reflects a continual state of change.  It is our ability to make the tiniest of adjustments to stay upright.  Recently, while watching my weekly video in Coach’s Prep 101, I listened to Logan Gelbrich relay the definition for balance in relation to movement.  He said balance is our ability to keep our center of mass over our base of support.  How quickly can we adjust our shape to counteract any sudden shifts? How controlled and efficient are those adjustments?   

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The goal is not to stand still, but to alter our shape or fine-tune our position based on what’s needed, and maybe even have fun doing it. The more demanding the task, the more precise our adjustments need to be, but even if you are simply taking one step forward, you must purposely push yourself off-balance and trust that you will adjust to catch yourself (or practice until you can). 

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Go into the week remembering that similar to this definition of balance, who you are is bound up in the process itself. The negative self-talk and emotions are simply old patterns. If you are trying to get better, failing, and trying again, that’s who you are. You grow, you adjust, you forgive, you try, you change, you learn, you show up, you heal, you love. That’s who you are, and it matters that you know it. 

Southern Summer

I forgot what winter felt like.

The same way you forgot

the weight of my hands

across your chest

when you cried

out at night,

or the playful speckles

of green and yellow

scattered across

the windows

of your other soul

Your bones

are poems,

work,

and love

—ground down and offered up.

Mine are apologies.

Linen Dress

She is the doorway. From night to day and back.

The sun renders its best for her— a soothing fire. Warm sand between her toes.

Wind wraps her body in a cool linen dress.

The ocean sings for her— waves crash through stones and water.

Birds know her story.

Tilt their wings towards her.

Circle.  

Night comes.

Unfolds from within

The girl who weeps 

At the edges.

Her body

A vessel.

Linen spun gold

By sunset’s failing light.  

 

Light in Colorado and Tennessee

Light in Colorado and Tennessee

 

Colorado days awaken with a crisp breeze.  One that draws you forward and whispers of possibility—the same whispers, I imagine, that inspire the saying “the mountains are calling, and I must go.” The air there is filled with the familiar smells of tall evergreens, spring water refined by snow, scorched dust, and a spirit of adventure. It echoes across the mountains at sunrise, inviting those who greet the day to follow the light as it opens the sky to shades of purple.

Tennessee days, however, prefer to take their time, and the morning slowly stretches as it rises, gently tending to everything it passes. The air here nourishes with a patience that is thick with life. It lingers to enjoy the simple pleasures and wonders over the ways of the world.  Sunrise, too, arrives unhurried, humming a quiet, cheerful song as it sets about its daily work. It steadies the sky with the warm and social shades of a campfire, reassuring those within reach as it settles into the day.

Both sunrises and sunsets captivate us because, for a sliver of time, the sky rebels against the norm.  In these moments, the sun does not simply serve our needs. It plays.  It announces its entrance or sings its goodbyes until tomorrow—celebrating its own fire and power.  That is one lesson we can learn from the edges of each day.

Another considers the unseen details—an understanding of the inner workings of light and the particles diverting it from its original trajectory.  This knowledge teaches us that without obstructions and imperfections in our world we cannot view the full spectrum of ourselves. In sunrises and sunsets, we glimpse what’s normally unseen and are invited to consider the possibility of something different and beautiful.  In the world and in ourselves.

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She is Worthy of Love

I’m in Austin at the BirthFit Summit, and I hear myself saying the words, “I’m not that person anymore.”

I’m talking about 19-year old me like she’s somebody else. A stranger, or maybe a childhood friend.

But that’s not the whole truth.  I was there too, with her. Covered in veils of shame and confusion. I misunderstood the way I moved through the world.  I feared my intuition.

The Spirit called to mine even then, but when I heard it, I hid.  Just as I had been taught to do. I covered my ears, my eyes, and my heart until I could not remember the dream.  I could not see the beauty or recognize the song.  

So, the Spirit waited and stopped awakening the dreams within me.  The music stripped down to the simplest rhythm. 

I learned about suffering in the stillness.

The grief of losing my music. 

The residue of estrangement.   

I got to know that girl’s lonely, dark places.

I hated her weaknesses. Her lies. Her indecisiveness. 

She was fickle. Scattered. Co-dependent. Vain. She lost focus. She didn’t know what she wanted. She craved attention.  She cared too much what others thought and survived by being what everybody else wanted to see.  She kept herself so busy, but she couldn’t out-busy sadness. 

She oscillated between wanting to be anywhere but the painfully loud chaos of her own mind and being paralyzed by the depths of silence she could hold. 

So, I studied how she moved until I understood her better. Years poured by while I watched carefully. I could see the pain lining her nature and forgave her imperfections.  

I thought I was done with her then. But as I said it out loud, “I’m not that person anymore,” something in my heart reopened.

Something distant, but determined, whispering the truth that I already knew.

Forgiveness is not enough. She had more to show me. I asked her what it was and waited.

She came to me in a dream of unbalanced scales and told me a story about threads of gold, stretching from the beginning of the cosmos, through her heart and the earth beneath me.  She taught me how to see them.

The threads held truth. 

I remembered other pieces of her. She was as fluid as fire. She captured joy from everywhere around her, warmed it in her being, and gently placed it in cold, forgotten places. Rough edges didn’t bother her. She cared about the heart of things. 

She was asking me to see the strands of beauty in my most unbalanced moments. To hold all of me, including her, and acknowledge the way she’s woven into the story of who I am. 

She is with me now. She shouldn’t be dismissed.  She does not simply need forgiveness.  

She is worthy of love. And so am I.

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The Value and Privilege of Coaching.

Coaching is a privilege, and whatever path led us to the craft, we step into possibility the moment we choose it. Coaches get to see our athletes often. More importantly, we see them through moments of personal significance- insecurity, struggle, uncertainty, and triumph.

Potential resides in the proximity to that personal significance. But potential does not evolve into actuality without deliberate work. Only after we decide to value our artistry as something more than correcting movement alone, and so respect it as the privilege it is, can we be capable of fully investing our time, energy, and selves into the success of others. Our role as coaches is one of active guidance through creativity, compassion, endurance, encouragement, loyalty, and love.  Allowing the natural weariness we experience to give way to complacency, or alternatively, confidence to ego, greatly limits our impact not only in our interactions with our athletes, but also our own development as coaches.  Coaches who commit to an active guidance will find ways to guard against stagnation and choose to mentally prepare for the patience and discipline the growth process demands.

Inevitably, every person will arrive with their own struggles.  Each athlete’s journey, as uncommon as the body they inhabit, is also a reminder to coaches to always return to the adaptation afforded by struggle.  Coaches, too, can learn to acknowledge their weaknesses and quickly bounce back from failures. By doing so, we model and practice the invaluable skill of “recognition then recovery” our athletes will need. Through honesty and the admittance of our own imperfection, we can give our athletes the room to be human as well.

Just as we ask our athletes to journal their workouts and reflect on their mood, coaches can take note of circumstances that impact our craft. What qualities in an athlete cause our compassion to vanish?  How long can we endure excuses before losing our temper? What external stressors are keeping us distracted? In that last class where we know we just went through the motions, what was our mindset? What did we do the morning we had enough energy to really give our best each time we coached? How can we repeat that?

A coach should be an example of the process in more than fitness or training; the qualities we develop in the gym are meant to be directly transferable to our daily lives. Expect more from our athletes in their movement, and they learn to believe they are capable of more in all areas.  Show them they can fix a physical imbalance with time and patience, and they start to see deeply ingrained habits as changeable too. Confidence transfers, and we as coaches get to encourage and reroute people towards their goals when they lose focus and remind them of their purpose.

A coach becomes the calm, respected voice in an athlete's head,  pushing them to new levels of performance or tempering their ambition when patience is the priority. We get to share their very real fears and proudest moments. It isn't easy, but when we can frame these small acts within a bigger picture, physical movement and simple connections work together to create something worthwhile.

 

-megh  

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Fear and Community

Fear is the mind-killer.
It is insidious.
We don't always recognize it for what it is. We call it insecurity or procrastination. We call it indecision or lack of focus. We even mistake it as ambition. Whatever form it comes in, we can learn to recognize it when it manifests itself in thoughts and actions.  We can learn to separate fear from the shame that often accompanies it. Safety is a primal need after all. No shame necessary. While the stressors of modern life are slightly less pressing than a nearby predator, they are also incessant. They easily build within our body and psyche, and consequently, we regularly find ourselves in an unproductive, reactionary state. And at the origin of each social pressure we feel, is a subtle, but deeply influential fear. Fear of being unloved, unwanted, unimportant, unaccepted, unappreciated, unsuccessful, over-worked, selfish, ungrateful, a bad parent, a bad spouse.  Fear of being embarrassed.  Fear of being average. Fear of being uncomfortable. Fear of being judged. Fear of being honest with ourselves or others.  Fear of failure. Fear of success.  Fear of being misunderstood. Fear of being dismissed.

Countering these insecurities is a tall order, but we can choose to try regardless. To do so, we need a model of community in which our worth does not depend on our actions, appearance, or opinions. We need a space where we feel unconditionally valued. A culture that prioritizes grace and humility.  We must value one another’s humanity, and everything else comes after that.  This is not just for crunchy hippies doing yoga on paddle-boards in Boulder or roasting vegan marshmallows at a music festival in Austin.  This kind of community accepts innumerable differences, and by doing so, also forces us to contemplate our own values. 

Facing fears isn't about conflict; it's about vision. It's about insight. We as coaches can give athletes a place of peace to counteract the discomfort that accompanies growth.  We can choose to create a space that moves from the false sense of safety and temporary comfort offered by the fear response, and to the more difficult, but lasting stability of a strong, healthy community.

-megh

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P.S.  "Fear is the mind-killer" is a line from Dune (yes, I'm a nerd). Also, I'm not saying anything new. 

Settling into Discomfort

The BirthFit Functional Progression.

At least once a day, I lie down and try to teach my body to tune into something it has forgotten. Almost forgotten. Today, after several months of practice, I can finally feel a few muscles slowly relaxing into their intended roles. I can feel others getting stronger. Waking up. But most days, stability still seems very far away.  So much dysfunction and confusion is mixed into the way my body has learned to move.

I know, in my head, that taking time out of my day to correctly rebuild my postpartum core is a small act of love. I am honoring my body and my self. It is an outward symbol of the internal choice to be patient, nurturing, and disciplined. But if I'm being honest, most days I do not enjoy it.

For me the difficulty of the functional progression goes much deeper than the patterns of movement it slowly resets and strengthens. It's a daily confrontation with my ego.  My personal weaknesses and struggles take center stage: focused attention, complete presence, and slow, intentional action. Choosing this day after day takes a long-term discipline I'm not sure I have yet.

But I do crave growth and self improvement (however slow it may be). So most days, I choose to face myself.  I sit quietly in that physical and mental place of discomfort. When I feel myself rushing through or moving without focus, I do it over again.

By beginning all my workouts this way, I can settle into a better understanding of my body's current ability. There is no way to convince myself I'm farther along than I am (or suddenly ready for more volume). I recalibrate my bodily awareness every time. 

I am not confident enough to say I will always be diligent or that my deficiencies will one day be strengths, but over time, I have built enough trust to know I will usually choose the hard thing over the easy. 

We all need our own daily dose of humility . (Though I would also say we all need the functional progression to some extent 😜) We need something that makes us uncomfortable. Something that forces our ego out into the open. When we find whatever that something is, we then need to visit it as regularly as possible. If only to show ourselves we can. 

-megh  

Me attempting BirthFit Functional Progression 1 (based on DNS principles).

Me attempting BirthFit Functional Progression 1 (based on DNS principles).