Thursday, May 19, 2011

WIN: "Now I'm Rearanging my Life for Yoga!"

This is not what my Rabbit pose looks like. But one day, it might.

I was just chatting with a friend of mine who is beginning a yoga practice. I took him to Bikram Yoga at Aspen's Arjuna Yoga studio for his first class, and, like most folks who come to Bikram for the first time, he was blown away by how hard it was, how incredibly hot it was in the room, how it could be so hard to stand so still.

Surviving the heat is the first part of it, after about four classes, your body adjusts, the heat is welcome, addicting, and you don't get dizzy. Then your practice begins to deepen, and rather than yoga being the workout, its what you do to recover from, balance for, or prepare for your day.

I'm finding that the more yoga I do, the more I like to use it after a big run, hike, ski or ride. (Although its DUMPING snow in Aspen right now, so lets say SKI!) There is something beautiful about surrendering to the practice so much that it becomes like eating or breathing, its an essential part of balancing your life, not the dreaded workout you are obligated to do.

So I just got a text from my friend, who is coming to the noon class, and he said, "Ive moved my appointment so I can make it to class. Now I'm rearranging my life for yoga! Ahhh!" 

Backbends in the heat is one of the best PT therapies for my injury I've found!
I smiled when I read this, because I remember the first time that I told someone that I couldn't schedule a massage at a certain time because I had class. I wasn't turning down work, but honoring my practice as an important part of my health, my happiness, and my rehabilitation from my injury made this very sacred space for that practice in my life.

Suddenly, my schedule is balancing because I'm willing to schedule my life around yoga. Or, more accurately, to schedule my work and play along with yoga, so that it is integrated into my life just like food and time with my kids is.

I think this is one of the key breakthroughs as a person changes their lifestyle, especially the initial shift from more sedentary to more active, this honoring. Its not something that ever stops, as I continue on my journey of fitness, I find that my commitment deepens and my need to schedule hours of workout time into every day becomes more important.

And guess what? I have more time! By taking 3 or 6 or 8 hours to workout, in yoga, in hiking, in skinning up, whatever, my house is also clean! My laundry is done, the food I am making is healthier, my time with my kids is more active, they are happier, so am I. My body is getting stronger, my mind is getting calmer.

Trusting that the energy will come back to you when you are first starting is the next hard part, I think. When you first start working out you are so exhausted in the afternoon. But its not always like that. And, eventually, you get addicted to that exhausted feeling, and you learn to blanance those workouts, so that they are once or twice a week instead of every day. Your every day practice becomes an energizing one.

So yeah, WIN, my friend, you are scheduling your life around yoga! Welcome to the first step down the path to bliss!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A quick update

I want to say thanks to my kind and supportive  readers who sent me a steady stream of comments and emails during those tough two weeks.

One of my readers told me that it was really hard for him to see me get that far "below the line", to have self doubt and questioning behavior. I think about that a lot before I post something personal, but I do have to say that my promise to my readers has always been that I will be as transparent as possible.

This blog was meant to be a real log of this journey, not just the good parts. Any journey has ups and downs, and this one is proving to be quite difficult. I would never have guessed that the hardest part would be the financial aspect, but its true, starting a new career, from scratch, with two kids to pay for and no savings is more difficult than one would think, even a perpetual optomist like me. :-)

I had a wonderful talk with my friend who was rattled by my being rattled, and what I told him was that its going to happen. I am a human, just like everyone else, and while I work hard to stay positive and move forward, I think that having these thoughts of doubt are part of using my paddle.

(YES, I will post both the paddle and flywheel concepts ASAP! I promise!)

If we don't examine the choices we are making, we run the risk of blindly charging toward our goal, without concept or care for how our choices are affecting other people. And while its important to stay committed and work hard, and while its more likely that you will "achieve" if you can put your head down and keep moving forward, the success you achieve may be a lonely one.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a fun place to be, and it was a very scary two weeks. And no, its not really over yet, although things are looking up (aren't they always?). But I think it was an important place to be.

Do I really want this? How important is it? Should I really go to New Zealand if I can? Is it too selfish? What is the cost? To me, to our future stability, to the boys, to my relationships?

In the end, I feel that I have found some balanced answers to those questions, which are serving as a path for me while I'm navigating all this uncertanty. Having a strong support group who came very gently to my aid was really helpful during this period, and I'm grateful!

Don't be scared of the scary times, they are teachers, too, and look to your friends for encouragement when it gets dark, lots of times, they'll sit right next to you while you figure it out.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Just Show Up.

I was talking with my dear sister (no, the other one. the one you are thinking of is in Spain!!) this morning, and she asked me... "How do you do it? How do you actually get started? And then how do you make a change in your life that lasts? And then, if you go back to your old habits, how do you start again?"

This is SUCH an important question.

She said, "I know Nike says "Just do it." But I don't know how."

We had a beautiful conversation about how to make the change in your life so that it stays, so that you are the change, so that you are growing and becoming. And then I thought I'd better write it down for the rest of us, too!

"Well, I don't have time today."  This is the excuse that keeps it from happening, and while it may be true you may actually not have time today, most likely the reason that you don't have time is because you're used to not having time.

You're doing the best you can to fit in everything.  You're lucky if you actually make it to the post office.  You know if you make it to the post office, the grocery store and you get the laundry folded and put away, then you've done three things that you don't have time for, let alone getting yourself to a 90-minute yoga class which actually takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes including
driving and getting in, getting out and showering, so really who has TWO hours extra? 

Nobody. Not one of us. Not even the people that are there, in Yoga. They don't have two extra hours.

This level of awesomeness is not required every time. But it might be the accidental result of showing up. You never know.
The point is is that if you want fitness in your life, if you want your blood pressure to go down, you want to not have insomnia and depression, you want to have extra energy, you want to have clarity and balance and a strong body, not even a super ripped body, just a body that has movement and is functioning well, then you have to make time for it.

And I know everybody says that you have to make time for it, but I mean it.  You have to make
time for it in the same way that you make time for the other things you've decided are indispensible in your life, so if you have decided that as you're making decisions during the day, spending time with your children trumps getting the laundry folded and your kids are there so you spend time with them,
that's decision making. 

That's building little pockets of time according to your priorities, and it's true that something has to
give.  You can't just stay up an extra 2 hours because sleep is an important part of fitness, so where does it come from? 

If you work a 10-hour day and your house is a mess and you have other obligations, where does it come from?  It comes from making it every morning to that 8:15 class right after you drop your kid off at school whether you're tired or not because it's a thing that you don't compromise on.

If you have a job that starts at 9, you make it to 4:30 class. If your job, like my sisters, is 7 am to 11 pm, you tell your boss you need a 2 hour lunch in order to stay healthy. You go to the one hour yoga at lunch, and you walk there. You eat your healthy lunch at your desk after.

Even if you don't feel like going to yoga, you go. Especially if you don't feel like going. "Ugh, I don't feel like going." RIGHT! That's the signal that its time to get your shit in your car and get going. And park like four blocks away so you get a walk in, too.

This might do just fine today. You showed up.
Because it's not a competitive sport; the point of yoga is to do the posture to the benefit of the body, so you go into the pose and you hold it as well as you can to the benefit of the body, and if this morning you've been crying for three days or you've got your period or whatever it is, or you didn't sleep last night or you just had a big fight or you have 18 million things to do later today, yes you still have to go to yoga

No, it doesn't have tobe champion of the world workout.  You have to show up.  That's my point. Maybe this blog post should have been called that. Show up.  Just show up.  Get in the first pose.  Don't wish you weren't there.  Don't wish that the class could end.  Don't wish that your stomach didn't hurt.  Just let go of wishing everything.  Just show up and then be there.  Be there in the first posture.  Be there in the second posture.  Be there in the ninth posture.  Be there in shavasana.  Be grateful to yourself for the fact that you took the time to do it.  You don't have to hit it out of the park.  It doesn't have to be the best one ever. You can get there and be exhausted.  See if you can get there and
be exhausted and not have to show with your face or your body or your energy to everybody else that you're here but you're exhausted so you deserve something back.  Just show up.

And go to yoga. Namaste!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Get back up. This racer did.

Thanks to Brian for sending me this incredible video... its just unreal. I sat here with my mouth open and tears running down my face. Get back up! Its not over till its OVER!

Not Confusing, Confucius.

I have a lovely friend who knows just what to say. (We all need those, don't we?) He sent me these, and for that, I'm really, really grateful. It was awesome timing. And these are good!

The gem cannot be polished without friction nor man without trials.  ~Confucius

There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.
-- Washington Irving

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fingers Crossed!

Things are looking up at 1:20 in the morning! I had a job interview via Skype today with Treble Cone Ski School in Wanaka, NZ. It seems like this might be a really wonderful match! The ski school is small, dedicated to training and very much about the guest experience and encouraging the guest to play all over the mountain. It sounds a lot like Bridger Bowl!

Fingers crossed while details are lined up, hopefully it all works out and I'll be heading to New Zealand in July. If not, its been a great experience getting to this point, I've learned a lot.

Thanks to my wonderful friends for hangin' with me during what proved to be a crazy week. I'm not out of the woods yet, but I feel so very much better!

Back to sleep and then off to Yoga in the morning, I have ten weeks to get in the best ski shape yet!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The most important thing is NEVER TO PANIC.

eventually, i'm sure i'll get there...
Total crisis today to things being clearer this afternoon. I try to stay out of crisis and just work toward the next bill getting paid. Today was really tough as I had a deadline that I knew I couldn't meet. I had to have a long, painful talk with a person I care about, and it did not feel good. And then I did not feel good.

I went to my friend's house and cried on his shoulder... "I'm Failing." I told him. Am I ridiculous to think I could actually do this? Quit my job and move to Aspen with my kids and live on a ski instructors salary with no savings to get us through?

Who am I to be giving people advice on following their dreams? Mine are held together by dental floss and an overly healthy optomistic streak.

In order to ski this summer, I have to be selfish. In order to make the ski cut, I have to ski this summer, or I don't have a chance in hell. I probably, honestly, don't have a chance to begin with, but if I'm going to give it all I have, like I promised I would, that means I have to ski this summer.

To what detriment? Can I come up with the $4000 I'll need (and that's with a donated plane ticket) to get there and live, and pay for my place here at the same time?  How can I think that will happen when I'm struggling to pay rent this month?

The worst part is, I don't want to ask for help. There needs to be a time when this is settled, solved. And while it gets better every year, I need it to be all better now. Which means I'm doing something that's not working. My costs are more than I make. But my costs are as low as I can get them without living in my car.

So I'm looking at all these things, after having had a fairly tough week, emotionally, although my massage business is picking up a LOT, its still not grown as big as I need it to.

I have an interview for a short haul in New Zealand tonight, which is promising, but that's not till the end of July, and I have to make money to get there.

I have several writing projects that I'm working on, but... but... what materializes now for car payment, groceries and rent for May and June? Should I go get an office job? If I do, I won't be free to work at 02 or privately giving massage, which is what my professional skill set is in. If I work hard developing my massage business, I will be able to have time to be with my kids and make a good living at the thing I love doing. I'll be walking down my path.

Then there is my job at the stables. I gave it up in hopes of getting the job at Portillo, was that wishful thinking? Was that foolish? Was that selfish? If I hadn't, and I'd gotten the job, I would have had to let my boss at the stables down at the last minute. That didn't feel like integrity.

Because I don't really have the luxury to make decisions like these, are they reckless when they don't work out? Does it mean that I shouldn't be doing this?

In the midst of these tears, I got a text from 02... my first massage from them, and I just got hired yesterday. It seemed like a sign, a reprieve. I know its silly, there's no signs. But I latched onto it just in case.

Working at 02 is wonderful, its the kind of business I'd open if I was going to open a spa. A yoga, pilates and meditation studio with a small quality spa upstairs. It feels homey, it feels wonderful.

So I'm going to do this interview, I'm going to keep doing massage at my place and at 02, I'm going to breathe, I'm going to clean houses to fill in the money and I'm going to work my ass off. That's my plan.

What are you doing with your summer?

My plan is to spend it frolicking! (Okay, probably not.)

Sorry for the formatting issue, I've re-posted this one several times, but for some reason it won't make space between the paragraphs...
 Okay, so the next question is: what are you going to do with your summer?  I started thinking about it and working on it in plenty of time, but I did kind of put all my eggs in one basket. I didn't want to apply for a job at another ski school and then have to turn someone down.
When I didn't get the job in Portillo, I was sad. I struggled a lot with what it meant. I'm not sure why I didn't get hired. I do respect the decision, of course, and I'm so excited for my friend Andrew and Cindy who will be there teaching this summer. I'd love to be with them, but I'm just as stoked for them as I would be to go with.
The repercussions of what it meant not to get the job hung around me a little longer than I expected. I struggled with what it meant, I worried about what it would mean in my future.
I resigned myself to ski locally and head to Portillo to train in August, and then, my back country partner got hurt. Yeah, there's lots of people to ski with, but this is the person I trust who is free to go get some quick training laps in and who doesn't mind if I'm slow. (Well, I'm sure he minds, but he tolerates it fairly well.)
So I started looking at working overseas again. But I have this wishy-washy feeling about it, and no time to feel that way. I looked at several of the schools and while I'd love to work for many of them, my goal for being on snow this summer was to get great training in, and I want to do a good job for whatever ski school I work for. I know that there are some situations that would challenge my ability to keep my morale high and work hard, and so I have chosen not to take the offer at that ski school, which I'm pretty sure I will regret.
And I may or may not have been pining for some time with my boys. In the sun. In the summer. What was I thinking, endless winter? Yeah, LOTS of people do it. But four months without Ethan and Bodhi and flip flops? Without a trip to the beach anywhere in there? Could I handle it? What if I committed to it and then I was really sad, and the boys were really sad, and...
I think I felt safe with the idea of Portillo because its small, a little tiny isolated community, and I like that idea. I like the idea of being somewhere insular and working hard and training hard. I don't know, I've been thinking about it so much that I had prepared myself for it. When I started thinking about what it would be like to live in Queenstown, I got scared, worried, unsure.
But that's my job, right? I need to get my butt on snow and get to work! Regardless of being scared. Geeze, Kate, for real?
So then I started thinking, what if there's another way to do this? I talked with my good friends who have really been lovely mentors for me, and we talked about other options... traveling just to train, if I can save the money. Or traveling with clients and staying to train. I have three clients who are interested in skiing with me in the South this year, and two more maybes, and the possibility of coaching for a camp. So should I do that?
Should I stay here and head south with those clients? What if they don't materialize? Then will I forfeit my training this summer?
Is all this hemming and hawing keeping me from having a job of ANY kind?
A few days ago, I made a DECISION. And then I got an email and had to rethink that decision. Its all so mutable.
I think because of that, and the injury of my friend, and the fact that I'm broke again, and we are moving out of the Ponds, this beautiful apartment that we can't afford, and back into the tiny cookhouse again, and and and...
The result is that I'm sad, frustrated, and not eating well. I went on a MASSIVE sugar binge (well, not massive like it used to be, I'm still off the Red Bull), but I went the opposite way I was heading. I had a hugely productive, positive three days and then I hit bottom for about three. And I've been climbing out ever since. I did manage, in the midst of all that, to take two long walks, play on the slack line, get some work done and book a bunch of massage, so it could be worse. I know things have shifted to some extent because even though I was feeling rock bottom, I was still productive and still able to make some positive choice.
My point is, it happens. While it was happening, I was watching, and I knew I had some control, but not the kind of control I wanted to have. (This is the subject of another blog post, called Fly Wheel, coming soon!).
And so, using those Flywheel techniques, which are still active, even when things are hard, I slowly started turning things around.
I knocked out another three projects that needed doing that I've been meaning to get done for two years again tonight, I'm getting closer to finishing up other lingering obligations and writing assignments from this year so that I can climb out of this hole and be living in the NOW.
I guess that when you live in a tiny boat, its easy to swamp it, and my financial boat is tiny, tippy and funky. Sometimes, I float along side it because its upside down. But its growing, and I'm getting faster at righting it.
The thing that keeps me sane in all of this is knowing that starting new, with nothing, in a new place takes time. I am kind of looking at myself like a business, it takes three years to break even. Last year, I had to borrow money from my mom. This year, I didn't.
This year, I have more ski clients and more massage clients, next year will be even better if I keep working hard and doing a good job for my clients. I know I can do it. I know I can. Meanwhile, I'm lucky to have picked up some cleaning work, so back to scrubbing floors we go, but hey, its a paycheck while everything else gets sorted out. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Its Hard, Damnit!

Its really hard. I know people do it. I know that I'm “not supposed to write about financial hardship” but I don't think I'm the only one out there who is experiencing this. I want to write it down, because I know I'm going to make it through, but I don't ever want to forget surviving this. I don't want other people who think its too hard to give up.

So I'm going to talk about it. The shoulder seasons are still hard. I'm much better at managing cash flow, but when you are managing between $6 and $120 at any given time, its hard to accumulate enough to pay rent in the shoulder season. I had followed some sage advice and put a portion of my tips away.

That very small egg is gone, to the extra large phone bill that came from splitting my phone and being on my own plan, finally.

My massage business is growing, I just got hired at O2 in Aspen, which is wonderful, that's more massage work. I'm on call for them, so we will see how that goes, it depends on how much work they get, and how they split it with all the massage therapists that they have.

I'm making enough to pay for groceries, which is nice, we aren't living on Ramen right now. The kids are eating healthy, and for that, I'm grateful.

I know that I can get there, I know already that next year will be better than this one, with more clients to work with, rolling over from this year, as that grows, and more massage, as that grows, and possibly some opportunities to work as a trainer, filling in some hours in the tough months of November and February.

I have some articles coming out and some big projects cooking that are really exciting that should help. But all of that is coming, coming coming. Right now, May 9, is the issue. I keep booking massage, which is wonderful. But who knows how long it will last, who knows how much I'll make.

Our house is for sale in Bozeman, which is great, when it sells, I may walk away with enough to pay two months rent in advance. That's the economy! OW!

I don't mind. If we can hang in there, I can clean houses again, I can keep working hard to get more massage work, and hopefully, I'll make it to the southern hemisphere to teach skiing this summer for at least a month.

I'm just looking forward to the day, and its getting closer as I live here longer and get more established slowly, to having more than six bucks in my wallet in April, May, June, September, October and November.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chris Davenport and Neil  Beidleman are climbing Mt. Everest right now, and they had the opportunity to ski the Lhotse face! Here is a great, detailed blog post from Chris about the climb and ski!

Mt Everest “Davenport Dispatch”

“Skiing the Lhotse Face”
May 7, 2011
Everest Basecamp
Namaste and greetings everyone!
We are finally back down in Basecamp after our second rotation on the mountain. We spent six nights at Camp II, which is at 21,400′ and had excellent weather while we were up there acclimatizing. The great thing about Camp II is that you are right up under the Southwest Face and below the Lhotse Face as well, so the views are stunning and you really feel as if you are high on the mountain. While we were there Neal and I had some time to do some skiing, and we took full advantage. While both of us are here as guides for our great client Ephi, we of course brought along our skis “just in case”. Well the mountain gods smiled upon us up there, and we were able to make a descent of the Lhotse Face from just above camp III. This ski descent has only been accomplished a handful of times before, and the conditions that the mountain gave us were truly incredible. If I were to rank it in my lifetime resume of ski descents, it would definitely make the top three, joining perhaps the Messner Couloir on Denali and the East Face of the Matterhorn near the top of the list.
Here we go with the images:
This is what the Lhotse Face looked like during our first rotation up the mountain. The face was basically pure black ice and I never imagined that we would get to ski any part of it. Camp IV at the South Col is just to the left of the Everest- Lhotse Ridge in the image.