How to effortlessly find the motivation to take action especially when it is hard, uncomfortable or unpleasant

Photo by @helloimnik via unsplash

Photo by @helloimnik via unsplash

A few weeks ago, to my surprise, my spirit urged me to start a running training program.

I’ve never been much of a fan of running. It can be pretty punishing on the body, boring and create a lot of discomfort mostly of the mental kind, where you want to quit because it feels hard but you keep pushing yourself to keep going, unless of course you do quit because you don’t win the mental battle and either walk, go home and/or never go for a run again.

Why running?

Well I’m not a fan of the gym, and while I love boxing (I trained in boxing for many years and was even going to try some amateur bouts until I sprained my ankle then suffered hip and back problems for a couple of years) I’m not feeling the call to go back to boxing right now.

My main goal is to move my body, get fit and feel good. My secondary goal is to work up to running 5 kilometres, just because it feels good to have to something to aim towards that will extend myself.

So I googled and found a simple training program that combines walking and running that builds up to only running over a number of weeks so that I can ease into it, build up strength and stamina and reduce the risk of injury by going too hard too soon.

It’s not been the best time of year to start training here in Melbourne. It’s winter. They days are short and cold, sometimes windy, and we’ve had a lot of rain. So you know what’s coming next….

Common excuses not to take action

Being winter gives me at least 4 reasons not to go outside and run:

  • It’s too dark.

  • It’s too cold.

  • It’s too wet.

  • It might rain.

 The other excuses I can come up with include:

  • I’m still sore from the last run.

  • I’m too tired.

  • It’s too hard.

  • I’ll go tomorrow.

My favourite and most consistent excuse is:

I don’t feel like it.

As humans, we’re pretty wired for comfort and safety. I think it’s a rare person who wakes up and says to them self…

“Gee I feel like getting out of my comfort zone today!”

Well at least I don’t wake up thinking that or saying to myself that I really feel like going for a run, although maybe one day I will. 

So far, three weeks into my training I haven’t missed a training session and I’ve managed pretty easily not to give into my excuses and allow them to stop me and this is why…

My secret motivation booster…

Last year, my teacher/coach introduced me to Kundalini meditation and yoga by prescribing some short meditative practices to help with anger and negativity, heart protection and self-love.  I’ve tried different styles of yoga over the years but never clicked with them the way I clicked with Kundalini yoga. I felt completely different after the first short 3-minute practice I was given.  Since then, I’ve been practicing almost every day.

One of the things that I love about the kundalini practice is that often there is time allowed to sit, breathe, notice the body and it’s energy and integrate the medicine of the practice. The energy in and around my body may feel different depending on the practice but there are usually very delicious feelings to feel.

I’ve transferred this practice of awareness and integration into my running training.

When I arrive home from a run, I sit for a few minutes and feel the energy that is around my body. Yes, my legs or feet or knees might feel a bit sore or achy, but the energy in and around my body feels light, vibrant, alive, vital, joyful and sometimes blissful.

It is by paying attention to how I feel after I’ve done the hard work i.e. the fruits of my labour that motivates me to go back and run again, to put myself through discomfort.

The running might be hard at times but the more I do it, the more I start to experience pockets of joy as I run. The more I pay attention to how I feel after running, the more I want to go back and do it again.

Bask in the goodness. Soak in all the delicious sensations.

Photo by Melissa Askew

Photo by Melissa Askew

It’s that simple. And it’s something we can apply to almost any difficult task we have to accomplish whether it be a university assignment, cleaning up a very messy house, making a difficult phone call we’ve been putting off.

Try it…

So I offer you this short practice to try:

  1. Drift back in time and remember something you accomplished that felt good to accomplish.

  2. Remember how you felt.

  3. Notice where the feeling is located in your body and what the sensations are like. It might not be in your body but just around your body in your energy field or aura.

  4. Name the feelings or sensations.

  5. Bask in the feeling and sensations.

Doing this will effortlessly build your motivation to take action because…

  1. You will more deeply map the feeling to your body and energy system.

  2. The next time you have to do something hard or uncomfortable, your body will remember the good feelings .

  3. Those good feelings will help you move through the uncomfortable part.

  4. It will become easier to take action and consistent action towards your goals because those good feelings are going to pull you towards them.

Try it and let me know how you go.

Oh and if you’re one of those people who does wake up in the morning looking forward to getting out of their comfort zone, I’d love to hear from you too. Let me in on your secret.

 With love and courage,

Kym xx

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PS This is me on my way back home from a run, rugged up for the cold and rain jacket on because it was possibly going to rain but it didn’t…


Autumn blessings

Image by Timothy Eberly

Image by Timothy Eberly

 

Blessed Autumn,
you break open my heart
with your brazen beauty.

You ripple across this land
in shades of red, orange, 
amber, yellow and tan
until you fade
into the darkness 
of winter’s waiting arms.

You offer your bounty,
and I drink it all in
until I am satiated in bliss.

I could die right now
and feel content with my life.

Absorbed in the fullness
of this moment 
I know nothing I’ve strived for
truly matters, 
but everything I’ve surrendered to
has been richer in meaning
then anything earned.

Swallow me whole
and if you must spit me out
transform me into the golden light
of the end of days.

Witnessed by many or none
it does not matter,
my purpose will still be complete.

On the other side of excuses

I’m back from Italy, which was a beautiful, delicious, love-filled, insightful, and at times challenging pilgrimage to my husband’s hometown.

The long flights back to Melbourne via Singapore were easy, but the jet lag is not.  It’s only 5pm on Monday and I’m ready for bed.

It’s also the day I post on my blog and I have a lot of good reasons (excuses) not to post: I’m so jet lagged. My brain is foggy. I can’t think clearly. I don’t know what to write about. I don’t feel like it.

But I also made a commitment to myself and to you to show up every week even when I don’t feel like it.

My heart is urging me to show up and just be here with all the scrambled messiness, the unknowing, the resistance, the imperfection and to offer what I can in this moment.

Our minds can justify, rationalise and explain anything but this can hold us back from what our hearts truly want.

Don’t let it hold you back. Listen to your heart. On the other side of the reasons (excuses) is the life that is waiting for you, the one you truly want to live.

With love and courage,

Kym xx

In the water I am free

In the water I am free

"Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it" — Lao Tzu

35 degrees Celsius in the middle of March. The pool beckons.

Facing forward, I climb down the ladder into the warm water that wraps around me like a welcoming silk kimono—
so soothing to my skin.

I hold my breath and slip beneath the surface.
Pulling the water down past my torso as I kick myself forward—
I fly.
In the water, I am free.

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Whilst dreaming of what the future might hold, the places you could go, the things you might see, the things you will do.
Remember, this moment matters.

On the pavement, a grasshopper sits so still as if death has descended. A too close inspection determines it is actually still hopping full of life.

Whilst planning how you might bring those dreams to fruition, what steps you will take and by when you will take them.
Remember, this moment matters.

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Ten times a day something happens to me like this - some strengthening throb of amazement - some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness. — Mary Oliver

Learning to pay attention to the world around me saved my spirit from withering and dying.

A few years ago while I was still in Thailand, I discovered a mindful writing practice called 'Small Stones'—a short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully engaged moment. It's about keeping your eyes open for beauty, simple or extraordinary, then observing it and writing it exactly as you saw it and by doing so developing a deeper engagement with the world around you.

It was this practice that helped me to transition back to city, corporate life amidst the glass and concrete without suffocating after living my carefree gypsy scuba-diving lifestyle in a tropical paradise. It was this practice that helped me to discover the beauty in everyday suburban and city life. It was this practice that connected me to the world around me in a very simple yet deep and magical way.

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“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It's just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.” — Paulo Coelho

 

Every night as the sun sinks below the horizon out of sight, the cicadas praise in chorus, whilst on the periphery life rumbles past in all its rushing normality.

In this moment, that I stop and pay attention to the seeming end of yet another day, I create a sacred space in time, filled with wonder, filled with the essence of holy.

This is my practice — everyday.

I stop and sink deeply into the now with my eyes and heart open. I allow its beauty, its realness, its lights, its newness to infiltrate my bones and root me in the present moment.

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