Just Riding Along

I went for a ride outside today, alone. I had a couple of essentials to pick up: some 1/4″ elastic from a neighbor, drop off a package at USPS, stop by the vet to pick up some antibiotics for Moonli and lastly, a stop at JoAnn Fabric’s for some home made masks I’m making for health care providers.

At the top of the hill near my house on a two lane road with no shoulder, a dually pick up truck had stopped, blocking traffic on the opposite side of the road. As I came upon him, he rolled his window down and blatantly flipped me off, not making eye contact and smirking to the passenger next to him.

His message was received loud and clear – though I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was riding alone. I was in my neighborhood. And yet he felt compelled to let me know that I should shove it.

The ironic thing is that I was headed to get supplies to make masks for health care workers and help.

Our country is still very much broken. Since some parts of the country, even within our state have shutter in place rules and others don’t, it sends a mixed message to everyone of what’s okay and what isn’t. I read a professional cyclist in Belgium was assaulted by a man in a van when he rode by and then was beat up.

Sure we all have a range of emotions when processing our ever changing world right now. And some feel more anger and aggression than others, and can take that out on others. Be safe, friends. I’m beginning to fear for my fellow Americans more than the virus itself.

Stepping Into the Unknown

Working from home and being self motivated isn’t new to me. I’ve been self-employed for over 10 years and really enjoy working at my own pace. Yet lately, it seems like there are so many distractions that I find it hard to focus. It’s hard to not check the latest on the virus, to see what economists are predicting for the future, to see what my friends and family are up to on social media and how they’re coping with things, to listen to podcasts on the subject… it’s everywhere.

And yet I find myself planning for the future… and for the first time in over a decade, I applied for a full time job. In an office. Or at least, a virtual office. Gulp. Yet in order to keep a roof over our head and to keep us sleeping at night, it’s what feels right now. Alright Universe, let’s do this.

Many of us are stepping into the unknown and are unsure of what the future holds. So rather than hoping that things will get better, it’s time to step it up and take action.

Constructive Media Plea

Do you ever wake up early in the morning, thinking about all of the amazing, thought provoking things that you want to share with the world only to fall back to sleep and then POOF! They’re gone?

Me neither!

Ha! I tease.

I thought of some responses to what we’re dealing with right now. Some ways to mitigate the pain, loss and suffering. Some ways to combat the grief we all feel for having to change our habits in countless ways… and yep, they’re gone.

I do have a proposal though. Or rather, it’s a challenge for the media at large. Instead of focusing on the statistics, and theories and instilling fear and hysteria in the public at large, what if you focused on the positive. What if you started thanking communities who are adhering to the new social distancing recommendations? What if you shared actual stories about people who are dealing with the realities of what’s going on right now? What if you made this pandemic more human? What if you figured out the silver lining in what’s going on in the world around us to instill a culture of hope and resiliency?

Something I’m reading right now: “Deadliest Enemies.” It’s so thought provoking and informative about pandemic diseases.

Social Distancing

I love this tweet: “Turns out I’ve been self quarantining all these years.”

And the reason I love it? I feel the same way. If I can do all my grocery shopping and not have to go the supermarket or run errands – I can get so much MORE done in a day! There are so many books to read, so many delicious meals to make, a ukulele to learn out to play, puzzles to solve, certifications to obtain, learning to prioritize, yoga to do and teach. The list goes on and on.

So that’s how my COVID19 social distancing practice is going. How’s yours?

Staying Sane

My mom’s side of the family is from the Hawaiian Islands and I grew up on the mainland, in Eugene, Oregon. I LOVED visiting my grandmother – she was a Kama’aina and lived in Nu’uanu, about 10 minutes from downtown Honolulu. If you’ve ever watched Magnum, p.i. and remember the intro scene with the red Ferrari driving up a beautiful road – that was the road my grandmother lived on.

Anyway, as a kid we would take trips to visit with my grandmother for months at a time and we’d inevitably get bored. Although she lived in Hawaii, her house was smack in the middle of a rain forest and it was always damp and wet. Sure we’d get to go the beach everyday but what about the other hours of the day? Cleverly, my Gammy took us down to Liberty Center and introduced me to the ukulele. Let’s be clear – no one in my family has an ounce of music history in their background, or at least that I know of. Yet I was determined and shy to play it so once I got home with my new prized possession, I climbed up on the rock wall that faces the street and started strumming it constantly. Bruce Springsteen,  It brought a sense of joy and comfort and after a 25 year hiatus, it’s time to dust that little instrument off and start playing it again.

My goal: Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

It’s going to be pretty ugly at first, but with practice it’ll get better. Maybe I’ll get brave enough to share my journey. 🙂

And the strange get stranger

In addition to the pandemic we all face from COVID19, we also face some serious mental health issues. Hoarding, obsessing, denial, the list is long right now. Even several people in my cycling community are not taking the social distancing seriously. They’re riding 8-20 in a pack of people, under the presumption that they’re outside and they’ll be okay.

What happens when it’s cold and your nose starts to run? What happens if you brush up against someone else and that snot gets transferred? And now what we’re learning is that someone can have COVID19 without showing any symptoms, making this virus nearly impossible to contain.

Here’s a link to a post by an Italian who is about 15 days ahead of the US as far as impact is. Their medical system is overwhelmed and health care providers are having to make war time like decisions on who lives and who dies. This is really happening people.

My husband has been in Canada for the past 10 days, coaching a group of young cyclists and in a bubble. When shit hit the fan last Wednesday, I urged him to get those kids on a plane. The other coaches weren’t concerned. They decided to stay. Then their competition was canceled. Then the venue was closed. Each day that passes new closures are announced, our way of living changes, people hoard things because they feel like they can control what’s going on around them by doing so. I find myself obsessively cleaning things and then cooking making sure nothing goes to waste.

Ben comes home tomorrow and it can’t come soon enough. I head to the airport to pick him up in our van and already warned him about wiping everything down with disinfectant, insisting that he strip down when he walks in the door so we can laundry everything, trying to prevent any un-welcomed germs in our house, our safe place. Is that even possible?

He told me he was worried about my mental health today by the lists I created online. So I stopped checking media, I took a well needed break today. And then tonight I looked and more devastating news continues to come in from new sources. I’m worried for my mom in the heart of Seattle, I’m worried for my brother who is a type one diabetic and his teenage kids who insist on having friends over, potentially exposing them all to the virus. I’m worried for all of the unnecessary deaths that are soon to become a reality.

The sooner we accept this new reality, the sooner we as a group can work together and combat this virus and save loved ones, save health providers from having to choose whose lives are worth more than someone else’s.

Please people, please stay home and take this social distancing seriously.

 

Coping with Coronavirus Realities

Written by Jennifer Sharp

Everyday life is evolving into something different. For some this creates anger, others anxiety and yet others creativity and opportunity. It’s interesting to see how varied people’s reactions are to this change. My experience with death and grief in 2008 provided a new perspective and an understanding that everyone processes things differently. Hopefully you can witness as others cope differently and do so without  judgement, or labeling, shame or blaming and instead practice a little more compassion toward our fellow humans.

This is kind of stressful!

Part of my coping strategy is to take my strength and apply it to helping others. Being an ear to listen, reassuring a panicked neighbor, friend or family member, focusing on the basics of empathy and focusing on what we can do vs. what we can’t. Inspiring others to be their best selves in the face of adversity.

Because even as an optimist – I sense things are going to continue to change. We’re facing more school closures, canceled events, rising infection numbers and more.  Do you want to be left clinging onto the way things were or accepting the new realities we face and embracing them in order to survive?

As a strong pitta type (take a quiz to find out what your dosha is here), dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and the potential threat of being on self-or state/government regulated lockdown made me immediately start creating lists: shopping lists, things to do during social distancing, books to read, people to reach out to, writing and blogging, etc. The world needs more pitta’s right now to plan for the future. One’s that take the 30,000 foot view and figure out how to problem solve and make the most of the world around us. Actually, the world needs all of us right now. The Vitas, Pittas and Kaphas all play a part in balancing one another out.

If you’re feeling hopeless and want to contribute in some way to the happiness and well being of others, see what you can do virtually to connect with others. All of us are  craving connection and feeling listened to right now as we voice our fears, anger, denial, bargaining, acceptance and hope.

Yes, life as we know it is different. So rather than dwell on what you can’t do and now have to work around – let’s focus on what we can do as we navigate these unchartered territories.

PS – Here’s my first stab at doing something to help others…. only a pitta would come up with a home cook solution to how to make delicious meals at home using a few staples. (Find my list here.)

Keep looking, don’t settle.

I’ve pondered a lot of questions lately.

What am I doing in life? Am I really aligned with what I want to be doing? How can I contribute greater good to the society and my community at large? 

These questions have left me with pen in hand, ink slightly drying on paper as I struggle to find answers. I feel like my notebook is full with half answers, that I’m on the cusp of discovering what is is I’m supposed to do in life. I’m left wondering if what I’m doing is just settling (and I know it is, just by the feeling in my gut). And the more I fill my journal with words and thoughts, I start to see a common theme emerging.

What is that theme?

That I love to write. That I’ve been honing and practicing this craft for a while now and I have found my voice. I enjoy describing perspectives that come from interactions, community and observing others. We all have something to teach and I love the process of exploring what makes other people tick and then sharing my discoveries with others.

This weekend I met a guy who works at Burning Man. He had a spark in his eye and an aura about him that was undeniable. He sat with Benjamin and I for several minutes and described his involvement – as a groundskeeper and grid cultivator. He described Burning Man boiled down to his own perspective: to ultimately help others. BM allows action to take place and those involved become engrained in the process. You don’t just sit and watch – you take part. I wanted to know more. I wanted to ask him a million questions. But we were at a party and he had a fire to tend to.

That conversation sparked something within me. I’ve started jotting down my curiosities, the questions that float around in my mind as I pedal for miles and miles on Boulder County’s back roads. I use my phone to record my questions and then revisit them later to research answers. I’m no longer stuck in the loop I was before, one that had no end as those questions would float in and out of my consciousness. Now I capture them, give them life on paper and then followup. What I decide to do with that information then becomes a choice – share the knowledge, file it away for recall at another time or discard it.

I looked up Burning Man this morning. It’s a gathering that has grown from a handful of people when it first started to 70,000 people strong worldwide. It gathers a group or people, focused on 10 core principles and creates a sense of community, exploration, creativity and networking.

I’ve also been reading “Die Empty” by Todd Henry. It urges does to do. To stop settling, and start moving. To take action and live and work as if today is all you have. And if you do, then you’ll be able to lie your head down each night satisfied with your work and in the end, you’ll die empty of regret but full of satisfaction for a life well lived.

Shed Those Extra Holiday Pounds

The holidays are here and so are those pesky extra pounds that sneak up and grab hold, not wanting to let go. We try to limit our caloric intake and try in vein to avoid eggnogs, sweets, calorie dense meals but it’s impossible. And when you’re celebrating togetherness with friends and family and sharing meals – you should indulge!

Here’s a tip on how to avoid the holiday hoarding: get in a workout before breakfast. Hop on the rollers, hit up the gym, go for a walk. Anything to elevate your heart rate. Prime that engine baby so you start with a stoked metabolism.

Eat something before you connect with friends! Know you’ve got a crazy cheese concoction from your great aunt Connie you can’t say no to? If you show up with a half full belly – you won’t need to eat as much! It’ll make everybody happy.

Exercise with your family and friends! Start a new tradition by walking around the block, taking the dog for a walk and spending time outdoors before you dine.

Once January 1 comes around, you’ll have a head start on getting rid of any extra poundage.

Continuing Education

Spent 8 hours in the conference room today at USA Cycling at the Level 1 Coaching Clinic in Colorado Springs. Lots of amazing content on different aspects of professional coaching including: what is coaching? Thinking critically, sports psychology considerations, applying science and group collaboration. One nugget of wisdom that stayed with me – because coaching is constantly evolving, what are you doing to improve your game as a coach?

I love being around other coaches. We are all in the business of helping people improve. And I’m really intrigued by the business of helping coaches become better coaches. First and foremost though, it’s important to look in the mirror. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Where can you enter into intentional practice to step up your game? What mentors and other programs can you look at to build your foundation upon?