An upside down world

The World Crossfit Games are just three weeks away and it feels like I have been living at my Crossfit gym in North Vancouver to get ready to compete. I’m used to doing 6 workouts a week but for the past month I’ve been doing 10. All the extra training is working and I’m feeling stronger than ever. Every week I have scored new personal records on the various lifts we do. Deadlift, Clean & Jerk, Snatch, Back Squat, everything is going in the right direction.

But with all the extra work and special programming I still had a fear because I hadn’t been able to do a full Handstand Pushup. I feel they will be part of one of the workouts I’ll face at the Games and I have felt the pressure of my failure building.

Everything changed last night. I asked Corey, one of the other coaches and one of our top athletes for help. For half an hour while he held his tiny baby in his arms Corey patiently worked with me. With suggestions, encouragement and by example, while I held Jude, he connected with me on this movement. We all learn in different ways and sometimes it is the fifth or sixth or tenth time something is explained to you that you finally get it. That doesn’t mean the earlier instruction was bad but it just didn’t sink in with you. Last night the light bulb finally turned on and I got my first kipping Handstand Pushup. And then I did two in a row then three, then four. I was elated.

After a very long string of failures on this movement I finally got it. I was doing it and I felt like an enormous weight was removed from my shoulders. Now if this was going to come up at the Games I was confident I could get through the workout.

Tonight in my second workout of the evening I did 24 HSPUs. I got there because someone else was there to support me. That support has been there from the moment I qualified for the Masters division at the Games. Since the Open competition ended I have been riding a wave of support from the people at our gym that has astonished me and warmed my heart. The genuine enthusiasm and belief in my ability to compete with these other athletes from around the world has propelled me forward every workout.

I don’t know how well I will do in L.A. but I do know that I will be heading there as prepared as I can be and that I will do my best. If my best efforts puts me in 20th place, otherwise known as last, I will be fine with that because I will know that I trained hard and went ready to compete. I am hoping that I can improve upon my qualifying 15th place in the standings but simply to make to the Games will forever be a milestone achievement for me.

From my upside down position against the wall tonight I could see the two tattoos I have on my arms. The left arm says Keep Going and the right arm says Be Better. I plan on doing both. No matter what happens I know I got there because of the support and love I’ve received from so many. They are all important to me and for them as well as myself I will continue to train hard until its time to fly to California.

Its coming soon and I’ll be ready.

The capacity for love



There is a capacity inside all of us, which often remains underdeveloped. We know that if we regularly do more pushups then soon the number of pushups we are capable of will grow. If I ride a bike regularly then how far I can ride will increase. But what about our emotions, what about the capacity for love.

As any parent will tell you, the arrival of a child is astonishing at how much you could possibly love someone. You may have been in love with your partner but the child brings you to a new level. When a second child arrives that ability to love grows again.

Relating to your children in this way is easy to understand, even if you don’t have children of your own but have a niece or nephew, the lesson is the same. When we open our hearts and let ourselves love another person we find that we have room for that love in our lives and through it we grow. I believe we grow into better people.

Unfortunately we have a society that equates love with only romantic relationships or family members. You can enjoy lots of friendships but the L word is largely kept in reserve for only special occasions.  I refuse to believe that. I don’t want to put restrictions on my capacity for love and for expressing those feelings. There are a lot of wonderful people in my life who I love and I want to be able to share how I feel with them. There are people whose friendship has grown to be so important to me that inside of my heart I know that I love them. If you can remove all of the romantic packaging that has been marketed at us with regards to love and see that there is actually a pure emotion at the centre of it, then you can discover that hidden capacity inside yourself.

With each realization of love existing in your life you have the opportunity to do something about it and in the process feel your spirit expand. The wonderful beauty of this concept is there is no limit on how far you can grow.

I’m not saying that by wanting to feel this emotional growth you should proclaim your love to everyone you know. There are still going to be people you like who are your friends but may not resonate with you to the degree that you feel that next level of caring for them. That is as it should be. Blindly telling every person you know you love them diminishes that real love you may feel for those important people in your life.

Love is special, love is beautiful, and it exists already between you and many of the people in your life. All that is missing is your willingness to express it. I know this may sound so simple but I do know otherwise. Crossing the threshold and being ready to say I love you without any expectations or conditions isn’t easy. It likely goes against much of the way you were brought up and how you have grown into the friendships you have.

It is a raw moment to tell someone that you love them but it is nothing to fear. Better to fear the constriction inside of you when you suppress those feelings and settle for less than honesty.

I don’t want to confine myself in a world of muted colours and dull emotions. I want to express myself vibrantly. I want to tell the people who matter to me how important they are, how much I care about them. I know that I have the capacity to increase the love in my life and be a better person for it.

The itty bitty shitty committee



I love it when I learn something new. All too often I feel like I’m forgetting things I once knew, those hard earned lessons or well phrased bits of advice that seem to slip away through lack of use.

I was talking after a workout recently with some people in the gym. The topic came up about self-doubt and how you can undermine your success by letting negative thoughts creep in to your head when you are attempting something difficult. My friend Sue-Ann described those nagging doubts and worries that come into your head, as the ‘itty bitty shitty committee’, those negative thoughts that undermine your positive attitude. She said sometimes you have to get a new chairman for the committee and fire the old one so you can get on with things.

I love this description and like so many things that you can have explained to you in different ways, it is just hearing it in the way that makes sense for you to finally have a concept sink in.

There is no denying the itty bitty shitty committee or whatever you want to call it because we all have it. Some think of it as a fear of failure, I think of more of a fear of success. When you challenge yourself to go beyond what you think you are capable and are successful it opens up a lot of other doors. Now you have to look at other things you have failed to do or never even tried because you thought there was no way you could possibly do such a thing. Suddenly your recent success shines a light on other things you’ve avoided and now have to consider because if you can achieve one goal then maybe there are other goals you can achieve as well.

I’m going to be ready to fire that committee next time their negative attitudes threaten my confidence. First sign of trouble from that group is going to result in a new leader being appointed who will encourage me to try.

At the end of the day all any of us can do is try and do your very best.