#117: Finding grace in the balanced life; how sweet the sound…..truly Amazing

This week wrapped up my 3 week January self-investment blitz – where I had the normal hectic pace of my week coupled with a really intense weekend – back to back to back.  The blitz part wasn’t 100% planned, it just worked out that way. Normally, my weekends are filled with “Dadding” – which takes about as much time, but doesn’t require the same focus and attention as the past 3 weekends.  In the grand scheme, it was a rewarding, but exhausting way to invest in each of the key areas: body + mind + soul + spirit.  

Editorial comment –  For those unfamiliar with the sport of “Dadding” – much like duathlon, it involves three phases, but only two sports (chauffeuring, spectating [often on bleachers], chauffeuring).  If horse racing is the Sport of Kings, “dadding” is the sport of jugglers (or court-jesters at times).

BODY: The “body” portion is usually not a problem for me, but with the compressed weekend, it makes for a LONG session on Sunday, which is a bit ahead of schedule.  Today?  3.5 hours on the bike trainer – another “butt buster” – but what a great workout.  This week followed the last couple – strong on Monday & Tuesday and then trailing off as the week progressed.  I wiggled a short but intense run in on Wed (my normal off day), but Thursday (meetings) and Friday (spirit/soul) training was usurped. 

MIND: Three weeks ago I was in class, two weeks ago I went out to Salt Lake City, UT for a meeting of professionals from my field…..so mind featured prominently over the last 3 weeks.

SOUL/SPIRIT:  The World Health Organization defines health as:  

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity

Even though I know this, and in general, subscribe to a similar definition, like most, the “social well-being” (which to me includes soul/spirit) is an area of health I probably don’t put enough energy into.  However for the second year in a row, I decided to attend a weekend long immersion/meeting (of sorts) with a group of guys from my area – some I knew, some I didn’t – to invest a bit more.  It involved some story telling and some searching, both internally (soul) and externally (spirit), plenty of socializing and (too much) good food.  I found it to be a rewarding enough experience last year [thought-provoking, inspiring, etc] to give it a go again this year. 

The good news is, like the professional sessions the two weekends before, this session left me both charged up and run-down – if that’s possible.  It was intense and draining from the perspective of pure rest/recovery, but super moving otherwise……which is where the Amazing Grace reference came in.  

As I walked in to eat, someone had put on Pandora and a bagpipe version of the song “Amazing Grace” was playing.  For me, this is a really moving song, done by a really moving instrument.  Some of it’s meaning is in reference to my maternal grandmother who’s name was Grace – she was awesome; but also because it’s an amazingly powerful song about something not everyone believes in, but something we could all use a dose of now and again (a big dose for me please).  It’s often played at the funerals of soldiers and other badass warriors.  

I smiled a little bit and thought of my “Grammy”.  And then today, as I got on the bike trainer ready for my 3+ hour tour, I thought about that moment and decided to pick “bagpipe radio”.  Wouldn’t you know it – same song.  I laughed a little, but figured, how many bagpipe songs could pandora really have?  I proceeded with my workout and after each hour, changed to a different pandora station.  At the end of the 3 hours (with only 20 minutes to go) I switched back to bagpipe radio.  I did my 20 minutes and decided that I’d try to slog through another 10 minutes to get to 3:30 even…..at exactly 3 hours and 30 minutes, I clicked my watch and slowed to a stop…….at that very moment, a different version of Amazing Grace came on.

I had a friend tell me yesterday “There are no coincidences” – maybe he was right.

The next several weeks will be an intense focus on the “body” portion……and although I don’t expect to be on the trainer for 1000 years, I’ll still take some amazing grace if anyone has some extra they want to part with……or at least some wisdom & courage.

Here’s to a balanced approach,

Mike E.

ps – if you want a to hear an awesome version – check out this one.