The Magic of Repetition

I’ve been waking up every morning for two weeks at 6:15. There was only one snafu, and that was on me. I mean, the weekends are also sacred, so those are days off, just because I have time to do my routine later in the day. Back on track.

So I wake up at 6:15. In two weeks I want this to be 5:30. Bracing myself.

When I wake up, I go downstairs, start the coffee, and do stretches. Salutation to the sun. Though I just looked up videos, and apparently Wii Fit did a super modified version of the stretch. I will have to modify going forward.

Either way, at a point you reach for your toes. When I first started, as I breathed out, I could get maybe halfway down my shins. This is what I’d expect.

Today as I went into my third rotation, I touched the floor. I gained an extra eight inches of flexibility after two weeks of doing this. Imagine what will happen now that I’m doing it right! I feel like a putz.

After that I go and write for an hour, give or take. Really it’s 45 minutes. Once I wake up at 5:30 it will be an hour. That or I’ll workout in the morning, then write in the evening. Though then the writing usually gets eaten up by Paragon and I feel horrible.

Anyway! Get into a habit. It’s amazing what very little time in that habit can look like. Sometimes it looks like eight inches. Innuendo intended.

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Performing Rituals

I love rituals. Not religious ones (though I do appreciate a good litany), but life habits.

The human body works best with rituals. The mind knows what is about to happen, and prepares for it. It sets you up for success. My gym routine is a ritual, and like all rituals, you never want to rush. You take your time. Grab two towels going into the locker room. The act of undressing in the locker room is shoes, socks, shirt, pants. Put the swimsuit on. It’s the only part of the ritual I rush. I hang my pants and shirt up.

I go into the shower and let the water cascade over me, then I apply soap, head down, and rinse. Another thirty seconds just to feel nice. Dry with towel #1. Enter the pool area and pick out a lane. Hang my towels and locker key on the same peg every time. No one else uses the pegs right by the pool.

Jump in. Dunk myself underwater. Dip my goggles. Lick my thumb and rub the inside of my left then right lens. Put on my goggles and make sure suction takes (it sucks when the suction isn’t right, and it’s always the right side, a slow leaking which comes burdened with the knowledge of inevitability).

Swim 150m breast stroke. This is three full laps. Walk the lane. Ten seconds right arm across, ten seconds right arm up, turn around, ten seconds left arm across, ten seconds left arm up. Pull up left than right leg to stretch thigh. Against the wall stretch calves then hamstring. Swim 200m breast stroke, stretch again. Swim 200m breast stroke. 50m side stroke because my left arm is puny in comparison to the right. 100m freestyle. Stretch. Hot tub for five to ten minutes, shower, avoid naked old men, get dressed, and get a protein drink. I keep adding to the meters of the routine. I want to be at a thousand, or whatever I can swim in an hour. It takes around 45 minutes to complete the current routine.

This is my ritual, my holy rite of working out which has caused me to get very close to being where I was over a year ago. My gut is finally looking smaller, it jiggles more instead of being firm fat. Good times.

What rituals do you have? Do you take your time and does it frustrate you when they get interrupted?

I Prefer It Black

I changed a great deal while in Guatemala. My heart, my mind, my spirit, my soul, it all changed. But so did my tastes.

The son of the guy who gave us food (I feel guilty, but I don’t remember either of their names) was working for a local coffee farm. He was getting a degree in agricultural engineering, so he would be able to set up sustainable systems for farms in the area and how to make sure there were no food shortages, along with being able to make money on cash crops, such as coffee. Fun fact, at the airport, when leaving, buying coffee before immigration is half the price as buying it after getting all the way through airport security.

Anyway, this guy learning how to better his community by giving them the knowledge of how to grow crops with a sustainable model, brought us some of the coffee from where he’s working. I felt it impolite to not try it, so I added cream, sugar, and put it down the hatch. It was good. It tasted like cream and sugar. The next morning I was tired. The creamer hadn’t arrived yet. The sugar was gone. So I drank it straight. My eyes opened to a new world, a reality which I had never known before: black coffee could taste so good.

I drank a cup in the morning and a cup before bed. When I drank it in the morning, for the first time, it buzzed me. I was jittery, had the shakes, became incredibly hyper. I just wasn’t used to it. I was actually going to bed early, so I was getting around eight hours of sleep every night, and woke up feeling incredible. After that first day, though, it just tasted good. The one before bed was soothing. It was a complete lifestyle change, and I had never been so happy for it. Clockwork. I miss that about being there.

You woke up early, showered, drank your coffee, ate breakfast, drove 45 minutes, worked until noon, ate lunch, played with the kids and reached out to the community, at two do VBS, and by five back at the hotel. Then go for a swim, journal, eat dinner, do devotions and debrief for the day, drink coffee, and go to bed. It was good. It was simple. I loved it. I miss it a great deal. I definitely need a coffee maker for my new apartment, and need to go out and get some quality coffee. I never needed a lot. It was a small Styrofoam cup. But it was enough.

How do you drink coffee? What got you into coffee? If you don’t drink it, do you use something for your pick me up? It’s a bit strange for me, because for a long while I just avoided all caffeine. But this didn’t really have the same effect on me as coffee usually did.