As soon as the walk light flashed orange and told me I had 16 seconds to cross, I sprinted. Well, sprint is relative–I had a 20 pound backpack on. But I hustled, and it was just a reaction. I was feeling good and ready for the physical challenge. I am feeling vital.
A bunch of different stuff happened. Two kids, school, more demanding job, and then I had the heart palpitations. There’s a history there. First started before the birth of my first daughter. Running around buying stuff, getting ready, painting, sanding furniture, a fucking kid on the way–the first one. I was stressed and then boom, pre mature ventricular contractions. I chill out, meditate, they go away. Then next year they happened again. During August allergy season. A few months and they go away. The following year, 2015–they don’t go away.
Now, I’m one to look at things like this when they happen and wonder, WTF am I doing wrong? My heart shouldn’t be doing this. But, I have a family history so I am prone. But, let’s look deeper than that. Through meditation, I come to the conclusion that it is my thought architecture.
Monitoring the metadata of your thoughts
You think, “I have to do this and this and this–how am I going to get it done.” If the metadata of your thoughts is one of fear and concern, you’ll worry about it. This adds to the load placed on your nervous system. Just one more thing to cope with. It’s why my palpitations expressed themselves during allergy season. I was weakened.
But through meditation, I can become aware of the metadata–and then change it. Or not have it, and just be devoid of concern. In any case, somehow meditation helps me be aware of this stuff and see that mostly I am thinking way too many thoughts, I am too distracted by the phone and internet-y things in general.
What’s this urgency about us in the world. How can we be so split and polarized? Only if we’re not fully thinking through the information that is being presented and how it is being presented differently and who watches which particular set of content.
The fucking phone. I hate that shit. I’ve been putting it away lately. Off to the side. You know most people don’t have it more than 15 feet from them all day long. WTF? It’s not the phone though–it’s what we become when we use it. Totally distracted at a moments’ notice. Wast that a beep? I better check my email. Worst thing is endlessly scrolling. Scroll, scroll, scroll.
All extra bullshit cognitive load. FOCUS. Anyway, I realized I had to lessen my information load and focus on particular things and try to avoid letting algorithms decide what I should be looking at.
Endless information consumption gives us the feeling of constantly feeling rushed. The urgency is false, and the phone and technology contributes greatly to it. In any case, we need to pay attention, and you can’t pay attention when you’re continuously distracted by your phone.
Approaching the workout
I’ve had an interesting last five years in terms of training. Two of those years I paid for Steve Maxwell’s training services. I learned a ton. That dude is clearly a master. One main lesson was understanding the capacity of your nervous system. He taught me a bunch and so did reading John Tilden. The key with training is to find the right amount of stimulation. Through a variety of signals, I can determine that well at the workout level and use a simple framework to make it easy at the macro level–weekly and monthly, perhaps yearly.
I’ve been writing a lot about the 5×5 training I’ve been doing (links below) and it’s making a big difference. One thing I am sure to do is train in a circuit. I love doing it this way. Circuits are awesome. Very little wasted time–just time between circuits, which I generally keep to 1 or 2 minutes.
One thing that has kept this interesting is I’m doing exercises like curls, reverse curls, and t-bar rows, which I haven’t done in a really long time. The t-bar row is great. It have been over a decade since I’ve done them. I love that bar shoved in a corner.
The cardio from this program is good, too. Fast-paced moderate to sometimes heavy. Then a finisher. Double cleans are my favorite here.
I really like my job. I think that helps a lot. In the past, this is something I’ve had to work on. But part of that was the thing I was doing didn’t align with what I’m good at and what I enjoy. Now, that mostly aligns. Plus, I’ve learned things from colleagues around the world. Their approach to work is different and seeing that has expanded my view. One thing that it has led me to do is to say, I’m not going to do that right now–it’s too much. You can only focus on so many things and do them well. I think the Europeans do this pretty good. The Asians are hard workers and think things through. They ask a lot of great questions.
Since it is about nerve energy, work can either be a drain on yours or a booster. Part of that is your job but a big part is your attitude towards your job.
When you’re busy, there is a tendency to get tense. I’ve been thinking about this lately as the PVCs I spoke of earlier compelled me to examine every area of my life and whether it affected my heart.
Here, there is no room for anger. The only thing that is required is love. There is no fear in love. In any case, love is expansive. Other things are contracting energy and you feel that in your vitality.
It’s hard to reach out. But it’s really important.
Coming full circle
All that leads back to sprinting to make that walk sign. I’ve been feeling vital. And having the PVCs forced me to look at things in a whole new way–is this helping my PVCs or not?