April started with the sweetest Surprise from family friends The Seljestad’s. Travelling on Spring Break through Washington I got a call early on Tuesday (which I missed due to digital detox) and a voicemail from Dave that said, “We’re driving through the Gorge and headed your way! Hope you’re home!”
From the Wasatch mountains in Utah, the entire Seljestad clan has never seen the Oregon Farm that my Father so proudly talked about, “I’m gonna take care of that place and turn it around,” he used to say.
I just so happened to have cleared my schedule two weeks prior to the Seljestad’s arrival for a new Active Recovery study I was conducting for my involvement in the Flow Genome Project’s 2019 Certification Course. I’d recognized that I’d been living a little too “left brain” (fast, furious, non-stop “BUSY”) for the last year and learned how Active Recovery can help bring one into balance for further states of Flow.
Flow is where we feel our best and perform our best.
In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time. –Wikipedia
Check out my blog from 2015 about #GettingInFlow, another deeper dive in 2017 Further Explorations on the Impact of Flow & Ecstasis, and 2018’s Transforming Fear into Faith and then FLOW.
I’d found a bit of flow through the grief process in 2013 three years after my Dad had passed as I really started digesting the impact of his absence in this world. Talk about Grief 101. Everything had changed. And so had I. But at the time, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what those changes were.
I first started feeling flow (and recognizing it) when I stopped “trying to be strong”, pushing through my old life of continuing everything I was doing before my Dad’s death, and really really really just letting myself sit down, open up and FEEL.
The way I routed through these feelings was through writing. I’d always been a “writer” on the side. Through high school and college enjoying creative writing classes. Then after college becoming a newspaper reporter. And throughout the last several years contributing articles to several different publications.
But this time instead of just writing from the sidelines, I felt like I was letting myself sit down in the middle of the field of my broken open heart. Letting anything that arose come out and then diving again into and through the wonders of a healing imagination.
The Seljestad’s arrived to the farm on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. Dave, Jen, Samsoni and Grace with their pups Princess and Sam. I fired up my Dad’s old truck that used to get driven around Salt Lake City, Utah and led the entire clan down to the riverside where Quartz is abundant and healing prevails.
We tromped around the river rocks together. Imagining sunny days, swimming in the water and that contagious deep laugh of my father’s echoing in the air around us. The Seljestad’s spent the night in Seaside and the next day we met in Cannon Beach to see the gems of a small town still beating with the pulse of an unmistakable resilient Spirit. We stopped in at B. Boutique, walked by the old Cookie Company, and got taffy at Bruce’s Candy Kitchen.
Grey clouds and misty air had joined us for most of the day, but once we hit the beach to look at “that magnificent rock” the sky parted to show us some blue and shine a little light at the very tippy top of Haystack.
We finished our visit at Ye Olde Driftwood Restaurant. Ok, that’s not really the name, but it’s still fun to call it that anyway. As if we’re trapsing around some older version of a deeply rooted English Countryside town.
The Memorial – 4/11/10
Days after the Sejestad’s left April 11 came barreling through. It’s been nine years since Dad passed. Honestly, I’m not trying to re-hash the passing of my Father. Yes, it’s been a long time. A lot of years. And really I thought the day might breeze by without any welling grief surprises as I noticed a year prior that “I don’t have ‘the grief’ anymore”. Some sort of peace had come over me. Not happiness, just peace for the whole situation. Perhaps a bit of acceptance and surrender.
Mom and I went to breakfast at the Lazy Susan. Not on purpose to honor the day together. Moreso it was just the date that worked for both of our schedules. We found ourselves in the place where a young love connected and created me! She put this picture on the table as a few tears floated down my cheeks, “I thought this might be the day. Remember him like this.” She. Knew. <3
And though I tried to honor the day as subtly as I could, something just didn’t quite ‘feel right’ a few weeks later. This time I didn’t scramble. I’d learned the famous Pema Chodrön quote: “It’s ok to not feel ok.” So, I let myself be ok with the grief churning again. Reaching out to friends for support, sharing some tears with other’s low moments, and standing side by side with my mom and step-dad who’ve both lost their Father’s too, I found myself not alone in the grief, but TOGETHER.
H A W A I I
Towards the end of April Gretchen and I had our first relaxation vacation booked in over two years. Our life had just wound up so fast, slowing down together got put on the back burner. As life goes the week leading up to our departure was filled with a sick puppy, a couple breakdowns, and more demands getting put onto our schedules.
With Aloha in our Hearts we made the trek to the islands just fine.
It took the first two to three days to let our systems “unwind” from the hectic pace we’d gotten accustomed to. Sun, a warm breeze, and open free afternoons left me with a feeling of “What am I gonna do?” It was uncomfortable at first. I wanted to work. I wanted to have a task. And instead I let myself feel the desire, the need to fill the open space with ‘something’, knowing it was not the intention to re-fill the openness, and let it pass.
Maui brought us closer together. What’s next in our lives? We can’t keep going at this pace. Things are happening too fast. We need to dial this in a bit. And so we did finding a zone of peace for both of us. That space where deep breathing becomes easier and natural, where an open day doesn’t need to be filled, and where we each could hear the whispers of our own Hearts again.
“What about marriage?” G said during sunset, “We could do it right here! Right now!”
“That would be pretty cool,” a mature voice said in the moment.
I trembled a bit on the inside. Is this what I really want? What does this mean? I’ve never thought about getting married. We can’t get married!!! I screamed to the heavens above as a teenager locked out of society’s “right way”.
There there, ‘Hello Fear’ I said, soothing those internal trembles. (Thanks Rach BF! <3)
Neither of us dreamed of being married or what our wedding day as little girls might look like.
But, What if…?
What if I started dreaming NOW?
In the land of aqua blue waters, rainbow flags and deep indigenous heritage… ALOHA breathed itself into our Hearts. The seashell horns sounding at sunset!…
I Love You. Thank You. I’m Sorry. I Forgive You.
“Yes. Yes and let’s do it Our Way…” I said.
We found our rings in Paia. Koa wood, a tree native to the islands, coming home on each ring finger to symbolize Aloha, Respect, Commitment, Sovereignty, Love and our Remembrance of being involved in the Co-Creation of our life.
We can do this.
We were happy and joyful as the Maui sun set over Lanai on May 5th, 2019… “We’re engaged!” I said to a woman who took our photo. “You BEAUTIFUL humans,” she said back.
Walking around during the last half of our vacation with an engagement ring on felt like HOME. I’m home, I thought…
The buzzing in my chest harmonized with the synchronizing waves coming ashore. Whoosh.
Flow Genome Project 2019 Certification Course Graduation!
“That’s incredible and I can too.” -Jame Wheal
The Flow Genome Project Certification Course started in February 2019 at 1440 Multiversity amidst the Redwoods of California just outside of Santa Cruz! To read more about that adventure check out Quarter One 2019: Living In FLOW.
What a whirlwind routing through several months of intense work, learning new tools for human development and peak performance, how to utilize them, making new friends, co-creating, self-authorship and connecting to others!
My Capstone Project into Active Recovery brought me to a different place of peace within my pursuit to become a great coach, to provide value to clients that will actually help them transform and feel sustainably better, and to continue my own creative pursuits through writing and discovery.
This study focused on increasing our feelings and measurements of health, wellness and fitness through investing more of our focus into Rest and Recovery through an already laid out Fitness and Nutrition training plan.
The Active Recovery study developed beneficial gains for several clients and myself through boosting personalized practices for health and well-being purposes.
I learned several key points during the four week experiment.
Active Recovery is an activity that provides exponential gains long after the activity is over: Reading, Writing, Meditation, Hiking, Creating Music, etc.
Passive Recovery is something more like laying on the couch all of Sunday watching Netflix because you’re so tired from everything you’ve done the week before. It might ‘feel good’ in the moment, but barely gets you level set and prepared to be rolling again come Monday morning.
(*Inspiration Source: Jamie Wheal – Flow Fundamentals)
How can we traverse the path from Passive Recovery into Active Recovery?
It’s a process. A very personalized process unique to the individual. One small step at a time. I’ve been working on turning this dial in my very own life for YEARS.
WHY would we want to BOOST Active Recovery in our Lives?
Active Recovery helps us actually engage more in our lives while feeling better and optimistic throughout the process. While also helping us boost our adaptability levels. Which in turn breeds more self compassion and compassion for others AND shoot, it’s FUN!!! You mean telling me getting a weekly 100 minute massage will help me be MORE productive in my life and feel better through my days? Yes. And I’m IN!!!
What does this mean for you, ahem or me, and possibly us?
Active Recovery is another peace to the puzzle for well-being in our lives. Let’s be honest. Overwhelm and anxiety are at an all time cultural high. And that means we are looking for quick fixes or routes to soothe these anxieties because the notifications, the pings, the things that need to be done, are ALWAYS coming at us. The lists never end.
What can we do about it?
I believe that grounding ourselves through some very sustainable, basic practices can help us traverse through the coming times. Yep, this means better uses of fitness, more practical approaches to nutrition, looping in breathwork, stretching/yoga, diving into meditation, carving out time for creativity and fun, being spontaneous, doing service work. These things are SO IMPORTANT. And, they are Pro-Active approaches to ‘the shit hitting the fan’. Because Lez B Honest again, the shit will always hit the fan. Life never goes according to plan and our ability to adapt in the moment (resiliency) can be one of our most precious and vital resources.
How do we begin Actively Recovering?
By taking stock of our lives. Do you feel like you’re always slamming on the gas and slamming on the brakes? If you’ve found yourself in this zone (yep been there, so uncomfortable… and not the kind of ‘Get comfortable with being uncomfortable’ sort). . .
Start shifting the gears if you can. Small steps. Take a walk outside. Breathe for five minutes in your day (no, you don’t need to close your eyes or call it meditation), sit down at a table to eat a meal, talk to a friend or family member in person, read instead of watching Netflix. Just start wherever you are. Start giving yourself the goods.
Something as simple as a daily walk has been adopted by several well known peak performers of our time, Albert Einstein, Paulo Coelho… Me… Haha, ok, scratch that last one for now. 😉
I’ve been personally utilizing the practicies of Active Recovery for years! Burnout from Intense Functional Fitness workouts and injuries led me down the rabbit trail of how I could heal, and recover, without continually hitting the wall, and literally landing face up staring at the ceiling flat on my back. I learned a lot about surrender in those moments, because a few times all I could do on those days was BREATHE. But now I see how the story has helped weave me here.
We don’t gotta break to recover. We don’t need to fall to sit down. We don’t need to drown to be saved. We can literally live our lives in a way that contributes to our own well being and the lives of others.
At most, I hope you all can just start adding a bit more of the fun stuff into your life without feeling guilty about it. Taking care of yourself before your body cries for the care.
And maybe I’m just preaching to the choir here, because I sure as shit would’ve LOVED to have known some of this in my twenties. So, there’s that.
Facebook is funny. It’s like that necessary little brother that you always wanted but are annoyed to have. I’m not looking at you! Quit pinging meeeeee!!! I’m turning you off!!! Ugh… Ok, I’ll look.
A few days before Father’s Day this post popped up from an old friend.
In a round about way saying ‘Always Remember How You Got Here and Be Grateful’…
Cue. The. Tears.
For some reason, I think that being able to make it through a death anniversary or a Father’s Day WITHOUT crying will mark the healing, or the end of grief, or just that the sadness won’t hurt so fu***** bad anymore!
But alas, I hold that tremble as long as I can… And then, as my good buddy Daniel says, “I lay my armour down.”
At first I feel weak and uncomfortable, these tears, so raw, so open, why do I have to keep doing this? Feeling the broken open heart again and again… As if fighting the grief or overcoming the grief marks some great achievement.
There’s. No. Such. Thing.
Like the ebb and the flow.
Intertwined with all we know.
I can’t guarantee that I’m always going to be open to the grief. Sometimes my body just unconsciously freezes. But now, these days, I take stock of the moments, frozen with fear, and morso perhaps compassionately patient with love.
I suppose, at the end of the day it all depends on how we look at it…
P R I D E
G and I found ourselves in Astoria for the Fourth Annual Pride Parade! It was SO FUN to see so many familiar, local faces and friends celebrating this day together. The North Coast has come a long way. <3
For the L O V E of it A L L
Here’s the thing. I LOVE writing! I love sharing how I traverse the path in my very own life. It’s like a constant discovery and integration of what I’ve learned, how I choose to utilize these lessons and engage in conversation with others.
So. Much. Fun.
We move. We share. We learn. We’re better for it. #Connection
But here’s the other part. I know that NOTHING that I say or tell you about really has any merit at all. None of this matters for you in your life. None of this will make it’s way into your very own heart, not really, not until you move of your very own accord.
We can read this stuff. We can cheer each other on. But at the end of the day, our real lessons, our real accomplishments come, when we are walking and taking action on our very own path. And whose to say what your path looks like or needs? One only knows.
Here’s what I do know. I deeply enjoy reading books where authors share about their journeys. How they moved. What they learned. And how that changed or possibly transformed how they made the next move forward. These types of sage experience books, articles, accounts of life are just a wealth of actual knowledge that can be embraced and embodied. If we want to!
That’s the cool part. Our will and our willingness does impact how our path is charted. Maybe there are intersections of our lives that were always meant to happen. And maybe we can’t necessarily change “fate”… But HOW we get there… How we travel the path… With joy… with discouragement… with compassion… with frustration… with kindness… and quite possibly a little less destruction… Is all up to us!
How we travel is the engagement of our very own destiny. And when we start moving with destiny, as a feeling of perhaps let’s call it joy and aliveness, even where I feel and perform my best, whose to say that this kind of movement doesn’t alter “fate”… Who’s to say?
I’ve seen enough miracles in my life to know that each day I continue to walk the walk and talk the talk… Even something as simple as drinking a glass of water upon waking first thing in the morning for months on end… I start moving with a different essence, a different vibration (oooh yep! said it vibration! and FREQUENCY! and LOVE!) we become that which we seek.
Maybe I am not the healer or the healed… maybe I just am. And maybe, just maybe, this time I am enough.
Flow Genome Project; Flow Fundamentals. Jamie Wheal, Executive Director, 2019.