Brownness

Making Time

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One of the my habits for a while has been to be in gratitude. It started off simply enough before the pandemic with the 5 Minute journal, but it took on more significance as the days progressed and it became less clear if we would ever return to the normalcy. What took on more urgency for me was to count and collect my blessings as I had so much more than others and even that I realized until I began to take note of it. From expressing gratitude that even if I couldn’t go to the gym, I could run or be held accountable by my crossfit friends asking me as to what I was doing to stay healthy. Or the fact that I still had work, and getting more as I allowed myself to think opportunity and let go of my scarcity feelings.

Yet my greatest strength and blessings were the facts that I had a large family in my bubble. From amazing in laws to my own relatives, I had a bigger list than others to rely on. Over and over, I expressed gratitude that I had options while others had none. Again and again, I could count on meals with various people while so many had to make do with one or a few people.

This past weekend, I acknowledged how far we had come when the family went out to Temecula and got a chance to something outdoors together. I am luckier than so many that I hang out with my loved ones not out of obligation but of desire. It was heartening to see my mom and mother in law toasting each other while my cousins, sister and brother in laws sat and enjoyed food, company and so much laughter. Even in that moment, I sensed of how far we had come. That there was so much light in this darkness, and it was because I chose to look at the pinpoint of light rather than allow darkness to envelope me.

I am blessed, and I know it, and I am grateful. Happy Monday!

Brownness

By The Numbers

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I was a bit hesitant to do this post as I feel it would come off as bragging, but really it was me experimenting on myself to see what I was capable of. It helped to have several accountability groups in various areas and also to share my progress or when I hit snags.

  1. This month I joined the 800 gram challenge with 25 other people at Crossfit box. Eat 800 grams (g) of fruits and/or vegetables, by weight, per day. No foods are eliminated, but only fruits and veggies count toward the 800g. Eat the fruits and veggies of your choice. Raw, cooked, canned, frozen; doesn’t matter! If you can weigh it as a standalone and unprocessed fruit or vegetable, you can count it. Yep, that’s it! Being vegetarian. I thought this would be a breeze, but part of the challenge was to weight my food, and that’s when it hit me that salads don’t weight much, but fruits do. And thus. I began to eat fruits daily not just bananas like I did occasional but apples, oranges, pears, and really anything that caught my eye at the supermarket. It became a bit of a game to buy something I normally didn’t and know that it wouldn’t go to waste. I managed to do 800 grams every day for February. Another unexpected side benefit, my energy levels shot up, and I also managed to lose weight faster than I’d anticipated.
  2. Running: So I never really thought of myself as a runner, but after doing several races and then the LA Marathon last year, I realized that the reason I don’t consider myself a runner is due to my speed, and the fact that I don’t run everyday. Again, crossfit friends came to the rescue. Running is not about doing it daily or length, it’s about consistency, and so I managed to run 50 miles in a month which to the old me would have sounded insane a few years back. So far this year I have run 95 miles out of my 1000 mile goal for 2021 (another insane goal)
  3. I also began tracking my habits as per Atomic Habits book, and I made a list of 15 habits that I wished to know how I was doing. I managed to meditate for 15 minutes every day, read a chapter of a book every day (which allowed me to finish reading 4 books this month), write 100 words every day (which got me to 3500 words on a short story), I exercised daily, mixing it up with Crossfit, running and swimming and only missed one day (Valentines Day, but that’s a very good reason to miss). journal daily which included my morning pages, my clear habit journal as well as my food journal. I also managed to do 10 pushups (minimum) 26 days out of 28, but I am most proud of that everyday I took the opportunity to hug and kiss my wife. It may seem silly to track that, but I realized that it became a form of self-care to know that my partner is by my side even if she didn’t sometimes get my crazy schedule. I also managed to cook 23 days out of 28 which for me is pretty huge. While I only managed to not drink 14 days out of 28, I did stop drinking Mondays through Thursdays which meant I was less groggy, and able to wake up earlier which leads me to my next point.
  4. I began to wake up at 5am on weekdays because I realized that a lot of my self care (reading, writing, meditating, journaling) required quiet time that did not interfere with quality time with loved ones. What worked was not drinking on weekdays, and also habit stacking as outlined in the Atomic habits. Became I woke up early, I meditated, then journaled, then read, then wrote one after another, which made my day already a huge win because even if I got nothing else done, I knew I had done the things that nourished me.
  5. I also signed the most clients this month than ever before, and hit several personal records in weightlifting. So I ended the month with a need to do more, to keep pushing myself, to keep growing and so this month, I am adding acts of service, completing more MasterClasses, diving deeper in study for ADA Access and Immigration legal matters, doing an act of service of some form, and marketing.

It feels crazy to write this post, but I know that unless I don’t acknowledge my wins. I will also focus on the losses and feel like I am not moving forward when in reality, the movement isn’t a sprint, it’s one step at a time. Happy Monday!

Brownness

Pushing Myself

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It’s crazy to me that February is almost at an end. For the past few years, I have felt the years rolling by even with the craziness in the world because I have chosen to focus on the things that I can change which is just me. As I continue to keep challenging myself, it has become a bit of game to see how else can I make myself uncomfortable. This month the challenge has been to east 800 grams of fruits and veggies (part of my Crossfit Gym challenge) which seemed easy since I am a vegetarian until I began weighing my salads and realized I would have to eat monstrous bowls to get to to 800 grams. Moreover, I was eating a lot of fried foods, pastas and potatoes, none of which counted in the challent until I realized that fruits are my friend as well as some beans.

So each morning I began eating fruits not just one but several once I realized an apple, a banana and an orange got me to 400 grams immediately. One of the side effects of eating fruit in the morning was that my energy levels rose as if I was taking a pre-workout and my workouts started to become a bit easier in terms of my stamina and endurance.

Another challenge I took was to write daily. I have longed to write since high school and although I have somewhat been regular in blogging, to me, that’s not the writing that I endeavored to. My best friends gift to me of MasterClass got me engaged with the writing courses and I now know I need to sit in front of the computer daily to write. My goal is simple, write 100 words. I have made the goal so simple that it is hard to argue against it and it also pushes me to get something, anything down. And now at 3000 words, I have the makings of a short story (maybe a novel). It may not even be great writing, but it is still more writing than I have done in over a year.

So I continue on this path of pushing myself because I am my own competition. I am in my own way. I am the obstacle I get to overcome not others or things or life, me. I get to push myself because if I don’t, no one else is going to do it for me.

What will you do to push yourself? Happy Monday!

Brownness

Gratitude and Grace

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The past few weeks after Atomic Habits have been my most productive along with Think Like a Monk and Mastering Mindful Eating giving me essential tips on how to be more efficient and aware of the present. Rather than mindless eating or thinking of what to wear in the morning, I have begun to taste my bites and try to eat slower (key word being try) and also packing up my gym clothes and my work clothes the night before has reduced the rushed feeling I would get as I tried to leave the house in the morning. I am grateful that I am able to access so much information and knowledge and learn from it.

But more than that. I also am working on grace on the days when I cannot get to it all. I get to accept with grace when my to do list is not completed or only half done. I use grace to acknowledge gratitude for how far I have come. It hit me that on Friday I ran one of my fastest average 7 miles and yet I was more annoyed that I didn’t run more and then I took it in. The old me would never have dreamt about running let alone 7 miles. Too often, it’s easier to focus on what didn’t get done rather than what did.

That’s not to say I should always be patting myself on the back. I know that I tend to lean towards some laziness and fear of getting out of my comfort zone. But I also know that if I don’t steep myself in gratitude and grace, I will be constantly unhappy with myself which is not a good space to be in. And so I keep working at thing, keep doing things that scare the crap out of me, do things that bring me joy but most of all I keep focusing on growing and enjoying the journey!

Brownness

Productive or Action

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Last week, I managed to run 17 miles, read 150 pages, connect with my wife on a deeper level, sign 4 new clients. ate 800 grams of fruits and veggies daily, journaled consistently, wrote 500 words of fiction, finished a Master Class, and got to spend time with loved ones. And I say all this not to brag (although I am pretty proud of myself) but to really acknowledge for myself that it’s easy to focus on what I didn’t get done or didn’t do well enough.

After running 7 miles, my first thought was oh god I ran so slow. After I sat down to write, the thought that the story wasn’t that great or that it didn’t make sense. As I journaled, I hated my handwriting and how long it was taking me to write them out.

Over and over, the negative thoughts came and, in the past, I gave credence to them, gave them priority while really not allowing myself to see my progress. And so with the help of Think Like a Monk, Atomic Habits and Mastering Mindful Eating, I give myself grace and acceptance. I applaud my efforts rather than criticize them. I try not to compare or bemoan on what I didn’t get to do or didn’t do as well as I expect.

I acted, and I moved forward and that’s all that matters, and then I get a week like last week where I truly feel superhuman when I look at my activity. So I keep moving, keep acting, keep being productive not for bragging rights but to be a better person for myself and others.

Brownness

Blessed

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As I drove home yesterday from a weekend full of food (lots of it), drinks (even more) and laughter (stomach pain inducing), it hit me how blessed I am for the people that are in my life. My dear friend Raj cooked us not only a feast for three meals, but filled our day with loving conversation and deep insights. It’s gratifying to know that even after almost twenty-five years of friendship, we continue to make each other laugh and have managed to not only keep in touch but deepen our relationship.

One of my greatest joys has been to see my wife get to experience my friendships, not as an outsider, but someone who has own intimate connection with those in my life. I feel blessed that I know so many kind and patient souls who make it a point to not make someone feel like a stranger.

And then the weekend continued with more friends who went above and beyond in their hospitality not only in terms of food and drinks (again) but in connection, communication and ensuring we felt seen and loved.

Two events that lead to me feeling full of blessedness and gratitude that even in times like this, there are people who make life more than bearable. Happy Monday!!!