Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Free throws

When I was a very little girl I loved shooting hoops with my dad and brother on a plastic basketball hoop in the backyard, a hoop that was so close to the ground it wasn't long before my taller brother was able to dunk and games of horse weren't the same.  Eventually my Dad put a hoop in the front yard that was the correct height, and I would spend hours in the front yard.   

I would get so frustrated because I wasn't very good at shooting free throws, so my Dad started helping me.  He told me that a free throw is the easiest shot to make in the game, because it is the same every time.  He would show me videos of the most consistent players and point out that they always held the ball in the same place, they dribbled it the same number of times, they took the same number of breaths.   He told me shooting a free throw was just about doing the same thing over and over, it was practice.    

Looking back at that lesson and all the hours my dad spent teaching me to play basketball, volleyball and softball.  He stressed being consistent, having a ritual, and not allowing the surroundings to interfere with that ritual whether I was walking up to serve at a volleyball game, going up to bat or just stepping onto the court.   It was about being mindful, paying attention to what my body was doing so that I could reproduce the action or make corrections as needed.  

These memories came up last night and today as I really weary.  I no longer wanted to eat my usual meal, honestly I didn't particularly want to eat or do my evening stretches and when I woke up in the morning, I did not want to get out of bed.  I honestly did not want to go to the effort of making my tea, doing two hours of working out, making breakfast and then heading out for the day.  I kind of just wanted some pizza and chocolate.  

Changing my diet has been one of the most difficult things I have done.  I had a ton of leverage, it is worth my health to change my habits and what I eat, but there are times I wish I could grab that piece of pizza from the break room, or nibble on that piece of chocolate samples at the grocery store.  My consistency and persistance are the grace through this condition, the will to get out of bed and taking one more step, one more exercise, one more green smoothie or one more bite.  There is so much unknown about my condition and so much experimentation to still go through, however it is paying attention to my body, being aware of what I am doing that is going to put me in the best position to make those free throws.  

So just like my Dad told that little girl to pay more attention to what I did when I made the shot, than when I missed.  He was reminding me to store the successes in my body, to keep those muscle memories, to focus on being present, to focus on what I was doing and not was happening around me.  I now tell myself to focus on my health, to remind myself that I am slowly storing successes, that I am rebuilding that relationship, and to stop paying so much attention to the noise happening around me.  To accept that my health is worth it, it needs no explanation and there are so many more things that taste good besides pizza and chocolate.  

Question of the day: What rituals do you have through out your day?   What is something that tastes better to you then pizza or chocolate?  Mango has been one of my favorite treats lately, looking forward to being able to eat them again in a week.  

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