Finding the Why.

“He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.” – Nietzsche

Have you’ve ever looked at something and decided you absolutely had to have it? That your happiness absolutely depended upon having it and that suddenly you’re living a life of depravity as a result of not owning it?

Take a moment and read the first few chapters of Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It will cure you of these feelings of depravity and uncertainty.

Because chances are if you are reading this you have access to the internet and therefor a computer and electricity and heat and a pair of shoes and so forth. I think sometimes we get so caught up in what we want, our consumption of things and goals and in my case, the awesome gear and clothes we use and wear when working to reach those goals, that we forget how much we actually already have. I do anyway, or did. Until I started reading Viktor’s book today.

Man’s Search for Meaning has more than 12 million copies in print worldwide since first being published in 1946. The Library of Congress thinks it belongs on a list of the ’10 Most Influential Books in the United States.’ When asked to reflect on the bestseller status of his book, Viktor wrote that he did not see the book’s success as “…an achievement or accomplishment on my part but rather an expression of the misery of our time…”

Where have I been that I am only just now discovering such a powerful read? I’m hooked. It’s one of those books that checks you at the gate, strips you down and invites you to finally see what’s most important for you minus all the noise and baggage. A welcomed reprieve. I’ve been looking for this. I’m over way stimulated. Electronically, specifically. I’m completely addicted to my iPhone. It is the source for everything in my life; social interaction, news, booking the next vacation, even, sadly, my primary source for feeling connected to those around me. It’s my boyfriend, best friend and big sister and mom and dad all at the same time. And it’s an electronic device. I find this so sad. That ‘connected’ feeling does not last very long and it is all actually not even real.

Since I’m on hiatus from CrossFit this blog is now heretofore about the general day to day. Digressing.

Below are some things I’ve learned since going back to work but still not being able to CrossFit and therefor having more time to do ‘other’ things:

  1. More time to read. This is glorious. As a result of the Writing Workshop I’ve learned of some new titles that inspire me to don the reading glasses for hours on end. Here’s a sampling: Another Bullshit Night In Suck City, by Nick Flynn, Drinking, A Love Story, by Caroline Knapp, Duke of Deception by Geoffrey Wolff.
  2. I spend too much money. Doing your taxes forces you to think about money. The money you earn and the money you keep. I’m terrible at money. I spend way too much. In redoing my budget (in doing a budget) it appears I spend the majority of my money on groceries and clothes and CrossFit (membership, entrance fees, spandex). It’s interesting, but I’m only 36 pages into Viktor’s book and I feel like a complete glutton – all my paleo speak and grassfed meats and throwing away all the non-paleo groceries in your kitchen as some strict paleo cook book advises – Leaves me feeling spoiled. Granted there’s genuine truth especially in reference to our modern food chain, but stressing about whether or not to add cream in my coffee seems pretty minute when not too long ago an entire race of people were sustaining on a 10.5oz piece of bread per day if not less. ‘…we could watch our bodies beginning to devour themselves,’ Viktor writes. The horror of the holocaust is not the point of Viktor’s book, nor is it the point of this post. The point of this post is that I’ve been inspired to do more with less. Specifically, to see if I can make it till the end of April with what I already have, not with what I want to have or plan to have by purchasing it. That’s it. Just till the end of April. And then beyond.
  3. If you want something done ask a busy person. Not sure who said this but it’s true. Two weeks off from work and I was not very productive. True, I was recovering and at times in pain and hopped up on some pretty decent drugs… man. Alas, I was not very productive. I had all these grandiose visions of reading and writing and insightful pensive moments while looking out the window. But mostly what I did was sleep and watch a lot of really bad TV. And sleep some more. If anything it gave me a welcomed respite to do such things only to reaffirm the knowing that doing such things full time would thankfully not be for me. Since going back to work I’ve been more fruitful with my time: taking time to sit down and read, followed by writing, also switched out the winter clothes, gave the dog a bath, and oh look, put a new budget in place.
  4. Speaking of budgets – I’ve lowered my grocery budget by 25%, which means I have $34 to spend on groceries from now until May 1. I’ve challenged myself to eat what’s in the cupboards and the freezer and the fridge and only spend on the essentials. That’s $34 for approximately the next 13 days. That’s almost $3 per day! This does not include my coffee shop budget which is currently $20 per month, of which I have $17 remaining. These funds can be intermingled but the total amount spent cannot exceed $51. $20 a month for coffee shops may seem like a lot to you but I love my coffee. Coffee is one of the very few indulgences still acceptable in all its frothy whipped steamy goodness for just about any time of day. This fits in nicely with my Intermittent Fasting post surgery approach. Since engaging IF and a 4 hour feed window I’ve lost 5lbs. and still feel relatively lean, focused and in control. Determined. I’m basically drinking water all day and then coming home and eating a healthy protein with lots of greens along with some healthy fats and a couple slices of cheese. My body is reacting well.

I’m inching closer to discovering the Why.

More on Viktor’s book tomorrow.

You just have to ask.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe
Rain may fall, and wind may blow
And many miles be still to go
But under a tall tree will I lie
And let the clouds go sailing by” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

It has been 9 days since surgery. 5 days since going off the pain meds. While I did not go to any bottle as so eloquently phrased above by Tolken, his poem speaks to me and paints a familiar picture.

I am in a time out from everything in my life. I’m under a tall tree and watching the clouds go sailing by. My tree is my living room the ground my couch, the clouds and rain and wind blow by outside my window. Oliver my sole companion.

I like watching the wind move through the pines and the sway of time as it passes through. There’s a certain peace in a forced time out, it’s taking an afternoon nap without any guilt, free to wake at your leisure with no where to go knowing even before you close your eyes there’s no task left undone waiting for you when you wake.

You are simply free to be.

It’s a rare opportunity in life to experience such respite. You’ve been sidelined and all the world including you are simply okay with this fact. You relax into its soft truth.

Some notes from Day 9 of Respite:

  1. Time goes by incredibly fast – one minute I was setting the alarm for a 6am surgery, the next in recovery sipping ginger-ale, the next home in bed. The next, updating my blog with 8 days in the rear view.
  2. Time goes by incredibly fast – it deserves repeating because it freaking does. It’s, um, incredible. Even when you don’t have any where to go or anything to do the clock still ticks the same. Meh, the clock says to you.
  3. The people in your life are incredibly generous. If you let them be. They are generous with their time and their hearts and their patience. You just have to ask. It’s not always easy to ask for help when you do CrossFit six plus days per week and are used to doing everything your self and your way and consider it a personal challenge to leave no grocery bag behind on the first and only trip from the car to the house. But the reality of knowing you will be out of commish for a bit, including a giant German Shepherd that needs tending, leads to letting down the tough gal act and asking for help. Hard to do. But when you do…what happens? You wake up with an army at your door, bringing you seltzer and peanut butter and picking up bags of dog food and taking out your trash and the recycling and throwing in a load of laundry and sitting next to you and just being with you and taking time out of their lives (lives that did not go on hiatus and are still busily poking away just outside the door) to watch a couple episodes of Law and Order SVU with you and then ask one more time if you need anything before they go. Blessed.
  4. The dog will still want you to throw the ball even if you are temporarily unable to do so.
  5. Sleep is a beautiful thing.
  6. I miss my CrossFit community. I do check in on Facebook during the day, but try not to do so too much. I don’t want to be a Lurker. When I do check the news feed it does leave me feeling a little sad and admittedly left out. Loser-ville. Population, One. Ugh. I hate admitting that but truth is I miss our colorful sweaty community and the fun and connecting and high-fiving and ongoing challenge to do good.
  7. I’m grateful for the time out. I’m grateful for the opportunity to sit on the sidelines. Yes, to let my body heal but also to just take a break. From everything. Ive been reading a lot more on the CF Games competitors and apparently there is a high rate of burn out. At first this was surprising to me but then not so much. CrossFit is intense. In every way. It pushes everything to the extreme, the body and the mind and the central nervous system and all things firing within and around you. It’s impossible to keep up that intensity all the time. Perhaps one of the things I’m learning during this hiatus is that it doesn’t have to be all intense all the time. Sometimes it is okay to just go in and hit a WOD to get a workout. What? I know, cray cray. But think about it – sometimes you just need some exercise, you know, for the sake of exercise. Granted you’re in your element with your peeps and we challenge one another but it’s not all about PR’s and pushing to max load and effort, sometimes it can be about just doing and active recovery and getting your body moving and generating an accelerated heart beat and some sweat. Maybe others understand this but I’m only just processing it now, CrossFit can be just a workout and that is okay. CrossFit does not always have to be all or nothing.
  8. I do not want to gain weight. While I am not able to CrossFit for the next five weeks I am determined to stay healthy. How? With my diet. No cheat days, no BS. None of those little sneaks here and there because I know I have a killer WOD waiting for me at the end of the day. Nope. There’s no where to hide. It’s just me and the food in my kitchen and the choices I make and the way my clothes fit and the next five weeks. Game on. The Plan – to Intermittent Fast with a short 4 – 6 hour feeding window. This basically translates to coffee in the morning, water all day, one substantial healthy meal for dinner which will include a farm raised protein and lots of veggies. Minimal fruits, minimal nuts. That is all. You can argue for or against my IF feeding plan, but over time and experimenting with many schools of thought, this is ultimately what works best for me. Personally I do believe as a society we are way overfed. We eat way too much too frequently every day.
  9. It’s time for bed. Once again it’s before 9pm and I’m headed to bed. As my lovely friend Mia stated in her last text to me yesterday at 8:27pm before she too was getting ready to call it a day; ‘Hey, at least it’s dark outside.. that makes it okay. Right? Nighty Nite.’
  10. Nighty Nite to you.


Some really interesting information of the business of Intermittent Fasting. Fasting is hard, but you put your mind to it, like anything. I just finished a 24+ hour fast on Monday after getting home from a birthday celebration, having indulged in a few pigs in a blanket and other non-primal libations that shall remain nameless.

I fasted from Sunday night, 10pm bedtime, until Tuesday morning’s first cup of coffee. The jury is probably still out on whether you should break a fast with a cup of coffee, but oh it tasted fabulous. Not sure how you operate when your diet goes off course. I find it exponentially difficult to right the ship back to healthy as I gain momentum in an unhealthy direction.

The Monday fast was a decisive, no-negotiating, rationalization-proof, means to take back control. It worked. Thinking for the next week, I’ll go even more strict, with the Zone diet (which can be prickly with its measuring and counting), and IF. Will most likely go IF Warrior Diet style, of the two options found most appealing:


(16-hour fast/8-hour feed)

This brand of fasting is based on an 8-hour feeding period followed by a 16-hour fast. However, it also layers a few other food rules on top. The diet should be high in protein, should cycle carbohydrates, should include fasted training, and should use nutrient timing (eating the bulk of your calories during the post-exercise period). On this plan, you fast from, say, 9 PM on Monday night until 1 PM on Tuesday afternoon. If you’re going to exercise, you’d do so just before 1 PM on Tuesday, with 10 g BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) during training. After training, you eat 2-3 meals before 9 PM, with your biggest meal coming right after exercise. The fast begins again on Tuesday evening until Wednesday at 1 PM, and repeats every day.

Warrior Diet

(20-hour fast/4-hour feed)

On this plan, you would either fast, or eat very small amounts of specifically recommended foods, for the first 20 hours of each day, working out during this period of under eating. Then, you would eat the majority of your daily intake within a 4-hour over feeding window. After that 4-hour over feeding period, you would repeat the under eating/fasting for the next 20 hours. Generally, most people place their 4-hour over feeding window at the end of the day, as it’s more convenient for family dinners and after-work training sessions. However, modifications can be made based on individual and scheduling differences.