Mastering the Basics

All I Ready Needed to Know…

I am sure that more than a few of us remember the poem, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  That was it.  These were the foundational lessons for being a decent human being.  There was nothing in there about being able to rattle off Pi to 100 places or using proper grammar.  All we need to know did not mean the intricacies of a 500-pound deadlift or a bodyweight snatch.

As I have stated numerous times in this little blog space of mine, life and lifting, lifting and life.  It is about the basics.  But the basics are boring.  The basics are taken for granted.

We outgrow the basics…

…but we should not.  We need to rest in the basics of life and lifting.  Move well, then move heavy.  Treat people well, then work on the heavy issues surrounding the world.  Treat yourself like you matter, then treat others like you treat yourself.  It is part of the growth process and when we get off track, overwhelmed, beaten up…return to all we really need to know.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play
and work every day some.

I have two amazing daughters and at some point every day, I have to re-explain one of these basics of life.

Why do I have to take a nap?
Why do I have to hold your hand to cross the street?
I don’t want to say I’m sorry…

The list could go on and on.

And then you enter the gym and the basics draw the moans and groans.  Why are you breaking down the squat again

Why are you breaking down the squat again?
I know where my elbows go for a press.
Can’t I go heavier?
Run…speak English

And yet our growth only comes through mastery of the basics.  We only get better performing the “pretty” lifts when our basics are solid.

Life always returns us to the basics…because life is not meant to be hard.  It is not meant to be something we are constantly fighting against, but something we should all be able to embrace as individuals and as a society.  Let’s all hold hands crossing the street today.  Let’s take a nap…let’s open our eyes and see the simple things that aren’t sexy but are beautiful.

Play, look around, be amazed…squat perfect, move perfect…breathe…exhale…basics!

Safe Spaces and Changing our Approach

Little Surprises

Over the past two days, I have found these little notes floating around the house.  My daughters have been leaving them for my wife and me.  We find them in the car, on the mirror, in our favorite chair, or in our garage gym.  They have been excited for us to find them and they are constantly telling us to cover our eyes so they can “hide” another one.
hearts of encouragementAnd there is a part of me that says this parenting thing is working out.  They are noticing all that their mother and I do to try and provide for them.  They see all that we are trying to do to set a good example.

But maybe we can learn something from them too.   Maybe we have a few lessons to learn from the girls that are six and three…

Lessons from Little Ones…

They are teaching us all that maybe we should not spend all of our time looking for reasons to hate.  Maybe, just maybe, in this day and age of we should start with finding what we like about each other.  These little girls are walking through the days looking for reasons to love us and each other.  Then they are sharing that.  The notes will eventually disappear, but the lesson does not have to.  None of these notes say thanks for taking me on this trip or thanks for buying me stuff.  They say thanks for the kisses, thanks for trying hard, thanks for taking me to your office…thanks for macaroni and cheese.

The world needs a few more thank you notes.  The times we are living in need a few more reminders that people are good.  And we, as human beings, need to take the time to see the good things before we decide that we are excellent judges of character.

Changing the World

If we are ever going to see a true and lasting change in our country and our world, we need more notes showing the world that we embrace the good.  We have to start changing things so safe spaces are not merely places where people who think, act, and look the same gather.  Safe spaces have to be spaces where our wounds can be exposed, our differences embraced and there is no rejection because we see the world through a different lens.

We need to take those lenses off, pass them to the left and right and see what solutions we come up with together.  I see the struggle and fight within you…and I embrace it.  Real lasting solutions when we start putting up a little note of encouragement for the very person we struggle to embrace the most.

Just like my girls do not sway my opinion of their bedtime because they throw a fit, yelling, screaming, stomping feet…we are not going to get anywhere setting that example as adults.  It is time to see the example that others are setting, see the obstacles they have overcome, acknowledge that through it all they are still standing, fighting, struggling to get through…and deep down, they probably want some encouragement just as much as we do.