Toil Less, Shine More

A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of “creating transformation.”

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So far in the Bloblessness Project the monthly mantras have been really helpful in finding a way to focus tightly on one area of change.  In addition to focus, the mantras have provided a sort of back-up moral support, acting as sideline fans chanting and keeping me going.  There’s a new mantra for this month – Balance – and I also have been holding over last month’s mantra – Reach High.  I keep thinking on that theme each time I start to feel stupid for committing to a triathlon after only ever running one organized race.  I really am reaching high, here, since I never thought I’d be a swimmer.  Or a cyclist.  Or a runner.

Reach High and Balance are inspiring enough, as mantras go.  Reach high was there for me las month as the mouse pointer hovered over the “Register” button for what will be my third race in two months.  And Balance has already been there for me this month as I was contemplating a way to squeeze four 15min blocks of a workout around other social commitments this weekend.  But, for whatever reason, the Reach High and Balance mantras are not as successful in lighting my mid-workout fire the way I so frequently need that fire lit.

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Image via Wikipedia

When I’m just starting the second five-mile lap, gasping and cussing out humidity for being so grossly humid, “Balance” does precious little to push me through.  When I stand up in the middle of the pool somewhere between meter 1400 and forever to sneeze out the 3 cups of water I inhaled trying to rooootate by stroke, my right shoulder and neck already screaming, “Balance” is beyond irrelevant — it’s virtually meaningless!

I’ve heard of people who use the mantra “this is easy,” which I actually like despite it sounding perfectly pompous when uttered aloud.  I also like the yogic teaching to smile when things are difficult.  But neither of these tricks fit quite right into my favorite 4-beat, breathe-in-breathe-out rhythm that I find works best.  Luckily, over the course of the first phase of triathlon training last month I stumbled upon a mantra that really works:


Toil less helps me remember to work smarter not harder, to be efficient in my expending of energy, and most importantly to avoid complaining:

  • “Why is the pool so far away?” 
  • “How can I bike knowing I’ll be working at least ten hours today?” 
  • “How can I drag it out on a run while Sideshow Blob gets to stay to peacefully tucked-in?”

Shine more helps me keep the smile on, keep thinking “Hey this is easy!” and to remain focused on everything (er, ANYthing) that happens to be going right:

  • Dude, you’re wearing a Speedo you bought in high school.
  • Hey you finally figured out the valve system and managed to get your bike tires above 20psi!
  • You made it to every single Running Group!

So, if any of you out there are Reaching High this month, or if your working more on Balance, try to toil a little less and shine a little more.  After all –

This is easy.

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