Chris Remus' Personal Blog

My free-form, unfiltered and unorganized space to reflect and explore.

And when to do neither.

I've learned that sometimes the best way to do the most is by doing nothing. Letting the being inform the doing is a beneficial approach at times.

This means thst rather then pushing or pulling to do more, I slow down, with the intention to do less. It's a lesson meditation taught me.

Doing less to do more sounds counter-intuitive. Yet doing this makes our “doing” time more effective and efficient.

First, we're able to better discern what we should actually be doing in the first place. Then, we're able to acually do the doing more skillfully.

The result is better doing. We do more of what we should be doing and we do it better.

The small investment in doing nothing pays itself back many times over in this way.

...things are going smoothly, you experience a power drop with 666 meters to go.

Let me explain.

I'm a cyclist and I train on Zwift. It's a virtual reality cycling app. You can race with others on it.

This morning I decided to do a beginner's race. Although it's early in the training season, the timing felt right to test myself.

I had ample time to warm-up. I got off to a pretty decent start and my breathing felt regulated.

I was set to finish in the top third of riders. That's better than usual for me.

I was pushing hard with 1500 meters to go, then a little harder with 1000 remaining.

I was feeling good, accomplished and in sync.

Then my avatar's power reading dropped to 0 with 666 meters to go. I was pedaling but my avatar wasn't.

Sh*t, power drop...

The Bluetooth connection between my laptop and trainer failed. I thought I had finally fixed the problem earlier this week, after months of troubleshooting.

I guess I hadn't fully. As a result, other riders who had been far behind me zipped past my immobile avatar.

Rather than shattering my expectations I shifted them. Sh*t happens, I reminded myself.

I exited the race, repaired the connection and rode for another 20 minutes. I felt happy I completed my longest indoor ride of the young season, while also making space for the frustrating I experienced from not finishing the race.

I've had better days than today. After experiencing some initial anxiety about having to take a day off from work to watch our son for the day, I settled into a state of looking forward to it.

I anticipated a fun day with him. Then I started thinking about all the household stuff I could use the day to catch-up on too.

Splitting my attention this way got the morning off to a rocky start. My son and I ended up yelling at each other quite a bit.

Since he's 4.5, it's my responsibility to regulate difficult emotions for both of us at times like this. I didn't do that very skillfully this morning.

Getting out of the apartment and connecting with the world around us helped. We pretty much recovered.

Yet I was feeling tense, due to perceived time pressure and scarcity. My patience level was much lower than I would have liked it to be.

But we managed to have a nice afternoon at the Brooklyn Museum together. We bonded during the nasiin bey (a/k/a Mos Def): Negus installation. He seemed to enjoy all 30 mins of it as much as I did 🙂

Yet my impatience and stress still lingered. The little small things that didn't fall the way I'd prefer them to during the day culminated in my partner having to stay late at work. This resulted in me having to miss a much anticipated and planned for yoga class.

A brief cycling workout helped a bit. So did writing this entry.

It's helpful for me to remember the impermanent nature of all phenomena on days like this. I feel grateful for this belief.

Tomorrow's a new day 🌞

The title comes from a headline I skimmed about the impeachment report. I've been thinking about it from an enlightenment perspective.

Enlightenment can sound like a huge deal, lofty and unobtainable. On the other hand, I've been learning it can be viewed as simply seeing clearly.

Yet while seeing clearly may sound easy in principle, it's quite hard in practice. We, as human beings, suffer from many layers of delusion.

They result from eternal forces like society's always-on “news” machine, to The Dream Pushers screaming for our attention and politicians twisting facts.

Delusion also comes from inside us. We become too “busy” to think clearly. Our ego manifests delusions in the storylines we hold as truths, among other causes.

These delusions are one reason it takes overwhelming evidence to see clearly. It's the hope that the evidence cuts through the cacophonous noise, making it easier to see the obvious more clearly.

I wake about 5:15 am each day. This is the only time I have at home to myself. It sets a grounding foundation for my day. Doing so gives me time to meditate or workout. Sometimes, like this morning, I use the time to write these entries.

I started doing this about 5 years ago. I used to sleep as long as I could each morning. This meant my mornings were a rush to catch-up. I always felt 15-20 minutes late.

It felt like a stressful way to start the day. Today I feel grateful for this morning time.

Waking this early requires me to go to bed around 9:30. In a sense I'm trading late nights for early mornings.

This routine also required me to quit drinking. There's no way I'd be waking up this early had I been drinking the night before.

Good 🌞

I'm writing this at 9:30AM. It's Monday after the Thanksgiving break. I was fortunately able to largely disconnect from Wednesday to Sunday.

Our trip was planned to end today. It was cut short due to a snowstorm.

Every part of my consciousness wants to rush into my daily to-do list. I just finished transferring it from my hand written notebook entry to Todoist, my personal task manager of choice.

Instead, I'm choosing to spend a few minutes writing this post. It's an attempt to slow down the morning rush.

Today it started with waking at 5:10AM. I wanted to get in a quick cycling workout. I rushed through my morning routine to do that.

That rush transitioned to getting ready for work and my son to school. There's a bunch of food prep involved, since I cook daily and bring my own lunch and food to work.

Then it's down to the bike room, load me, my son and his stuff on my bike, and roll us to his school. By this point, I've been feeling the time pressure intensify, pretty much since waking. On the way to school I feel the intensity increase exponentially.

I drop him off then continue rolling to my co-working space. I consciously unload my stuff, including a backpack of provisions.

Because I set the intention early, I pause long enough to write my daily priority list in a notebook. The conscious act of hand writing it helps slow my mind down long enough to help what I know is important to rise to the surface. I then transfer the list to Todoist.

That brings me full circle to the start of this post. I feel like the workday can only begin now, 4+ hours after waking. I feel grateful, though, that at least some of those 4+ hours were also spent setting a grounding foundation for the day 🙏

We had do cut our vacation short. The plan was to.return Monday. Instead we came back yesterday.

A big snowstorm is predicted. It's supposed do make travel today and Monday trecherous.

While my schedule is flexible, my partner's isn't. There was also a small chance we'd lose power. That meant we'd lose water too. While getting snowed-in for a day or two in a mountain house sounded fun on one hand, doing so with a young child didn't feel like the right thing to do.

So I can look at this as disappointing, since the stay was shorter than expected. While I do feel disappointed, I'm trying to take a different approach. We were able to spend 3 days in a place we all feel a connection with. I feel grateful for the experience.

And, we plan to go back 🙂

One reason I strted this blog was to explore a daily writing habit again. I've done this in different ways over the years.

Sometimes it's been online. Most recently it's been in a notebook.

This is my latest experiment. I find daily writing helps release the thought pressure that builds in my consciousness.

It doing so, the habit helps ease the stress caused when that thought pressure builds without a regular outlet.

If you celebrate this holiday, what are your expectations after eating Thanksgiving Dinner?

It seems like most Americans expect to feel sleepy and “stuffed like a turkey”. People are always trying to justify eating Turkey or saying things like “I don't even like turkey (but I eat it anyway)...

Many years ago I shared these expectations.

I feel this is a mirror on the general eating habits and expectations of the average American.

But why?

I bought into this and accepted these same limitations for a long time. It's all I knew.

Thinking this way became the default. It was easy to follow, predictable and well accepted by those around me. I felt crappy after Thanksgiving dinner, jammed up and after I started drinking, hung over.

The drinking made me feel better while eating and helped ease stress I felt because of those around me. Then I felt even worse the next day though.

I feel grateful to have shifted my eating focus. I now focus on how I feel after I eat, instead of while I'm eating. It took a,while to make the shift. It remains a work in progress. I imagine it always will be...

Yet it's that shift that will allow me to not go comatose after today vegetarian dinner. I probably wake up early for a cycling workout, without regretting today's choices.

Quitting drinking helped too. You read more about that here.

I had my first individual Hatha yoga session with a very special teacher today. I felt it would be a beneficial way to try and ease into vacation, among other benefits'

I felt a connection to this teacher after taking my first group class with him. Individial sessions like today allow me to take the practice deeper.

He teaches a classic yoga sequence, as well as the science and spirituality behind it. He gently breaks down the misconceptions about yoga that have Lululemoned-it into something unrecognizable to true yogis.

Postures are held for about 5 minutes each. The emphasis is placed on breath and alignment. Savasana follows each posture.

In a way, I feel grateful to add this instructor to my support system. With him, alongside my Buddhist teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner, I feel the circle is complete for now 🙏