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The human mind works in patterns – what are your patterns in your training & racing?

The human mind remembers patterns. This means that if you are practicing doing things a certain way or seeing things a certain way your mind will create that pattern as a habit. Your mind creates that pattern and it makes a sort of imprint that lingers for a little while. So, if you are practicing self doubt then your mind will become good at that pattern and will look for the pattern of self doubt. If you are practicing seeing yourself as not good at something then it will record as a pattern. If you are practicing finding issues then you will become good at finding issues in your training sessions and races. On the flip side, if you are practicing seeing yourself as strong then this pattern will be recorded in your mind. If you are practicing allowing your body to perform then it will continue to use this pattern.

This is important in your athletic journey because the patterns you create in your mind have a direct effect on your experience and progress in your journey. Just imagine if you could practice the patterns that are needed for you to have deep self belief or become excellent at areas you are developing in. This changes your journey.

Scientists have proven that even on a daily basis we set the patterns in our brains. So those patterns that you are practicing over and over in your training and your racing are most certainly creating habitual patterns in your mind. The very first thing to do for yourself is become aware of what you are actually practicing! Then you identify what you need to practice and create positive patterns in.

The science: In a study done at Harvard Medical school scientists found that the mind can quickly create patterns that are held for a pretty long period of time. For example, in this study scientists tested people by having them play Tetris for hours each day for three days. They found that very quickly the people in the study were basically seeing their lives in the shapes of the Tetris game. There are stories of subjects entering the grocery store and having a strong need to re-arrange the stacking to fit better. And others who were calculating if they re-arranged the skyline as they are walking down the street, it would fit together better. This is now officially called the Tetris affect. It’s actually a physical process in the brain called “Cognitive afterimage”. Our brains work in patterns and repetition creates that pattern.

The important question now is what kinds of patterns do you want to create for yourself within your athletic journey. There are so many excellent ways to use this knowledge to truly boost your success and experience in your athletic journey, however, let’s start with some simple ones.

  • Creating the the patterns of seeing yourself as very strong
  • Creating the patterns of seeing yourself actively doing something you want to become good at. For example if you want to be a good sprinter on the bike then seeing yourself sprinting strong is important. **I have excellent visualizations for this just message me.
  • Practicing self belief vs. self doubt. Speak to yourself in the positive because your brain will record that pattern. When it records the pattern of seeing the positive it will then automatically look for the positives.
  • In the big picture what kinds of patterns are you practicing? Are you practicing finding problems or finding the reasons why you won’t accomplish your dreams and goals or are you practicing finding the reasons why you will accomplish your dreams and goals. Yes I know this is a big one but it’s a pattern and it makes a significant difference in your journey. These patterns that you are practicing on a daily basis have a direct impact on your journey.

Action Steps: Write notes on exactly which patterns you would like to create for yourself. Be very specific! Which areas are you working towards developing in as well as your bigger picture patterns too.

* Further reference scientific study * Tetris Effect – Stickgold R. Malia, A., Maguire, D., Roddenberry, D., & O’Connor, M. (2000) Replaying the game: Hypnagogic images in normals and amnesics, science, 290, 350-353

Also mentioned in the book: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

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Our Primal Connection To Endurance Sports

In our modern society we are missing a great many stimulants, lessons, experiences & wisdom that comes directly from living on the earth and with nature. One of these is the actual movement of our body to accomplish something meaningful. For example we used to run in order to hunt or run away from danger. We used to run or ride and sometimes fight in order to protect ourselves and our family. And day to day living involved a lot more use of movement and muscle. Movement has been an important part of daily life as a human on this earth since the beginning of our human existence. We have lived for tens of thousands of years moving our body outside on this earth and in nature. The time we have spent inside during modern age is but a tiny fraction of the percentage that we as human beings have been alive.

It is ingrained in our human DNA to move in nature. We are actually built to live, thrive and move in nature. Our bodies function best when we are closest to the earth and move. In our modern western culture we spend most of our day inside at work or school or in our homes. This is a dramatic change from our hunter gatherer ancestors who thrived outside moving their bodies with freedom and purpose.

If you feel the calling to participate in endurance sports then you are essentially feeling the pull to connect back to a primal experience. It’s like an awareness of something missing. That something is moving your body with purpose and strength outside in nature. This is such a powerful concept to understand as it helps you to better explore the why in your athletic journey. You can see it as DNA or ancient ancestry knowing or, you can view it as part of our human evolution that our human bodies do not want to loose. It’s truly part of our hard wiring as we have spent centuries outside pushing our bodies in movement. You are simply connecting back to your primal knowing by doing your endurance sport.

When you view your athletic journey as a reconnecting to your primal self it can help you understand part of your why in pursuing your journey. It’s easy to get caught up in other reasons you are drawn to endurance sports that are focused on current events or strictly ego oriented like racing or to win. This comes into play when you explore our primal need for competition as the warrior, which is very natural. However, right now we are talking about the first level of primal need which is to move and push your body.

As you explore the pull you feel to experience your endurance sport, you are truly connecting back to your primal senses and needs to push your body. This is awesome! It’s awesome because it shows you that you have accessed an intuitive awareness within yourself that you should be moving and pushing your body. Most people in our modern world have lost that primal memory. But YOU have it and that is why you are pursuing your personal athletic journey. You are a positive contribution to our world by listening to your primal senses and pursuing your personal journey in endurance sports. The more that you listen to your primal senses the more you will feel your true primal strength.

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Listen to the messages in your dreams

“Listen to your dreams that come to you when you are sleeping as they will point you in the right direction for your soul.

_Kirsten

Your sleeping dreams are a direct line to your consciousness. It’s very useful to acknowledge and understand the dreams that give you strong feelings as it gives you information on what is really rising inside of you.

About fifteen years ago I had a vivid dream that I was running through a beautiful field barefoot. I was running so fast with great ease and grace. I felt extraordinarily free. When I woke up I had a strong draw to explore the message that was just given to me in my dream. Within 24 hours I was physically exploring barefoot running. I took it up right away and felt a tramendious connection and healing right away. My feet were actually on the earth and it became more and more obvious to me that this was a healing process for me. It felt natural as if it was something I had been doing for my whole life. I even ran running races completely barefoot as well as trail running too.

There might have been something in my deep ancestral remembering that my body was picking up that we walked barefoot and felt the earth. Or there may have been a deep call for me to begin reconnecting to our earth for my health, healing and upcoming journey in moving my body. Or it could be a combination of many wonderful things that we don’t fully understand in our modern western society of domestication.

Walking barefoot directly on the earth has been proven to activate healing processes in our body. The production of serotonin increases when you have your hands or bare feet in soil for 15 minutes or more. I believe that the why is far deeper than our current science studies can detect as of yet. We are meant to touch the earth so much more than we do now in our modern life.

This dream kick started a deep and important time of my athletic journey as a personal sacred journey a spiritual journey of sorts in endurance sports. Endurance sports (triathlon) is now my vehicle to explore and grow as a human and my human experience. I no longer do my run training barefoot as I transitioned to shoes at a time that felt right for me. However, that experience stays with me as the beginning of a beautiful and important chapter for me.

Action Steps

The dreams that come to you when you are sleeping are important. Listen to them and follow the light to answer your soul’s calling. Write down the dreams that make you feel bliss. When writing about your bliss dreams describe the feeling first then describe what you were doing. When it comes to dream interpretation it’s important to first identify the feeling that the dreams gives you because that is your light. People in your dreams represent feeling not usually the actual people. Focus on the feeling you are receiving towards your bliss.

Follow your dreams to answer the call of your soul.

+ walk barefoot on the earth whenever possible

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Breathwork Exercise

Action Steps

Do this simple breathwork exercise in the morning and the evening. Even just a few breaths will sooth your adrenal system and bring down your cortisol levels. It’s a physiological trigger for your body to bring down stress levels.

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It’s Like Getting a Big Hug From Mother Nature

Re-wilding is a fundamental part of my personal journey in life and triathlon. Connecting back to our primal relationship with the earth, nature and the elements is such a crucial piece of re-wilding back to self and connecting back to our soul. When we make this re-connection we are unlocking large potential in our body. By connecting back with nature we connect back to ourselves as living breathing beings.

This October sunrise swim is the kind of experience that brings me deep back into that primal relationship of being home in nature. It’s an amazing re-wilding experience because it combines the primal rhythm of the sunrise with the full envelopment of pure nature. This creates a grounding experience that has a direct effect on your body, mind and soul which in turn helps to unlock your primal potential.

I believe that our modern western society has disconnected us as humans from our relationship with the outside and nature. This disconnection is detrimental to us in so many ways including physically, emotionally and spiritually. When you spend even a little more time building your relationship with nature you are re-setting your primal balance and nourishing your body, mind and soul. As athletes, we are working on tapping into our primal being because when we do we are activating more strength and power from our body.

Connect with your wild world of nature. Even walking in a garden or looking up at clouds or listening to birds will all help to re-calibrate your being. Science has proven that nature lowers your cortisol levels and brings emotional healing. It also helps to activate your primal strengths and calm mind which works best for ultimate training and performance. Step into the natural world every day for a dose of healing and re balancing to the heartbeat of Mother Earth.

Where can you add a little extra outside time every day.

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Don’t Let Your Beliefs Limit You (video)

Your beliefs can create expansion or limitations. Be aware of how they can limit you and hold you back from creating your new possible. What you believe about yourself is by definition a limitation, because……YOU are so much more and so much more extraordinary than you think.

For example, if you believe you are capable of achieving a certain speed or time this can actually be a limitation. Even if that speed or time is more than what you have achieved in the past. Because WHAT IF you are actually capable of more than that specific number that you have in your head.

Another way to look at it is if you feel you are capable of something then that’s awesome but what if you are capable of even more and the numbers that you have in your head are actually holding you back. The best way to move into allowing your body to create more is to open up your energy and space to even more possibility. To let go of limiting beliefs, judgement and expectations and step into the energy of allowing so much more to be possible.

Action Step

Awareness is the first step. Identify where you are telling yourself stories about what you think is possible for you. Then ask yourself what if I am actually capable of so much more. Sit in the energy of the “what if” and expand your belief system. To create your new possible you will need to step into new possibility and let go of the limiting beliefs you have been holding onto.

You may want to download my letting go visualizations

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Don’t take on other peoples limiting beliefs

What stories are you buying into that other people are telling themselves? What beliefs are you taking on that are coming from other people? This is your reminder that YOU do not need to take on other people’s limiting beliefs. It is a fundamental truth that we take on the beliefs of those around us ~ yes even if you are aware that their beliefs are limiting it will still impact you much more than you think. Therefore, it’s extremely important you surround yourself with people who see the infinite awesome possibilities rather than the limitations.

Self Development Inspiration Tools to use Uncategorized

New beginnings new moon

I do a lot of what I call moon work. This is using the phases of the moon to create a healthy personal practice of manifesting with intention on what I want and letting go for things that are holding me back.

The new moon is about new beginnings, getting into the energy of the infinite possibilities and becoming clear as to what you want to manifest.

The simple version of this is to do a mini new moon ritual where you light a candle and write down what you want to bring forth in your life either over this phase from new moon to full moon or in general to create in your life. We put on music, light candles, usually light a fire and then draw and color and write in those drawings the words that describe our intention for this phase. I like to use very short descriptions and focus on specific words like: fun or healing or strength or something like that.

For many thousands of years humans have been using the phases of the moon. The moon has actual and real pull on our emotions and our bodies (just like the tides of the ocean) and using that natural rhythm can be a powerfully positive thing.

This photo is at our table on a recent new moon

Self Development Inspiration Tools to use

Journal prompt ~ If you knew you would succeed what would you REALLY do?

Journaling is one of the most powerful self development tools.  It’s one of my favorite tools for healing, for manifesting , for processing and for making the choices that create the life I want.   I find journaling prompts to be very effective.  Physically hand writing has such power ~ I’ve experienced it first hand it’s magic.  Here is a prompt that can really open things up for you.

Use a timer for this journal prompt.  Timing your journal prompts can be wildly effective in getting straight to the thoughts that are deeper inside of you.  We want those intuitive deeper feelings because that’s where the magic is in creating your epic athletic journey.

Approach your journal prompt exercise as if YOU are the only one who will be reading it and tell yourself your deep truth during the exercise.

Set your timer to 3 minutes

Ask yourself ~ What would I do if I knew that I could not fail?  If I knew that I would succeed what would I do.  

Then write selfishly ~ don’t worry about anyone else just YOU.  Don’t worry about fitting anyone or anything into your crazy awesome stuff just do this one for YOU.  Don’t hold back go all out with everything you would do if you had no fear.  Get crazy and write big awesome crazy things that you would do.  It’s such a healthy prompt because it gets you to think bigger without barriers ~ it expands your thinking and your infinite possibilities.   As you expand your infinite possibilities you will find some amazing things and in turn that will teach you to think in expansion for yourself.

So much of this is about training your mind to think outside of the same old patterns and to see possibilities that are outside of those restrictive patterns you have set up for yourself.

When you use this prompt I would love to hear about it if you would like to share your experience ~ send me a message and let me know.