I read somewhere it takes 10,000 hours of top down focused practice to become an expert in something. I just said to a friend the other day that Michael Jordan had talent but, it was the hours and hours of practice that he put in that made him an expert at his craft. Whenever I learn something new I try to remind myself, “Kindra to be an expert you need to put in the time.” It’s hard to remember this sometimes. So often we want it and we want it now. I know I can relate to this notion while we have been creating AlpineCurves.com. It has been a lot of work, a ton of time, and an exercise in patience. I do however have faith if we stay the course, continue to focus, and are open to learning we will be successful.
All those thoughts aside, this is not the reason behind my deep thoughts today. This morning on my drive into work I was thinking about the 10,000 hours notion in regard to my mental health. How do I put this… life, well it just happens. Sometimes we are fully engaged. Then, there are times where we are feeling the weight of life on our shoulders. Yet other times, it’s all we can do to get out of bed in the morning. Lately, I have been having a lot of the ‘feeling the weight of life on my shoulders.’
Over the fourth of July, a dear friend of mine was celebrating her birthday. She had asked me if I wanted to join her and her family for a day of kayaking. (As a side note, I must say, kayaking is quickly becoming one of my new favorite hobbies.) I jumped on the opportunity but then, on the morning of I was sluggish and I thought… “Do I really want to drive down there? It’s going to be hot. Oh man, the bugs are going to be terrible, and so on.” Needless to say, I went.
At one point when I was trailing behind my friend and her family, I found myself listening. Not the kind of listening where you nod your head and you aren’t really taking anything in because you have a million things going on in there but, really listening. I heard my friend and her family laughing at each other. I heard the birds flying overhead. I heard the wind blowing through the grass along the shore and the frogs singing their mating songs to each other. I heard the sound of my paddle cutting through the water, and then I finally heard something that I haven’t heard in quite some time… I heard ME, “You needed this Kindra! It just feels good to your soul when you do things like this. Wow, isn’t this just beautiful,? Life isn’t so bad, and so on.”
Lately, doing things like hiking, kayaking, yoga, or even walks with my dog have become a last priority. I think what me was trying to tell me out there on the water was; I had stopped putting in the hours and it’s time to become an expert in me again. So, I started doing yoga again this week and let me tell you… it is not a pretty sight. But, you know what? I can already feel my shoulders lowering from my ears, my sleep has been the best it has been in weeks, and my propensity to have the patience of a rabid dog is lessening.
I am not saying this will work for everyone. I just know what has worked for me. So, my goal for the rest of this summer is to start investing some of my time into me. I don’t think I will be able to achieve 10,000 hours in one summer but, I do think having a goal of listening more and practicing intentional calmness are very achievable. Tell me what do you do to stay mindful and present?