gratitude.

i woke up this morning with a sense of calm. and despite not going for a run and after feeling a sense of anxiety of returning to work after a week away, it didn’t come.

i methodically did my PT strengthening routine while waiting for water to boil and for the coffee grounds in my french press to steep. as i drank my breakfast kale smoothie and caught up on a few daily emails i receive, i actually couldn’t even figure out why i was feeling anxious on sunday afternoon to begin with. whatever it was had passed and i was ready, almost enthusiastically, to begin my week.

as i type this i sense a bit of sarcasm or a slight bit of surprise in my tone. it’s not that i dislike my job – i am just generally slow on mondays and while a run typically helps ease/jar me into existence, it didn’t take that today. and i’m also hugely a creature of habit and routine – so returning to a world of structure and demands from others after a week of mostly setting my own leisurely schedule could have been stressful, but it was not.

i drank my smoothie and then started in on my coffee and emails. one of my favorite emails to read first thing on monday mornings is my Ripples email. you see, i “met” Paul when he was a speaker at a youth leadership conference i attended somewhere around SOPHOMORE year of high school. yes, i’ll put that in easier terms for you – i have been receiving this email blast from Paul long before Facebook was a thing – honestly, i think i first subscribed in 2001. TWO THOUSAND AND ONE! people, that was 14 years ago. almost half my life. the year some of the girls i coach were born. *** subscribe here *** (seriously, do it)

can we all just revel in that for a hot minute?!

ok, back to it. i was reading the Ripple-y email and Paul shared a handful of quotes from an awesome guy, Wayne Dyer, who passed away over the weekend. there were four (of the six) that really spoke to me and one i’ll share with you now:

“We never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
-Wayne Dyer

i like that. maybe its because i feel a recent sense of being full and tipping. i think my week away from work helped me with that. i was getting to a point where there were so many things – not even bad or stressful things – just so many things floating around in my life and in my brain and a week of calm, quiet, move-at-your-own pace was just what i needed to let it all fill up and let some of the really good pour out. gratitude.

and there’s also this TinyLetter (you should consider subscribing to that one, too) i’ve been receiving daily for a bit now – Vanessa shared her thoughts on the word “happiness” which naturally, i took personally, because i’m Shayla and because i’ve been doing this little Instagram #happy project now for 388 days in a row and because i too, was a skeptic or something about the word “happiness” and about the documenting of it – that is, until i was in the thick of it. any for me, the project isn’t even about being “happy” all of the damn time – it’s really just about me noticing and taking in and observing and documenting at least a tiny piece of the world around me that i’m working so hard at being, really being in everyday – especially for the last 388 days.

so, worlds are colliding and gratitude is spilling over and semantics are where it’s at and then tonight, as i was finishing up trying to write myself a little 75-word biography about what i do besides coaching rowing, i got one more email (three! to round out the email karma for the day). it was from a Life Coach and friend of many friends here in Madison. her name is Darcy Luoma and one of the things she wrote in the email was,

“Here is something important to remember…you don’t need a reason to say no but you do need a reason to say yes! So, if it’s not an enthusiastic yes, then it’s a “hell no.”

her email was all about figuring out what’s important and learning how and when to say no. but what really got me was the subject of the email, “Replacing More with Better.” that’s a principle i try to in everyday life.

so back to the photo, and quickly, because i would like to get lights out here as close to 11pm as possible (mama’s getting old and needs her recovery sleep for a good morning run). i snapped the photo of the day today as we were heading in near the end of practice. i’d usually complain that it was too hot out – but the water was pretty darn nice. we had a slight breeze and the lake was not crazy-busy. my novice girls team is on the small side right now (meaning we only have 7 girls at the moment), but they’re focused and talented and mighty! what a gift to get to coach just a four right now. we had a shortened practice today due to some admin stuff, but the girls got out on the water and got right to work. they drilled and took some truly awesome strokes.

so all of the stuff i wrote above and the practice tonight sort of came crashing together to create something magical – at least in my own little mind-world. there’s something special about having the space to just be present and deal with the stuff right in front of you, the important stuff… whether it’s heading to work with a sense of gratitude or taking the next best stroke you can!

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