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LESSON FROM COACH KENNY ROGERS: JUST DROP IN

About 20 years ago, I was in a training course to become a “Combat Professor.” Woop-dee-friggin-doo. Throughout the course, we would always have a moment to bear witness to our capacity. It reminded me of the presidential fitness tests in school that I never partook in. I refuse to let the president know how powerful and capable I am. Thus I would do one 5-second “flexed arm hang” and complete the mile run/walk in 11 minutes 55 seconds because anything past 12 minutes, I would have to repeat it. My coaches were always confused about me, but the fact is. I’m an artist, not an athlete, and I was in a band, not on a sportsball team. I did complete one lap around the track with my shorts around my ankles and had to write, “Actions of stupidity will not be tolerated in physical education class at any time,” 500 times. The same day Appetite for Destruction by Guns n Roses was released. So, I got the tape on the way home, put it on repeat, and did my time! 

Fast-forward a couple of years to getting my 1974 Cadillac Eldorado and taking a road trip. I got a stack of 8 tracks from the goodwill for 25 cents each. One was Kenny Rogers and The First Edition. 

Listening to “Just Dropped In” really hit me. We should all take time to just drop in, to see what condition our condition is in. What condition are your mind, body, and spirit in? I don’t mean a drop-in with an ayahuasca ceremony or having a cathartic week at a festival. I mean, drop in. Take time. Even 15 minutes during your day can change your life. Take it from Kenny, don’t listen to your shaman. Did your shaman ever land a duet with Dolly Parton? Yeah no.

How can you find simple metrics to witness your capacity and expand it over time?

Now that you’re an adult, there’s not some closeted alcoholic redneck coach in Bike brand shorts adorned with a whistle and sunglasses. He doesn’t know that I know that those glasses mask the black eye he got from smarting off to the wrong guy at a bar last night. I know your secrets, coach. I illegally worked in that bar. So the first drop-in should be. Is your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being as important to you as escapism, instant gratification, or tuning out?

Mind

Write, journal, report. Ask yourself, how am I doing? Please don’t lie to yourself because that’s often why we tune out. We’re sick of justifying why we’re lying to ourselves because of the shame spiral of knowing that we know better.

Body

Check-in by starting with time, and think: still, slow, a little faster.

Time is the most uncomplicated metric, and I’ll tell you why I think it’s the best.

We often set numbers, “10 pushups, 50 squats, etc.” However, if you do 50 squats, you’re probably finished in 30-40 seconds. So set a time limit, start with 30 seconds and feel it out. Once you can get a good pace, go for a minute and see how many you can do. Plus, feel it. Imagine one day you got exhausted around number 40, only 25 seconds into the minute. Over time you may be able to do 80 in a minute and have it feel effortless. Do that consistently for about a month. Then graduate up to two minutes. Multiple 60-second sets will change the way you pace yourself and feel. Don’t count every time. Just feel how you can pace yourself to make it through the time. You can even film yourself to count later and check your form. It’s fun to see and feel the progress.

Stillness over time

This is Earth in the five elements course. Stillness is the key to movement. Plus, stillness builds your spirit. Try a half pushup, wall sit or horse stance, hold a plank, or a boat pose. Feel it out—perfect form for either 15, 30, or 60 seconds. You are looking for effortlessness, feeling your shape and form, and being conscious of your breathing. You’re not trying to break your body to achieve a goal or to please a coach. Please Kenny Rogers, by dropping in and feeling. Kenny respects that you have a life that requires your body and feel free to treat it like you have sh!t to do later.

Stillness builds your spirit as well. You can quit at any time. Your spirit is what will keep you on point. If you feel like judging yourself because you gave up early, do it again, and know there’s no failure, only feedback, then look forward to the effortlessness this effort is creating for you.

Now do some time trials

See how many pushups, sit-ups, and squats you can do in either 15, 30, or 60 seconds. Keep proper form and remember that time adds stress, so now it’s time to feel and please Kenny Rogers by Dropping in. Feel your form, shape, and breath. It’s not about numbers. It’s about being conscious of how we sometimes throw away our discipline to achieve a goal. You will argue that it takes discipline to achieve a goal, but the execution of the finished product is essential. Imagine that you just rushed through the process of cooking a meal for a friend, and at the end, it’s a sloppy mess on a plate, and you forgot to put the salt. Or you’re listening to a band play a song, and they are rushing it and out of tune. Kenny Rogers would never do that.

 

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