Right Here, Right Now.

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Jen Wirth | July 8, 2018 | no comments |

Right here, right Now.

by, Coach Jen, RN

The year was 1999. The air was crisp; it was Fall. The time was around 11 pm.

I’d just gotten home from hanging out with my friend, Adam. My dog, Lucy, needed a walk. I grabbed the leash and took Lucy for a spin around the block. A few minutes later, I was the subject of a drive-by shooting.

I was living in a lovely west side neighborhood that I’d move back to again in a heartbeat. But this story is about the time I almost died there. And it does relate broadly to CrossFit, in case you are wondering. Bear with me.

As I said, it was late. It was dark. It happened fast. I saw the pickup truck stop at the corner up ahead of me. I saw the gun barrel come out of the open passenger window. I saw a spark flash at the mouth of the barrel.

I hit the dirt and rolled sideways behind a nearby bush, still holding onto the handle of Lucy’s retractable leash. She was all the way at the end of her tether, around 15 feet in front of me. I counted 4 shots. I stayed down. The truck turned north and peeled away.

I was alone on the street, in the dirt, behind the bush.

I got up. No bullet holes in me. Whew. Checked Lucy…no bullet holes.

This was before cell phones. I was more bewildered than scared right after. I dusted myself off a little more and walked home with Lucy. Then I called Adam on my land line to tell him what had happened to me since I saw him last. Adam’s the one who told me to call the cops. Oh yeah, why didn’t I think of that?

At the moment of the shooting, for some reason I can’t explain, I was in the moment. And as it turned out, I reacted perfectly, appropriately, doing exactly what I needed to do with my body in space and time. My instincts took over thank God I went with them.

The shock set in an hour or so after the cop left my doorstep, having shown me the four bullet casings he found at the scene. I started shaking when I realized how close I’d come to dying.

I was jumpy on our walks after that. Every time a car drove by, I’d tense up and start. I’d turn towards the car, wherever it was, and make sure there were no guns coming out the windows.

I walked in this state of hyper-vigilance for about two days. Then, on one afternoon stroll, while jumpily glancing over my shoulder to check a passing car for guns, I stepped off a tall curb without looking and came down hard on my ankle. I crumbled to the ground in pain. The station wagon I’d been suspicious of drove harmlessly by.

I sat on that curbside for 20 minutes. Lucy waited patiently for me to get up and limp us gingerly home. Sitting there, I realized that by preoccupying myself with what might happen, I’d lost track of what was going on right in front of me.

I was walking around on autopilot; worrying about something rare maybe happening to me again, at the same time I was blind to the danger right in front of me. I was pretty annoyed with myself, I must say, but also I had to laugh. I’d survived a shooting, and now I’d almost killed myself walking. Ok, that’s hyperbole, but my ankle did hurt really bad right then.

Worrying is imagining something bad happening.

Worrying is imagining something bad happening. What saved me on the night of the drive-by was not my imagination. That night I was relaxed, walking my dog; more or less paying attention to what was going on around me. Or as I like to call it, Enjoying the night.

This relaxed state of mind, and a stranger’s bad aim, probably saved my life.

Staying in the moment has always been a challenge for me, but I know from experience that that’s when I’m the safest and most effective, in general. It’s hard to remember this when life gets crazy and I feel like I’m never going to catch up. “I’ll live in the moment when I’m done with my To Do list! For crying out loud, I don’t have time to live in the moment.”

I wasn’t doing CrossFit back when this all took place, but when I started the sport 10 years later, I found a way to get back into this moment on a regular basis.

During a workout, I can feel every single muscle hollering out. Pain is the moment and I am inside the moment. I focus on my form, on each move as it is happens. I stop thinking about the laundry and the vacuuming and life’s other trivialities. I’m right there. In by body, working out.

Then the workout ends, the pain dissipates, and I’m still inside the moment for a while longer. I’m not stressed. I’m loose. I can take it as it comes. And I don’t have to nearly die or break my ankle again (*knocks wood) to appreciate the benefits of this mindset. That’s when I’m at my safest. That’s when I’m at my best.

Ah, look at the time. Looks like it’s time I get my shoes tied and get my butt to the gym.

See you there.


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