Running The Good Race

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Two men stand next to each other at the starting line of a race.

One has been rigidly training everyday at dawn following a set plan of action to achieve a certain time for this race. Each practice run was meticulously timed and outlined. That final number is set in his head, anything less is unacceptable. He jumps up and down anxiously warming up, checking his watch to make sure his technology is ready to track his progress. This is it, he has to do this in a certain amount of time. That finish line is everything to him right now.

The other man stands with his hands on his hips looking up at the beautiful blue sky and takes a deep breath thinking about how nice this run will be on this bright sunny day. Feeling proud of the training he has done in preparation for this race, he thinks about all those other nice, long runs he took on other days similar to this. What a pleasure it has been to set this goal and get outside and run. He’s feeling good about getting back in shape and spending his time doing something positive for himself. The finish line will appear when he is ready.

The race begins. The first man explodes down the path in anticipation. The second man begins to run and smiles at how good it feels to get moving. The race continues on and on while both men have two very different experiences. The first man didn’t notice the beautiful scenery and the quiet calm of listening to your feet create a soothing rhythm as you run. The second man noticed this and more.

The first man crossed the finish line in a hurried frenzy breaking his own record and pumping his fist in the air with pride. His goal was reached and exceeded and this high will last him a while. He gathers his data and heads home.

The second man forgets to notice the clock as he glides past the finish line feeling grateful for the time spent running that day. He takes a few moments to enjoy his accomplishments and shake a few hands of other proud runners around him also basking in the glory of seeing through their intention.

Both men enjoyed the benefits of setting a goal, carrying out a plan and feeling the accomplishment of a job well done and both finished in the same amount of time. But even though they ran the exact same race, they each ran down very different paths. Neither path is right or wrong. Neither path should be judged. But which way would you rather run through life?

Life takes planning, preparation, commitment and discipline. Life is a marathon. You can choose to run that marathon any way you want.

It’s all about perspective.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Wayne Dyer

I Love A Rainy Night

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When I wake up on a rainy, summer day, I don’t feel down or blah, I see it as a day to change things up.  I welcome the sweet smell of fresh rain and the sound of it tapping on my window.  I love letting the kids run into the grass barefoot and feel the rain all around them.  It’s fun to get soaked on your way into the house when you have no where to go and can just giggle and undress and put on cozy, dry clothes and relax.  No kids, we don’t really need an umbrella, just run through the rain and enjoy!

Yes, we waited patiently through a winter of polar vortex weather and being stuck inside during frigid days too cold to enjoy the mountains of snow pilling up outside our window for more than 20 minutes at a time out of fear of frost bite.  And yes, I love waking up to the sun and feeling it kiss my skin when I take my first steps outside in the morning, it makes me smile.  I like watering my garden and wearing sandals instead of shoveling snow from my car and maneuvering around big, bulky coats and boots for so many days during the winter.  But, too much of anything, including sunshine, can be overload.  Even when it’s raining I can still see the sunshiny smiles of my kids when they look to me to fill the day with new activities and adventures.

I enjoy twists and turns in my daily life, they keep things interesting.  Relaxing into a comfortable routine can satisfy some and seem mundane to others.  Everyone has a different idea of what they would like to get out of each day.  Some plan and plan and need to know what’s around each turn.  Some flitter around taking things as they come.  No matter what your personality demands, stop and consider if what you are creating is serving you.  Try a little change and see how it feels, see if it pleases you.  Stability is still good, it provides us with the things we need, the money to pay for the things we need and the comforts that we choose to enjoy.  Just consider stepping out of that “comfort zone” and experiment with a new path.  You can always go back to your routine.

For me, there are still shells to collect on the beach when it’s cloudy and much singing to do in the rain.  There is something romantically scary about listening to a thunderstorm while laying in your bed in the middle of the night.  And, when the sun peeks through after a day of rain and shines so brightly for you to enjoy, the feeling is like laughter through tears if you let it be.  It’s all in your perspective when you wake up to a rainy morning.

 

 I Love A Rainy Night – Eddie Rabbit

Well I love a rainy night

I love a rainy night

I love to hear the thunder

Watch the lightning

When it lights up the sky

You know it makes me feel good

Well I love a rainy night

It’s such a beautiful sight

I love to feel the rain

On my face

To taste the rain on my lips

In the moonlight shadow

Showers wash

All my cares away

I wake up to a sunny day

‘Cause I love a rainy night

Yes I love a rainy night

My Version of Eat, Pray, Love

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With a mindful attempt at focusing on my heart-mind connection, I set off on my own version of Eat, Pray, Love except mine was more Spa, Solace, Family.  Along the way, I got a chance to settle into a few versions of myself that I normally don’t get to enjoy.  At home, “me time” normally lasts a few hours at most and is spent in the aisles of the grocery store or meeting a friend for coffee.  The luxury of unwinding and relaxing into myself was a welcomed gift.  I was hoping to mindfully direct attention toward some of my less attended to “parts” that had been neglected for far too long.  I needed to find balance, I needed to find harmony.  I was lacking the sense of wholeness that yields happiness and like the tin man waiting impatiently rusting in the field, my parts needed to be oiled.  During three recent and varied journeys, I was able to enjoy and reflect on how variation and taking a break can help you reflect and achieve balance.

My first journey took me to Mii Amo Spa in Sedona, Arizona where I was able to enjoy a bit of pampering and spiritual growth along side two wonderful girlfriends and a few other amazing ladies we met along the way.  It was an inspirational few days spent among the red rocks enjoying hiking, massages, chakra balancing, meditation, and even a bath of milk and honey.  I had time to do some beneficial spiritual reflection and left feeling light and energized, ready to get back to my life with a sense of desire to apply what I had discovered to my daily life.  Interesting that some time away from my life brought me a keener sense of reality.

The next leg of my journey took me out of the red rocks and into Phoenix where I dropped off my traveling companions and checked myself into a beautiful hotel in Scottsdale to spend some time alone.  I got to catch up with a few close friends, but this time was about going inside and staying within myself for a change.  I didn’t know how much I had needed this time alone until I took it and the balance it gave me was both welcomed and surprising.  Sometimes it’s not clear where the balance will come from or where the pieces will fit until you gently let them fall at you and find their place.  Letting go and following the flow has it’s own quiet calm, like watching water rise and fill crevices and trusting and knowing that it knows just where to go.

A week later I was off on yet another vacation to relax as a family and let my daughters spend some quality time with their grandparents in Florida.  A different type of trip completely where I was reminded that having us all together is what life is all about.  Family is love and love is family.

From these three experiences, I felt balance.  I see the need for all of these kinds of escapes to recharge and gain momentum in different ways.  Finding this kind of balance has been a missing part of my self-care, and I plan to explore more ways to get out of my comfort zone and take a little more time for myself.  I’ve been shown that a bit of true “me time” is good for my balanced soul.  There is a fine line between self-care and being selfish and the debate continues over where that line exists.  The truth is that it looks different for everyone and getting to know yourself and your needs make that line clear as day.  It’s possible to find solace and pockets of time to recharge and reflect reasonably within your own life, but getting out of your life and having new experiences always presents the opportunity for added perspective.  And, though the true definition of balance may literally mean ‘even distribution’, sometimes just a bit of divergence can lead to a major shift and provide the balance you need.

photo taken at Mii Amo Spa in Sedona, Arizona

The Thing About A Promise

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A promise is your word that you will accomplish something.  When you make a promise to yourself, it’s a promise that simply can’t be broken without serious consequence.  So, that’s the thing about a promise to yourself, it’s a pretty serious undertaking.  If I can’t keep a pact with myself, I am only accountable to me.  No one to blame, nowhere to hide.  So, I accept this obligation with great urgency.  I did this to myself, pledged this oath all on my own.  The punishment for failure is far too great for me to consider even straying from this path for a second.

I know a lot more about what doesn’t make me happy and who I am NOT than what does make me happy and who I AM.  But that’s a start.  I want to get to know myself better.  Part of this journey is understanding who I am and where my happiness comes from.  “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.”  ~James Openheim   So have I been foolish?  Have I been seeking happiness off somewhere else instead of seeing it and nurturing it right here where I am?  Maybe.

Self honesty is an important part of inner balance and in turn, inner peace.  How you honestly feel about yourself and how you truly feel about your values and your life will form your real opinion of yourself.  See your true value and speak it in your own mind and in your own heart.  Make it a habit to see the positive things about yourself and others will see them as well.   We are usually our own worst enemy.  “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James

‘My Happy Promise’ is a promise I made to myself, and even on the days when I don’t feel at my peak, I hold myself to my highest expectations.  I have seen people go to great lengths, both positive and negative, to gain the approval of others and I hold strong on my need to only gain the approval of myself.  It is not through the eyes of other’s expectations and perspective that I choose to measure my happiness.  Don’t get me wrong, I seek counsel from those whose truths and values are similar to my own, but even they know that I make the ultimate decisions.  It is the best teachers in life that guide your hand but don’t solve the problem for you.  And so I challenge myself yet again to get to know myself in a brutally honest way.  I pledge to be mindful of my thoughts and responses like a research scientist.  I will gather data and record my findings.

How well do you really know yourself? Do you truly acknowledge all the real things about you?  Are you the best possible version of yourself or is something holding you back?  If you can’t have this conversation quietly in your own mind, then you can’t move forward and truly find peace. How can you hold yourself to your own standards, understand your own values or visualize who you want to become if you can’t take the time to understand who you are today?

On Perspective

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Most soul searching is sparked when things go wrong.  It often takes a dark patch to inspire the pathfinder in us.  The ability to find strength and opportunity to grow in the midst of hardship shows fortitude and spirited character.  We can find ourselves feeling lost and confused in any kind of situation.  It’s about perspective.  It doesn’t always takes true dire straights to feel truly out of balance.

Not everyone has the means to fly to Italy and India to eat their way to the pleasure of nourishment and pray their way to inner peace.  Some of us have to find balance within the context of our comfort zones, no time to take a step out and make changes.  We have families and homes that need our attention and time.

The truth is, we hold all the tools we need to change our path right where we stand.  The way I feel at the end of a good yoga class is often the same way I feel at the end of a great vacation.

I’m learning to find balance and add peace to more moments in my current existence.  I’m weaving peace into the chaos of daily life.  Eventually there will be so much peace that the chaos will no longer have as much power.  This is my choice.  I have to make that choice in each moment.

I’m a mom of young daughters and most of my time is taken up serving the needs of others.  There is nothing else I’d rather be doing at this point in my life, but that being said, this is no easy task.  My own needs often go unmet and although I happily give myself to my family, even the most giving mother will struggle with this from time to time.  I’m finding myself being pulled toward wanting to take an inner journey at this stage in my life, but I just don’t have the time to devote to focus on myself.  Maybe it’s because I don’t have the time to focus on myself that I feel this pull, but I feel it nonetheless.  So, it’s my onus to balance this life that needs my full attention with my own need to go inside and do some searching.

Even if the scale tips heavy toward my family responsibilities in this moment, my perspective needs to remain unobstructed.  There is no need for a self indulgent journey around the world for inner peace when I can gently pull at the threads of peace and work them into my life right now as best I can.  I will find them, weave them in and watch them become more and more prevalent.

When the time is right the threads will become thicker and more abundant, but there will be plenty of time for that later and I can wait.  The truth is that what seemed to be a dark patch is actually a shining light of hope and abundance.  Change your perspective, change your life.

Orange Rose

myhappypromise

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