Archive | December, 2011

Down on my Knees: The Power of Prayer, Honesty and Acceptance

29 Dec

In the still of the night, down on my knees, praying to a God I’m not sure exists.  Why me?  You get what you give, some say.  What did I give to deserve this?  I gave time, energy, compassion, and unconditional love.  I gave every part of me.  I feel broken-hearted, scared, sad, and angry.  It’s easy to sit on the other side of the fence and judge someone; to say you know how you’d handle it if you were in the same situation.  The truth is, you don’t.  You don’t know until you have experienced it.

Many of us have had that moment, the one you never saw coming.  Or worse, the one you saw coming, but convinced yourself would never come.  The news stops you in your tracks and causes you to reflect on every single thing you have done in your life that’s lead to this moment.  There is nothing you can do to prevent it.  You can’t change it.  You can only try to manage it.

So what do you do then?  The first inclination is to run; to get away from the situation.  The clock on the counter ticks away as you consider how you can possibly move forward.  Paralyzed with fear, you can’t imagine anyone has ever experienced this before.  What do I say to people, you ask yourself?  What will they think? You remember the times that people have said to you, children are a reflection of their parents.  That’s so rewarding to hear when things turn out the way you want.  But what of my child?  He doesn’t mean what he says.  He doesn’t choose the behavior, he didn’t choose the illness, it chose him.  There is fear in his eyes that only a mother notices.  Please, he begs.  But at such a young age, the human mind can’t make sense of why it does what it does.  What comes easy for some will never for others.

Breathe.  It calms you. We often forgot to breathe during the height of exploding emotions. Breathe so that youmight think more clearly.

Submit. The only way out, is to go through it, which requires acceptance of the situation.  It may not be what we envisioned for ourselves.  Life rarely turns out the way we expect.  Every experience is designed to teach us something.  Our job in life is to figure out what that lesson is.

Face judgment.  It’s easy to be quiet about things, for fear someone will judge us.  People will, it’s human nature.  There are those who will never understand.  They say they would do things differently; they lay blame.  But by opening yourself up, many around you will quietly take notice.  They gain strength from your honesty. 

Accept.  These experiences teach you to accept situations you encounter in life.  Strive to come to a place where you never assume you know what’s best for someone.  The only person who knows what’s best for you is you.  That moment that takes your breath away may eventually make you a pillar of strength for someone else.

Choose your attitude.  Scream; scream out loud it’s not fair.  Cry, get it out.  But when you’re done, choose determination.  Choose to believe you can make it.  Play the odds by changing your attitude because believing is the best way to get where you want to go.  Choosing an attitude of despair only produces one result, despair.

We rarely escape that moment, the one that clearly marks two paths.  We can choose the path less traveled.  We can ask ourselves in the very worst moments, for what should I be thankful?  We can remember that we are not the only ones to have had this experience.  There are people around us that have lived through this, and there will be those in the future who will face the same challenges.  We can choose to accept help, to lean on those close to us, to be open about our hurt, our fears, our hopes, and our dreams.  We can trust that there is a reason for everything that happens.  We can choose to kneel and submit, if for no other reason than to accept that there are certain things in life we cannot control.  In the end, the only thing we can control is our attitude, and it’s our attitude that determines our success.

Top 10 Reasons I am a Runner

23 Dec

There are so many reasons I love to run, but in reflecting on some of my recent fitness challenges, I confirmed why I truly love to run and fondly embrace my identity as a runner.

1) No matter how long or how far you’ve run , you can call yourself a runner.  It feels good to be able to identify myself as something.  It’s as easy as saying. “I am a runner because I love to run”.  That seems to be enough for people.   

2) Running, particularly at races, exudes positive energy.  Runners and non-runners are almost always welcome.  In all the races I’ve attended, I always feel a sense of community, spirit, and pride.  Poeople tend to support each other.  They often cheer for others, and while runing is an individual support, there are often opportunitites to join teams. 

3) Running is frequently associated with a greater good.  Many races aim to raise money for meaningful organizations.  Sponsoring athletes to run both gives the althlete a reason to train as well as supports a worthy cause.

4) Running promotes a healthy lifestyle.  Eating a balanced diet is one of the best way to develop your running abilities.  In addition, running regularly makes me crave healthy food; thus, I reach for treats much less often. 

5) Running is a great way to see new places.  The first thing I enjoy doing when I travel is strap on my running shoes and tour the local area on foot. 

6) Running is a long term sport.  Running is a long term activitiy where your ability develops over time.  The 30-40 age bracket in any race is often one of the most competitive.   

7) Almost anywhere you go you can run.  There is very little equipment required and the cost is minimal.  Although you can acquire a lot of fancy gadgets over time, all you really need to run is a decent pair of shoes. 

8) Even if you don’t start running at a young age, you still have the opportunity to become good at it.

9) Running is a sport you can do as a family.

10) Running is a natural high.  There is nothing better than reaching the point where you can run and forget you are even doing anything, get lost in your own thoughts.  Much like mediation, running has a calming effect.

There’s no time like the present to start running.  Although it might seem challenging at first, if you stick with it you will quickly devlop your skills.  Below are some of my favorite running websites.

http://www.runnersworld.com/ (All sorts of valuable info)

www.active.com/running (Races, tips, and events)

http://www.goyorunning.blogspot.com/ (My friend’s awesome running blog)

http://www.kidsrunning.com/index.html (Ways to help kid’s develop their running skills)

http://www.girlsontherun.org/ (My favorite non-profit running organization, helping young girls build confidence through running)

http://www.racesirens.com/ (Empowers men and women through racing and race funding)

http://5mls2mt.blogspot.com/ (One girl’s journey as a runner, an interesting read)

http://www.runblogger.com/ (All sorts of good reviews, blog and podcast)

Who are Your Role Models and Why?

7 Dec

In one glance I sized her up.  She’s beautiful inside and out.  She gives me a warm hug as if she’s known me for years when I meet her.  As I watch her, I think she must have the perfect life.  As I get to know her I find out she has two grown kids.  I’m quit convinced that if they were raised by her they must be fabulous and successful.  By the third time we’ve met I decide she has this amazing sense of fashion.  I’m sure she rolls out of bed every day and effortlessly pulls things together.  She’s married and smiles when she talks about her husband.  I begin to feel like maybe this girl was put in my life to teach me something.  She has it completely together. I ought to start taking notes! She asks a lot of questions as we become friends.  I find myself going on and on talking to her and suddenly I realize I am monopolizing the conversation. Being that my goal is not to monopolize conversations, to listen more and talk less, I decide I better start asking her some questions.

I listen.  I watch.  She trusts me easily, something she seems good at.  She begins to tell me how hard it was to raise her children.  She struggled, which surprises me.  I listen to her stories and think to myself what an amazing mom she was, and still is, for overcoming some of the things she has.  I see her as AUTHENTIC.

I’m beginning to really like her.  She says to me, “I get it” as I share my stories, talks to me about the medical challenges she’s had, battling breast cancer, a failed marriage, a child she struggled to raise.  She becomes more REAL to me. 

She talks about working as a single parent and tells me a story of being so exhausted some days she could barely get off the couch to cook dinner when her kids were little.  She says that she learned through that experience that somehow you do whatever you need to do to make it through, and that’s okay.  She says, “looking back, some people are put on this earth to be a mom.  They do effortlessly.  I am not one of them.  I worked really hard at it.  I love my children more than anything in the world, but mothering never came easy to me”.  I sit there doing everything I can to keep the tears from rolling down my face.   She EMPOWERS me by saying those words.   

Over time, she has taught me so much about myself and who I want to be.  Not because she’s perfect, but because she’s perfectly real.  Take a step back for a moment and consider this.  It’s okay to show the world your vulnerable side.  That’s what people connect to.  It makes the difference.  I don’t want role-models in my life who do it right all the time.  I want role-models who make a mess of things at times, but pick up the pieces the next day and say I’m going to do it better.  I don’t want constant negativity but I want honesty.  I want to look up to the people who are not afraid to say it’s hard sometimes.  I want the person who falls short some of the time and admits it.  I’m charmed by the people I look at who I assume have it all together and quickly find out they have their crazy moments just like the rest of us.  They laugh, they cry, they celebrate and struggle, they feel invincible and then at times they feel like they can’t do anything right.  They are completely motivated some days and others it’s all they can do to get through the day.  Most of all, they share themselves with others; the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Who are your role models and why?  What value do they add to your life?  What are some of the life lessons you have learned from them? Pease share your thoughts with me.

Never Say Nothing: Insights on How to Inspire Others

1 Dec

 There are a lot of ways we can inspire others.  Through our actions, through our convictions, through helping others find opportunities or just through what we say.  I think about inspiring like a glass of marbles half full, every action and every word we say or do either detracts or adds to a person.  The collection of who we become over years has a lot to do with how many marbles we collect over time.  As children, if we are told time and time again we cannot or are incapable of doing something we begin to believe it.  The same is true if we don’t receive enough positive feedback.   The lens in which we see the world becomes jaded and we begin to believe this. 

One thing to consider is how we go about promoting others.  How do we influence others in order to help them best achieve their personal goals, dreams, and aspirations?  Have you ever thought maybe you wanted to try at something and began to tell people and gauge their reaction?  There’s always people who look at you with no confidence and say you are crazy.  Those people are easily dismissable.  Chances are they are unhappy with their life or threatened by your desire to do something amazing.   The more challenging is the people you respect, trust, and look to for affirmation who say very little.  You’re left wondering what that means.  Saying nothing can feel almost as bad as actually hearing something negative because nothing translates into “I don’t believe you can”. 

 The best case scenario in this is being the person that says “yes you can and how can I help”.  Hearing enough “yes you cans” will often prompt a person to act.  An inspired and supported person, despite raw talent, education, monetary means, or otherwise, can accomplish amazing things.    When we sell others short by not believing enough to say I know you can get there, no matter what the goal, we are essentially selling ourselves short.  We’ve lost the opportunity to make a tremendous impact on someone. 

Consider who you are for the people around you?  Are you the person who promotes success in others?  Do you encourage those around you to strive for their goals, no matter how grand they might be?  Do you see the potential in someone who might not have raw talent but is willing to work hard?  Finding ways to promote others can truly fill you with joy. Remember as you work toward being a motivator that keeping quiet rarely ever translates into something positive.  Be the one that says, “yes you can do this, I believe in you, let’s figure out how to make it happen”.  Make a difference!