Saturday, February 11, 2012
While it's been a busy week, nothing too spectacular or out of the ordinary occurred. It was one of those "gray weeks." We all have them. The world didn't end, but there's nothing to write home about. The funny thing is they always seem to occur this time of year. The time of year when the trees are bare, the skies are dull and there seems little hope that spring will ever occur. They are the gray days. We look out the kitchen window sipping our coffee or tea expectantly waiting for some ray of sunshine poke through those clouds. For you, maybe, it is a week with neither a loss nor gain. Maybe it's five successive days at the gym where you feel as if you haven't accomplished a single thing. It's those mornings where it's a struggle and in an effort to put one foot in front of the other.
You do it. You do it because you know down the road and around the bend there will be a tiny daffodil poking its head through the still frozen ground. It is these gray days that becomes the cement that holds our life and our progress towards health together. They are never anything to jump up and down or cheer about. They simply bind us and at most unexpected times warm us like a new fire on a wintry morning. They are the essence of life itself.
I was reminded this week of the benefit of these ordinary and often gray days. Two years ago I began training to run my first 5K. Listening to the wisdom and counsel of many SparkPeople friends I settled on the C25K process. I have to tell you, friends, it got boring in a great big hurry. Walking for a minute, running for 90 seconds and the like wasn't very motivating. I look around me at the gym and see people running for what seemed like at the time, forever. Here I was walking then running, walking then running over and over. One Sunday afternoon, I went to the gym, feeling very frustrated and ready to do something different. My gym has an oval track-10 laps to a mile, so I would always take a clicker with me to count the laps. I began running, and clicking, and listening to my music, and looking out the window. I lost track of time and when I looked down at my clicker it suddenly dawned on me that I only had four laps left before I had run a true 5K. I don't recall whether I was tired or not. I don't recall whether adrenaline took over. I do recall feeling this tremendous sense of accomplishment is I began to run the last lap. I was so overwhelmed that the time I felt tears well up in my eyes. Afterwards, I took my phone and snapped a picture of the clicker. I still have it. All of those boring, gray days suddenly paid off. I was runner.
I thought about that experience this morning as I started my day and I thought about how life really mirrors my training for a 5K. There a lot of aches, pains, and self-doubt, but as long as we stick to the process we know works, in the end we are running our own metaphorical 5K.
Be blessed today.
Friday, February 03, 2012
"So what you're saying is that if nothing changed for the better or for the worse for the rest of your life you would be happy just the way you are?"
I thought for a minute and then nodded my head. "Yeah, I believe I would be. I mean, I am sure there are things I would like to see, places I would like to go and people I would like to meet, but my happiness isn't contingent about all that happening."
"Well what about money? Don't you want more money?" I thought about that for a few minutes, staring down at the table in the restaurant.
"I want to be secure." I said. "I don't necessarily want to be wealthy, but I'd like to be secure."
So the conversation went. Larry and I were having our weekly lunch meeting. Larry's about 23 years younger than I am and quite naturally his perspective and his goals and objectives are different. Larry is raising two daughters, my children are already grown. A matter of perspective, if you will.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't some sort of rant against wealth. I don't begrudge anyone earning as much money as they feel compelled to earn. It is just that I am at a point in my life were wealth doesn't define success. So as I drove home I thought a lot about the conversation Larry and I had. If I'm not happy to begin with how can I be "happier?" If I don't feel I'm wealthy right now, how can I be "wealthier?" Yeah, it is a matter of perspective. My thoughts turned into a revelation of sorts. Maybe I've been approaching things backward for most of my life. Maybe, I should work on the now, the today, and tomorrow will become a natural byproduct. I am at a point in my life where downsizing is a positive term. Joan and I talk about moving into a smaller place, maybe a condominium, maybe in a climate where the weather is warmer. We talk about the uncertainty of retirement and wonder if it'll ever be a reality for us. Despite all the changes that have occurred in the landscape over the past five years I still have to count myself, baggage and all, as being relatively happy person. Sometimes I feel guilty about that. In this world that seems to be brimming over with drama, when all is said and done I am relatively happy. Somewhere, somehow we developed the notion that if you're not moving forward, your statement. Maybe, just maybe, it may be that you have stopped to inhale the scenery around you.
So when I looked across the table at Larry with somewhat of a cockeyed grin for the first time in a few days I felt fairly confident saying "Yeah, I'm happy just the way I am."
Monday, January 30, 2012
I was involved in a real good training session last Friday. The group I facilitated was enthusiastic, participative, and into what we were talking about. While I love my job, I can tell you there are times when it seems as if I'm walking through a sea of Jell-O. This group was different. They were eager to participate in exercises and share their experiences. That enhanced the whole curriculum. I wish every group I worked with was as focused and as enthusiastic as this group. Driving home Friday evening I asked myself the proverbial "Why?" Why had this group been so eager and so excited about the day’s events? Here's what I came up with: They wanted to be there.
Usually, the first question I get from a group goes something like this: "What time do we get out of here today?" This group wanted to know: "When are we going to get together again?"
No matter what the task in life, we are basically divided into two groups of people. The first group is those who "Want To," and those who "Have To." No matter what the assignment or activity, you and I have one of two responses. We either want to participate or we feel that we have to participate because someone told us to.
I believe "having to," is the reason our health initiatives often fail. How many times have you heard from a doctor, "It's time you went on a diet!" If you are like me the first thing you do, is dig in. "No one is going to tell me what to do!" You are right, no one is. So you trudge along, in a begrudging sort of fashion, moaning and complaining about how difficult life is and you keep looking at the calendar and the scale waiting for the day that all this nonsense is over, you are size 0 again, you are running a marathon, and while you're at it. "Please pass the mashed potatoes." Having to do something often seems like a punishment. We resist as strongly as we can.
Think about the moments in your life where you done things because you have openly and enthusiastically, "Wanted To." It wasn't a chore or a burden, it was something you did willingly, and in most cases while there might've been hard work and effort involved in reaching your goal, you genuinely enjoyed the experience. Self-improvement, no matter how we look at it, is never an easy task. So this morning as I look out over the landscape that is my life, I am beginning to find ways to change my "have to's," into "want to’s."
Care to join me?
Thursday, January 26, 2012
A rainy day pick me up
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