Friday, October 01, 2010
I am not sure if what I heard was embarrassment, frustration, anger, or maybe a combination of all three, but the voice on the other end of the line was loaded with it. Gil called to tell me he had just terminated an employee of forty years for theft. After a long investigation it had been determined that the employee had been stealing material and using equipment for his personal use for many years.
“I blame myself,” Gil began” For being so trusting. “I should have been more skeptical of people and maybe this wouldn’t have happened!”
Gil’s been with his company for close to thirty years. I asked him if this had ever happened before and he told me it hadn’t.
“So,” I said. “You are going to completely scrap your belief system because of one occurrence?”
“He took advantage of me. It’s my fault.”
I bring this up because I received a few questions about yesterday’s blog. A few folks wondered how you let go and how you began to forgive. Really good question.
You begin by telling yourself you are going to stop blaming. Mostly you stop blaming yourself because once you get in the habit of unchaining yourself from the wall it becomes easier to unchain the rest of creation. If you are like me you wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and you begin thinking about all the missed opportunities, mistakes and really stupid decisions you made during your life. The more you think about them the angrier you get and when you run out of room inside of you to blame yourself, you start blaming other people. Maybe it’s the DH or DW. Maybe its mom or dad or the boss. It doesn’t matter; assign blame so you can get back to sleep.
The cycle is self-perpetuating. We blame ourselves and then in order to live with our less than enlightened decisions we come up with a justification for our actions and we cling tight to it. Usually those justifications involve other people.
It’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay to make mistakes, even if those mistakes are horrific and terrible. We all make them. What we have done is elevate mistakes to be synonymous with sin. And God knows we can’t live with sin!! We have to drive our mistakes out with a whip a, chair and a gun. Next thing you know we are in the buffet line with all the other “sinners” and we are chowing down. Somehow it feels better when we eat. Then we look in the mirror and we say “yikes!!!” We is fat!!! Who do we blame for that? Hmmmmmmmm I know I’ll blame me. It’s like a dog chasing it’s tale.
I am not perfect, neither are you and I don’t know that I know any perfect people. I do know some smart ones and they are the folks who begin with really tiny steps and say the first thing I am going to do is stop blaming me for my past. It’s done, over, kaput.
I realized a few months ago that if I didn’t stop all the self-blaming I was doing I’d never STAY healthy. I’d eternally take weight off and put it back on because there would always be something or someone to blame. When I stop blaming myself I stop blaming other people because of the freedom I feel inside. It’s like a huge weight is lifted and I have space and time for all those wonderful, healthy activities.
When I get in the habit of not blaming I can learn to forgive, especially myself, for my mistakes. That makes it easier to forgive everyone around me and when I learn to do that I learn to let go of those things that hold me back.
I am who I hang around with. Hang with naysayers then you’ll be a naysayer.
Gil probably didn’t sleep too well last night.
Been there, done that.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
My friend MEZZOANGEL wondered in her blog yesterday about the impending season of winter and how it would affect her workouts. Great minds think alike!! Me too!!
I had a chance to run last night. That was new for me. Normally I run in the mornings because it has been so gosh darned hot and it suits my schedule much better. I ran two miles in a local park and it was so nice to run into a setting sun rather than trying to shield my eyes for a rising one. (I know, buy sun glasses John.) It was chilly as the sun went down and my mind wandered to winter. What am I going to do when it gets really cold?
I was talking to a friend and the other day and he asked me if I was interested in the Lakewood Valley Triathlon. It’s a mini event we have here in June. You run three miles, cycle fifteen miles and swim one half mile. It benefits a good cause and it is more of a fun thing. The cycling and running shouldn’t be much of an issue. Doing them both on one day will present a challenge and I have eight months. Swimming on the other hand is as about as familiar to me as speaking Greek.
“So was running about six months ago,” Joan said looking over her glasses as she worked the morning Sudoku.
As usual, she is correct. Before May of this year I couldn’t have told you a 5K from a five miler. I can now.
I learned two things here. Don’t ever be scared about something new, be excited and curious and really enthusiastic about it and you will want to do it!!! I already learned my gym does have a training class starting in November for first time participants.
I will still run. I have about eight weeks left of being able to run outside here and then it’s on the indoor track and treadmill. Honestly, I am not looking forward to that at all. I like being outside and yes I could buy the insulated running gear………
I’m looking forward to mixing things up, so to speak. The first two legs of the Triple Crown (5K and 10K) are in February and March so I will shoot for those as well as becoming BFF’s with the water.
I believe my goals need to be ongoing and exciting and when they are I am more inclined to pursue them. At lunch yesterday my young client was surprised to learn I was fifty seven. I told him that’s because my mind was roughly eighteen. I believe in thinking and acting young. I have a friend whose health has declined rapidly the past two years. Nothing about has changed except his attitude. He eternally laments “getting old.” He recently turned sixty and noted he probably has about ten good years left in him. Since he adopted this mind set he has become diabetic, found out he has celiac disease and had a cancer scare that resulted in major chest surgery that side lined him for about three months. Before he decided he was “old” (58) he golfed, walked and played a very mean saxophone.
Yes, my body is aging. Yes my recovery time is longer than it was ten years ago. Ibuprofen is my best friend some days, but I am thinking ahead to lots of activity and lots of fun.
I hadn’t weighed for a month until this morning. No agenda here, I honestly forgot about it with the wedding and my first 5K. Given all the stress and running round like a chicken with my head cut off I neither lost not gained. I was pleased. I have tracked my food intake and exercise and I knew I’d face a few challenges wedding week with all the festivities. I think I did well
My measurements however reduced by one half to three fourths of an inch.
Here comes October and all sorts of new challenges. I’m so happy I could squeal.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Anyone who doesn’t enjoy being recognized in a positive way can stop reading. Good, you are all still here. I’ll admit, there are some of us who shy away from the limelight, but secretly, internally, that feeling of being pointed out and recognized is still a very satisfying one. It makes me stand a little bit taller, square my shoulders up and the slightest of grins creeps across my face. When our very actions become inspirational to other people it is the hidden treasure we never saw coming when we set our goals.
“John, I sense a “yeah but coming.” You are correct.
With every accomplishment comes a responsibility. You can’t accept the praise and the applause and believe it is enough to sustain you for rest of your life. It’s why diets do not work. You’ve seen the commercials. “Joe lost eight zillion pounds in just five month.” “Ann went from a size sixteen to a size zero in three months.”
We want to be just like them. We work, we struggle and we sacrifice and we reach that moment where everyone cheers and applauds and we feel so gratified. We made it!! I can now relax and along with it my waistline, my hips, my thighs and any other area that seems to plague me relax also. A month later I am wondering what happened. People said I motivated them, I was their hero, etc., etc. and now things seemed to have fallen apart.
With accomplishment comes responsibility.
My son Paul and key part of Team John (my official running adviser) called me from the airport in Charlotte NC Sunday evening. He wanted to let us know he and his new bride were back in the USA and would be in Louisville around midnight. I was waiting for details of the trip to Aruba. What I got was a lot of questions about my 5K and this:
“You better run tomorrow because if you don’t you’ll put it off and put it off and then you’ll stop running all together. Time to get back on the horse dad.”
Gee, I don’t get any more than twenty four hours to savor this? Apparently not.
So yesterday morning I ran and ran until I did 2.5 miles. I had time to think. I received a Spark Goodie from someone Saturday afternoon telling me I was part of their inspiration to train for a 5K at the end of October. I wondered how inspiring I’d be if I stopped now? Not very, inspiring that is.
After I talked to Paul I went online and registered for The Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in Louisville in two weeks. It will give me something to shoot for. Long term I have to learn to run a 10K and then 10 miles if I expect to reach my goal of doing the Triple Crown next spring. There is no stopping.
With accomplishment comes responsibility.
For you it may be the difference between a cookie and an apple, watching TV or going to the gym. As long as you are breathing there are choices to make and the more success you achieve the harder those choices seem sometimes
Yes, I feel as if I accomplished something but it’s only the beginning. If I want to be a success, in anything I do, than I have to realize I have an obligation not so much to the people that cheer me on, but to myself. When it’s all over and they turn out the lights I stand looking in the mirror and I know who I am, what I did and hopefully when I do a big old grin sweeps across my face.
With accomplishment comes responsibility.
You can do it, you’re a rock star.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sometimes life presents you with an opportunity to learn a lesson you hadn’t set out to learn and that lesson becomes more powerful and poignant to you than anything else. As I trudged up Cochran Hill Saturday morning all I was really concerned about was getting to the top of it. I didn’t care about my form or how I looked I just wanted to reach the summit and then I could collect myself and savor my victory. Since then I have had a chance to think about what really happened on that hill and it was a moment that I believe will change how I think forever.
Between the bottom and the top of that hill was a lot of hard work. There were a few fleeting seconds where I convinced myself it would be easy to pull off to the side and rest. Who would know? There weren’t any people around. I could lean on a tree and catch my breath and then come charging through the finish line. I heard Brandy Reed’s voice. She was one of my very first fitness instructors in May when I was taking my Ab-Blast class. When I would not flatten my planks out she’d lean over and say “The only person you are cheating John is yourself!” I could have pulled over. I didn’t. I kept moving. I had a goal and it was in reach.
When I started the C25K program back in May, my legs ached every time I ran. Running for ninety seconds took away my breath. I felt running a true 5K was years not months away. I had a tooth pulled and had to stop training for ten days. I twisted my knee one morning and had to stop running for five days. I had to repeat weeks one through five.
I never noticed myself getting stronger or quicker or having more endurance. I just kept working. I just kept pushing and when it came to be crunch time Saturday morning I brushed those “quitting thoughts” away and I reached my goal because there was no other alternative. I am a winner.
After we got home I went to the gym yesterday to do some light strength training. When I finish this blog I am going to run two miles. It’s what I do. Success is part of me and as I reflected on all of that the best thing I can come up with is that life is a lot of very hard work and when you take a short cut or cheat or circumvent the system, you lose. It’s like Brandy Reed said, “You aren’t cheatin’ the world John. You’re cheatin’ yourself.”
Sometimes I don’t chart all of my food. I know I’m probably the only person at Spark that ever does that! I work real hard to get myself into nutritional shape and then, when no one is around, I sneak a cookie but it’s okay because if I don’t write it down I didn’t eat it, right? I put a lot of hard work into balancing my diet, especially with all my travel. I learned going up that hill on Saturday that I can do anything I choose to do if I put enough effort and work into it.
Diets don’t work. There is no magic. There is a lot of dull and gray days and all the emoticons and goodies and mails don’t do much to change the landscape. It’s the stuff we don’t like to talk about because who is going to come to a web site that espouses gloom and doom?
The day comes though, when you are climbing your own Cochran Hill that you start to realize it’s the hard work that’s pushing you forward and all of those gray days were worth it. You realize there will be more of them. You know that you will have setbacks but you also come to the realization that no one can stop you from reaching your goals if you work hard enough at doing so. You realize that you can run steeper hills if you indeed have to.
The gray days become more bearable because of who you hang around with. Left to my own devices I doubt I would have stuck through all of this. Those of you who love me and accept me as I am are part of a huge network of positive people in my life who challenge me daily and share my same successful notion of life. Without those people I might slip back into mediocrity. You can be worth all the tea in China and you can believe in yourself till the cows come home but until you look to the right and then the left and you get the good old thumbs up from the people sweating next to you then something is missing. We are always alone in our struggles but we are never alone. It’s the eternal conundrum.
Now, what hill do you climb today? Let me know, I’ll give ya the thumbs up
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