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How I Am Learning To Let Go

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Poor Gil!!

I NEVER wake up in the middle of the night and think, "If only............" Mistakes are blessings. They are meant to teach you something. The mistakes I made in my life are some of the most pivotal moments in my life - life changing. I learned from them and grew and became the person I wanted to be because of them.

You need to tell Gil to embrace his mistakes as learning experiences. And you need to not fret over missed opportunities but celebrate the opportunities you did take. The good decisions you made. Living in the past is futile and wastes valuable time that you can be devoting to having a wonderful here and now. Who has time to look for a place to put blame? You have too many good things to do and so do I.

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CATHERINEL66 10/1/2010 1:30PM

    I heard this one loud and clear .... I think it all starts with ourselves. And the second I start blaming others, I take it as a big signal to look at the pot calling the kettle black (self projection!).

Good blog!

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CINDYHOUGHTON 10/1/2010 12:27PM

    I love what Joyce Meyer says: hurting people hurt people and we are always looking for where to place blame. Addicts don't begin to heal until they take responsibility for their own actions and neither do the rest of us. We cannot control anyone but ourselves;. Let's do the best we can to do so and pray for everyone else!Good blog!

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WISEONE68 10/1/2010 11:53AM

    Great blog, Friend!! Forgiveness is I said before, and will share till it doesn't make sense to me any longer...

"Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

When we don't forgive, we are only hurting ourselves and our relationship with the Lord!!!!

Have a great day!!!

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 10/1/2010 11:43AM

    Thanks John. I'm working on it.

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ZURDTA- 10/1/2010 11:41AM

    True, John...

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GETFIT2LIVE 10/1/2010 11:08AM

    You are wise, John. Forgiveness is essential to our own freedom; we only tie ourselves up in knots and strengthen the chains that bind us to the wall when we choose to not forgive. Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a choice that we make, sometimes once but more often day by day, minute by minute.

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NJMATTICE 10/1/2010 9:47AM

    It's an important job to be at peace with ourselves. I find that there's little peace when you are attending to a fresh wound. It just plain hurts. Like a cut. You have to dance around a bit, blow on it, "ooh, ouch, ouch, sheesh, (whine, whine) shoot!" etc. Then when the initial pain gets under control, then you can get to the healing and forgiveness. You friend Gil is freshly wounded. Still dancing around. I hear his pain. Ouch! But blaming only helps us cling to the pain. Some of us seem to like pain. That way we have an excuse to use our medications. I'm learning to accept the pain for what it is, experience it, let it run it's course and then move on. Thanks for the thoughtful blog Mr. J.

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AKATUJE 10/1/2010 9:31AM

    Somehow it is hardest to forgive me, but ia m learning slowly that God loves me and forgives me and practicing to let go of my mistakes. You are so right, they do chain us to a wall and keep us in the same nasty place. Out with my whip!!!


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JAE_HENNINGTON 10/1/2010 9:26AM

  Oh my dear friend.. we always seem to be on the same page.. I have for awhile now ( ok a lifetime) been trying to let go and forgive those in the past who have hurt me and helped mold me .. I say I do.. but then have no desire to let them back in my life to do it again.. so is this true forgiveness or just something I do for self protection I am not sure...I am learning these life lessons and I am determined to keep on the road no matter how bumpy it gets... thank you for being a friend and being inspiring to us at Sparks

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September Update and All Sorts of Other Ramblings

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.

Party On

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHERINEL66 10/1/2010 1:38PM

    I vote for YOU doing that mini trathlon, John! You go first, LOL, then I'll try one!

Winter worries me. Not so much the working out outside (it's plenty nice in the gym) but I worry about getting depressed. Ugh. I'm girding myself with a strong foundation of routine exercise, and I WILL stick to the running and spinning program I've established over the winter, and keep my nutrition first class. The rest will take care of itself if I take care of me.

Funny about your friend. My mom is 61, hasn't worked in 10 years, finally got disability, and works really hard at creating barriers and excuses as to why she 'can't' do anything, including biking, yoga, walking the dog, going in pools .... you name it, she can name a 'reason' why not. Sigh. You know, we believe what we tell ourselves ...

I'm telling myself that you're doing GREAT and so am I! Keep up the good journey my friend!

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MARCYNA 10/1/2010 12:06PM

    Loooooooove the'll just get into swimming in no time and it'll be so good for you John....
I'm sure you'll meet a lot of fantastic new people and you'll be happy of your decision, the stars are all on your side.
If you feel young, your body stays young.
I believe it even if I can't prove it scientifically. Go ahead, John. Well done. emoticon emoticon
PS How's your book project going?
You must have already lots of good stuff!

Comment edited on: 10/1/2010 12:15:01 PM

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CATNAP45 10/1/2010 6:36AM

  Swimming is my exercise of choice year around. They've even shown that it's good for your bone density like running is, but much easier on your joints. If you're going to take it up, I strongly suggest that you find a coach to give you technique pointers - good technique can make a huge difference. If finding a coach is not possible, there are websites like swimforfitness that offer programs of varying levels of fitness / time.

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ANEPANALIPTI 10/1/2010 4:34AM

    Ahhh I now look forward to your blogs, love them. :-)

Just like swimming is alien to you, I don't know how to ride a bike! I want to learn so bad!!!!!! I think that its so awesome that there's a program in November for first timers! YOU SHOULD SO DO IT!!!!

Having run in 20 degree weather, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the wicking winter running gear. You just might love it!!! emoticon I find its like starting morning running, which i did recently. When you first start out in the freezing temps, you're like: WHAT IS WRONG W ME!?!?! I DIDNT THINK I HAD A DEATH WISH?!!? Then at the end you feel SO rewarded.

Woot. Looking forward to October just as much. emoticon

You go!!! :D

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    Winter is no biggie on the exercise scene and it is actually easier to me than the horrible summer heat and humidity unless there is ice and then it can be a bummer. But that is what they make treadmills for. My hubby and I enjoy our winter walks. You just bundle up and get out there. I think Dr. Roisen said it best when asked, "But what if it's hot?" And he replied, "You get out and exercise." "And what if it's raining? "You get out an exercise." "Snowing?" You know the drill.

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JUSTFOXXY 9/30/2010 7:13PM

    Learned any good Greek words lately?

Go for it! emoticon

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REJ7777 9/30/2010 1:08PM

    Squeal on!!! emoticon

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SMOCKON 9/30/2010 10:47AM

    Reading your blog always sets me up for a good day!

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STORMTMB 9/30/2010 10:14AM

    John, I like that you're keeping it fresh with new goals and new challenges, not just longer runs, but new forms of exercise. Keep up the great work, John! We're here rooting you on every single day!

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LOOKY-LOU 9/30/2010 10:09AM

    It was your 5k that actually got me to try running on Tuesday. I figured if you could do it, so could I...

Okay, so one run in (for me) start talking TRIATHLON?????

Have a good one! emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 9/30/2010 9:55AM

    Go for that triathlon, John! I have been contemplating doing one as well, but I have to find one that is far enough off in the future to allow time for getting a bike and getting back in the water. Way to go on maintaining during all the craziness of the month; losing in the measurements shows you're still on the right track in the midst of everything. Yes, I've been thinking about winter, too; I want to run outside as much as I can, so for me it's more about rain gear than anything else (Seattle is, uh, damp in the winter--oh wait, that's most of the year!). I want to extend my distances so I can run a half marathon(!) eventually, maybe sooner rather than later.

Winter? Bring it on! emoticon

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HLPRATT 9/30/2010 9:53AM

    Cooler weather is actually more comfortable to run in. And I think it helps my whole outlook to spend some time outside even if it's cold. (I just have to cover my ears and hands) Then there's always the treadmill when it's really cold.
You are exactly right about oldness and attitude. Youth is excited about new things and I want to keep that alive. And you John are doing a good job at that. Age dreads anything new. (Yes I can learn this new computer system)

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NJMATTICE 9/30/2010 9:48AM

    I look forward to your tales of the DEEP. Swimming is a great exercise and never hard on the aging joints. You are going to be good friends with the water, I'm sure of it. Way to keep it fresh and exciting and always evolving! Have a wonderful Thursday, John!

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STILLPOINT 9/30/2010 9:46AM

    Wonderful JOhn!!! With the wedding and all, you did fantastic with your goals this month and managed to maintain your weight. That's a great accomplishment AND you know you did well and are proud of yourself and setting goals for next month. Perfect.

Have a wonderful day,

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"Have you tried letting go..."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Learning to let go of the little things

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURENV2003 3/19/2012 12:15PM

    Thank you so much for this inspirational message. It really helped me today!

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JENNY888 10/5/2010 6:03PM

    Thanks for the great blog John. All of yours are good but I think this is one of the best.

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LUNDIEP 10/2/2010 12:42PM

    I'm behind in watching vlogs, yet I believe it may have been ordained that I hear this today. I'm grateful for the wisdom you share.

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MARCYNA 10/1/2010 11:56AM

    Your blog today targets my biggest challenge.
I admit there's somebody chained in the dungeon of my mind,John.
Some days I let them go, sometimes I just can't.
I have some hopes, as I am being successful in some skills, I will transfer the skill to something else,,,like letting go.
I'm sure I am not alone on this path, thanks for sharing

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KT-NICHOLS-13 9/30/2010 3:52PM

    I guess I don't always know what it feels like or looks like to "just let go." How do we just let go? Maybe that's why somethings are stuck in my inner mind. Any suggestions?

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 9/30/2010 8:28AM

    Ok, this is the third time this week that someone has talked to me about forgiving. Ugh! Think God's trying to tell me something?!

I have one question tho that no one seems to be able to answer. How do you forgive that person and still protect yourself from their venom? I don't want to be poisoned (deeply hurt) again. I can't figure out how to keep that from happening unless I keep them at arms length and I can't figure out how to forgive them if I hold them at bay. It's a extended family member so they are active in my family of origin. Hard to avoid them and yet I don't want them in my life. Is one able to forgive and still keep them out of your life when in the past they were a significant participant?

I love your blogs John!

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MKPRINCESS007 9/30/2010 12:54AM

    Oh hit the nail on the head again! Love the quotes especially the one about the rocking chair. Goodness knows I have been worrying too much lately, and have been guilty of not letting go of issues with people and my own worrisome thoughts. I think this is going to be a work in progress for me, big time!

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ACROSONIC 9/29/2010 8:04PM

    Great blog and wise thoughts! Don't you wish we had figured these things out when we were younger?!

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REJ7777 9/29/2010 7:41PM

    There's a lot of wisdom in that vlog, especially that idea about chaining someone in the dungeons of our mind. Ooof! That is NOT how I want to live my life.

As you say, letting go can be hard but it's the only way to freedom!

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LUVMYK9S 9/29/2010 4:36PM

    Great vlog John! I have a tendency to worry about things that I have no control over and I also have a tendency to overeat to compensate for those feelings. I love the quote from your grandma about worry is like a rocking chair ... it gives you something to do but you don't get anywhere!

Thanks for reminding me to just let go of the little stuff ...

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EDWINA172 9/29/2010 1:30PM

    I love the line..."alternating between being Mother Theresa and the Devil." That is exactly how I feel sometimes!
I am also a worrier. I have learned to "wait to worry". It works. I used to worry about next week, next month, next year. Now, I wait to worry. I wait until I have something to ACTUALLY worry about, something that IS in my control.
One of my favorite quotes is, "Hate corrodes the vessel that carries it." So true. I am going to use the quote you mentioned about drinking poison. Thanks for sharing John.

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ANEPANALIPTI 9/29/2010 10:08AM

    Thanks so much John emoticon Really well said and thought out and put together and totally on the money!

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STORMTMB 9/29/2010 9:58AM

    I needed that one John. Teri always tells me that I'm only hurting myself when I fester on something and the other person isn't hurt by it not one bit. The poison quote was a good one. Hadn't heard that before.

Oh yes, and thanks for clarifying that the old days were the 60's. Good to know for future points of reference. Have a good one .

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YOGINI_JACKIE 9/29/2010 9:54AM

    I like that you use your walking for motivation. Letting go is something I always need work on, but Spark is definitely helping me with that. Thanks as always for your wise words!

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DEE797 9/29/2010 9:51AM

    Thanks John for a GREAT vlog. It's like you are reading my mind cause there are many things that I need to "let go of" so your vlog came at a good time. Thanks again for sharing it with us. Wishing you continued success on your journey! emoticon

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With Accomplishment Comes Responsibility

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEE797 9/29/2010 10:04AM

    Another great and insightful blog. You are a terrific writer and an inspiration. Keep it going! Good Luck with your next race. emoticon

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WALKNLOVE 9/29/2010 6:52AM

    John, your encouraging words know no end! I stand in awe of this everyday man with everyday struggles running his race....not just the physical one, but the mental one and the one called life.Running this race with faith and determination.Thanks John for being a real life example to all of us...short comings and all! I, for one, think you are quite amazing! God bless my friend. And in the familiar quote from a well known movie..."Run Forrest, Run!!!!" emoticon

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    I really love your son Paul. He's my kind of guy! Now get back out there on your horse and stay there. ROFLMBO!! Love it!!

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ZURDTA- 9/28/2010 3:34PM

    You are right...

Good luck with the race.

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MARCYNA 9/28/2010 2:37PM

    I guess I'll have an apple, John emoticon emoticon

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FXYGMA 9/28/2010 12:15PM

    This blog was very inspiring and right on with the accomplishment & responsibility. So often after someone gets recognized they let it go to their head and think they are there but in reality it is always something to work toward the next goal whatever that may be! Never Give UP or Put Off Tomorrow What You Should Do Today! Thanks for your blog!

Melinda emoticon

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JAKEANDNELLIE 9/28/2010 11:31AM

    You are so right - there have been times I just wanted to quit and fall back into my old habits and old life - and then I get a message from a friend here and know that I need to keep pushing forward. I can't let them or myself down.

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GETFIT2LIVE 9/28/2010 10:06AM

    Bingo--right on, John. Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary kay Cosmetics, said it well:

Nothing wilts faster than laurels that are rested upon.

Achievements are great; we need to set goals and accomplish them, but when we are done with one, we can't just bask in the glory and stop. There is always more to be done, another goal to conquer, another hurdle to get over. If we stop, we start sliding backwards, and that is NOT the direction either of us want to go. Keep running; there are more races to be run, more distances to go, more times to beat. That's one of the beautiful things about running: one race is not enough for most of us, there's always one more to keep us moving!


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REJ7777 9/28/2010 10:00AM

    What a great coach you have in that son of yours! emoticon

There's such an important truth in this blog! I've lost weight before, but then sabotaged myself rather than keeping on. We can savor victory... but must keep doing what needs to be done! I'm learning so much from SP blogs. Thanks!

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SANDYK4BAMA 9/28/2010 9:51AM

    Yes YOU are!!
(a rock star)

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NJMATTICE 9/28/2010 9:39AM

    The most important responsibility is to yourself. Do what pleases John. (I say this as a recovering people pleaser. ) It's a fine line between responsibility and people pleasing to be sure. It may sound selfish, but your ultimate responsibility is to the health and well being of John. Just a small reminder. Unsolicited, I might add.
Have a great Tuesday and run like the wind!

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777GRACE 9/28/2010 9:19AM

    woe to me I am undone....and will be for a while. Will I be done in glory?
Thank you for all your blogs, I cannot write like that but I think it!!!!!!

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CAHUNO2 9/28/2010 9:08AM

    You are right on! Maybe I would add something. When you reach a goal - set up the next one. I have a whole list of Goals!! emoticon

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MOMGABE 9/28/2010 8:56AM

    I liked the title of your blog "With accomplishment comes responsibility". It reminded me that even though I have run 10 races this summer, I still need to set new goals for my running and physical fitness. I have another race scheduled for October 24th so this next month is a good time to work on speed drills so I can set a new PR. Good luck with your race in 2 weeks.

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DOLLBABE56 9/28/2010 8:46AM

    You have done so well John that you can't be any less than inspiration to us all. Wow, another race in 2 weeks. Impressive! You son is very wise and you are lucky to such a great coach.

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STORMTMB 9/28/2010 8:24AM

    Lots of people are looking to you, John. You are a rock star - so get your butt out there and run!!! emoticon

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HONORINGGOD 9/28/2010 8:11AM

    GOD has called us into the ministrie john .not as pastors ,but still called .to who you ask ?everyone he sends in our daily path .let us glory him by telling the hurting people how he has &is continuing to heal us both body &mind.Ithank GOD for his SON JESUS,&you a ambassador for him john emoticon emoticon

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What I Learned Going Up The Hill

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

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NASFKAB 7/8/2014 1:08AM

  such a thought provoking blog thanks for sharing your feelings

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LYNMEINDERS 7/7/2014 6:06PM

    Brilliant blog John....don't know how I missed it first time around....

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MANILUS 5/8/2012 8:32PM

    I searched through all the blogs to find this one you just referred to, some really good thoughts in here. Best of all: you CAN do anything you set your mind to!

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THE_NEW_MELISSA 5/7/2012 10:42AM

    Love this blog! Read your other one and wanted to hear your thoughts on this one as well. You're only cheating yourself...exactly. :)

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REJ7777 9/28/2010 10:13AM

    Great reality check!

I had to laugh out loud when I read: " I sneak a cookie but it’s okay because if I don’t write it down I didn’t eat it, right?" emoticon Were you looking over my shoulder when I didn't write down the cookie I ate? As you said, I'm only cheating myself.

Have a Sparking day! emoticon

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KLEONIKI 9/28/2010 5:13AM

    Lovely as always!
A mere pleasure reading it!
Like a much desired rain in a dry soil for me!
Take care dear fellow and keep on inspiring us!
K. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HDHAWK 9/27/2010 8:29PM

    Love this blog John!! My hill today was dealing with a work situation. I stuck to my food plan and even though it's getting late and I still have things to do, I'm going out for my walk. That's my hill today. Thanks for helping me and many other climb up it! emoticon

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ZURDTA- 9/27/2010 1:51PM

    I am thinking about running in January - certain that I will strong enough by then (over coming several injuries) and YOU are my main inspiration. Of course I got to do it yet! BUT I never thought running was an option - I have never run, ever and I thought I couldn't. BUT you did it... I may not do it as well, but I figure I can try!

Thank you.

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WALKAWAY 9/27/2010 12:30PM

    emoticonblog John. I'm printing this out and putting it my journal. Thanks for being a great inspiration. emoticon

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JOSH20101 9/27/2010 12:04PM

    John you are an inspiration to me

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MORTICIAADDAMS 9/27/2010 11:42AM

    I'm facing a stressful week but I'm planning ahead and not letting it throw me. I have to make do the best I can and do damage control.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 9/27/2010 10:12AM

  John I have missed reading your blogs.. the inspiration, the truth that you bring to us..but most of all I love the fact that you are willing to share yourself and let us see you at your is there that we find ourselves...

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YOGINI_JACKIE 9/27/2010 10:09AM

    John, as always, amazing blog. You continue to be my inspiration. Keep climbing those hills!

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GETFIT2LIVE 9/27/2010 10:04AM

    You are right, John. It is the hard work that pushes us forward, and it's the people we hang out with who challenge us to not give up. Thanks for being one of my network of positive people!


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WISEONE68 9/27/2010 9:22AM

    I needed this blog today! Your "Hill" story is what I am facing today. Getting back on track after a long "absence". Boy, is it hard! I have been sick for three-four weeks now...I am convinced it is that fact that I have not been eating right and exercising since vacation! When I exercise and eat right, I may get sick--but, I recover quickly.
Oh sure, my back hurts, I am tired, etc. I have every excuse in the book...but, I am only cheating myself!!!! Truer words I have not found on this site!!!!!
thanks, dear Friend, for your insight, your strength, and endurance. It will get YOU far!!!! Be well, happy and safe!!


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SANDYK4BAMA 9/27/2010 9:19AM

    PS, I'm going to print this now, because sometimes on those gray days, I really need to hear this (or read it), but in my mind I can hear you telling me this.

Yesterday my family and I did the Chattanooga Komen Race for the Cure, and while we only walked it, there were a LOT of hills, !steep hills!, and I had the same thoughts as you, just cut thru that road -- no one will know, cut out that piece of the race, it'll be okay, but I didn't, and I felt better for it at the end, because I knew I did the whole thing.

I thought about you often on that walk, thought of you the day before RUNNING every one of the steps I was taking, and I am in such awe! I am so sore from just walking that walk, and I can't even comprehend how one could run it. But run it I will, and it may take me years to get there, or like you I may do one within this year or early next year, but if you can do it, I can do it. And if I sprain something, I'll take a break, then get back after it. If I need a tooth pulled and they make me sit for awhile, I'll do that too, but I'll get back after it. I can, John, I know I can. I know it because YOU did it!! YOU DID IT!!! Words cannot express the gratitude or the heart-felt overwhelming love I feel for you for making those tiny steps into something great! You give me hope and inspiration! Thank you John...thank you for persevering and giving me H-O-P-E. I run low alot on that.

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ANEPANALIPTI 9/27/2010 9:18AM

    You have put sparkpeople into a nutshell. I moved to Greece last year for university and as first semester ended and I was facing my first finals (IN GREEK!) I panicked (literally the day I reached my lowest weight, 57 pounds down), retreated, and fell into my own darkest shadow. I kept trying to get back up, but something was always missing. And it was the community of spark! Now I'm back, lost 10 pounds of the 35 I had regained, and feeling so much better!

We dont have anything to hide. We're not bad people because we are/were overweight/obese. We can be fit and healthy individuals. And when we believe we're worth it, and are willing to put the work into OURSELVES, we get it.

emoticon here's YOUR thumbs up John!!!! You inspire me!!!


Comment edited on: 9/27/2010 9:18:39 AM

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SANDYK4BAMA 9/27/2010 9:12AM

    JOHNTJ1 - My Hero!


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DOLLBABE56 9/27/2010 8:51AM

    You are so right. Everyone as the own ups and downs. Hopefully more ups than downs. I am learning to accept and move on. Not to dwell on my mistakes, i.e.: making and eating 3 helpings of blackberry cobbler (and not the low fat kind) last night. I knew before I made it that this would happen. Did it anyway. Okay, so I put in my food tracker and I moved on. It doesn't matter, it's in the past. Oh, and BTW, the cobbler is now in the trash can. lol

Today I will start Week 6 of C25K. Since it has decided to finally rain, I will use the treadmill again. I'd better do this this morning and resist going back to bed. Yeah, treadmill wins.

Thanks for the blog, John.

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STORMTMB 9/27/2010 8:23AM

    Great blog, John.

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