JOHNTJ1   66,572
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Trusting Myself

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Opinions are like elbows, everybody has one. All you have to do is look out into the blogosphere and you will find that anyone with a lap top and an internet connection can espouse truths for all of creation, for all of time. Just ask me, LOL. Iím one of them. Who do you listen to? Whoís right, whoís wrong? Who do you listen to? I am learning that as I build my own self confidence that the person I listen most to is me. I have trusted friends, people who guide me and whose opinions I really respect but in the end, itís me I listen to, because I know me, love me and respect me better than anyone I know. I couldnít have said those two years ago. Like a lot of us I had a dark and dirty secret: I followed the crowd. I latched on to the trends and fads. I did it to be accepted and after all arenít ďall of us smarter than one of us?Ē Not always.I am learning that while you and I are so much alike we are also so very different from each other. I am learning that I can gain wisdom from many sources and then patch it together like a beautiful quilt that will help me reach my goals. I make it mine.

Back in October, when I fell and injured myself, I did not want to run in that race. I didnít feel ready, but my son and daughter-in-law, fresh from their honeymoon and all of full of joy and bliss ďreally wanted to do this with me. It would be special.Ē I didnít feel right about it. In my mind I wasnít prepared for it and even before I tripped and fell I just didnít feel like things were going very well. I should have begged out. Lord knows there are other races to be run, but I didnít and I suffered the consequences. I didnít want to hurt their feelings. That taught me a major life lesson. It taught me that in a really healthy way my well-being comes first. If you read my blog yesterday you know something good came out of that experience but I canít help but wonder, if I had went with my gut feeling, would I be a bit further along.

God often reminds me that He canít do the things I ask for until I get out of the way and let Him. I do them for the same reasons you do. I want to be liked, loved and feel a part of the group. I donít trust myself because in my deepest darkest soul all I can see sometimes is the flaws, and the mistakes. So I cling to other peoples thoughts at times and pray that if they worked for them they have to work for me. Wont I be loved then, just like everyone else?

Donít misunderstand. I have trusted advisors. I have people whose opinions mean a lot to me. Some of them are here at Spark, and what they have taught me is to value myself. What works for me isnít always going to work for you. I have to continue growing if my own faith and my own confidence in my ability to make the best decision for me.

In the end the long term gain far outweighs the short term pain. There is a lot to be said for the old phrase ďTo thine own self be true.Ē

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 3/18/2011 9:35PM

    Ah yes, the gut feeling, that feeling you are always supposed to listen to, guidance from your higher self.

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DEE797 3/3/2011 9:35AM

    Another wonderful blog and a reminder to listen to that inner voice. emoticon

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MYOWNHERO 3/3/2011 9:10AM

    Aha! It's called wisdom and I'm hoping to get some one day :D

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REJ7777 3/2/2011 7:17PM


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MARCYNA 3/2/2011 3:57AM

    I love the quilt image, I always thought of life as a beautiful mosaic..and agree with you, trust your own wisdom emoticon

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MSSUNBUG 3/1/2011 10:04PM

    Amen! Trusting in our voice is so difficult, but it's our very best advisor and friend. Putting yourself and your health first also means putting that voice first. You're right that you can piece together insights and advice from other people into your own patchwork quilt that works for you--I'm of the firm belief that nothing can be more valuable than this; and you can make no better use of others' insights than that!

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MYSTERY4EVER 3/1/2011 7:32PM

    Great blog. I have been trying to listen to my body and my voice; not those of my husband, kids, family, etc. It has really been helping me.

Hope you recover soon and can go running again.

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HDHAWK 3/1/2011 6:40PM

    This one really hit home, especially the part about doing what you need to do for you and not for others (even when they're family).
Love it!

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DIASTER 3/1/2011 4:59PM

Sure hope you can see what an important lesson that fall taught you, well actually several lessons.
You have reached so many people by not having the "perfect" outcome. Patience, perseverance, humility, the guts not just so say the heck with this. Once again you have reached out and helped the multitudes. Not saying that God tripped you but one might wonder.
So happy that you are out of your funk. Spring is on the way, you should see it soon as the flowers and trees are all blooming down here and the robins were heading north last week. Whole new season full of opportunities. Enjoy. And again thank you for your thoughtful blogs.

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GIRANIMAL 3/1/2011 4:56PM

    Thanks for yet another great reminder! I went through a patch within the past couple of years in which I was so depressed because I felt like I didn't even have an inner voice. I couldn't hear it, and when I thought I did, I was convinced that I was either making it up or it could not be trusted. As I am slowwwwwwwly gaining confidence and real self-worth (earned slowly as I stop comparing myself to others!) I am starting to at least believe that I have some inner knowing. Once in a while I even believe what it has to say. emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 3/1/2011 4:28PM

    Great blog, John. Learning to recognize and listen to that inner voice, to trust yourself and believe in yourself, is so important. I've shut it down many times and generally regretted it; we can learn from others, but we each have to find what works for US and make the choices that fit us. We journey together yet no one will walk exactly the same path.

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WORKINGSTIFF 3/1/2011 1:52PM


Thanks for the great blog...we all need to be reminded at times to listen to that inner voice.


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GRACENFAITH 3/1/2011 11:51AM

    Thanks...just what I needed after my own blog. God works in mystical ways!
Have a blessed Tuesday!
emoticonWalking for Christ

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FATBOTTOMGRL1 3/1/2011 9:45AM

    What a great blog and oh so true! However, this is something I must learn to do, as well. So much easier said than done!
I blogged today, too. I thought I had forgotten how this whole weight loss journey works. I have been off the grid for so long. However, I haven't forgotten. After blogging. Reading your blog, i haven't forgotten, I haven't put trust back into the equation. I let my Moms words, be mine. When in truth, my Mom had no idea what she was talking about. Her idea of losing weight was not eating. Worked for her, not for me! Even though my Mom has been gone for 2yrs, I still hear her words, instead of mine. I know that is something I need to get over. I need to put my trust back into myself.

Thanks for the blog. What a revolution for me!



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EMTFF376 3/1/2011 9:42AM

    I love your blogs, John. I feel like I've known you forever after I read them. I wish I had something deep and provocative to offer here, but my first thought was "opinions are like elbows.... hmmm... I usually refer to another body part... you are more diplomatic than me".


Have a great one today!

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Learning To Persevere

Monday, February 28, 2011

I fell down October 9. I fell down very hard, tore up my right knee and my left wrist. It took my knee over two months to grow new skin and if I hold my wrist the wrong way, a sharp pain shoots up my left arm. Thank goodness Iím still good looking. It was my second 5K. Iíd run my first just two weeks earlier. I was full of enthusiasm, joy and determination; until I fell down. My daughter-in-law said that one minute I was right behind her and the next minute she thought, ďHuh, John is flying past me. Wait a minute. Heís really flying past me!!!Ē I tripped on an expansion joint in a bridge and fell in a most spectacular manner.

I was determined though. Two days later, arm all wrapped up and knee all bandaged I ran again. You can call me brave or bold or determined. Iíll be kind to myself and call it a really bad error in judgment. It hurt, but I was scared, scared that if I didnít keep running I wouldnít be able to run again. It hurt a lot but I kept running. In early December I hurt my left knee. The doctor said it was similar to a race horse stepping the wrong way. He told me it was ďbad luck,Ē and to stay off of it for three or four weeks. I walked, pedaled a stationary bike and wondered if Iíd ever run again. Mid-way through the month of January I started to run again. Iíd run a mile and feel pain in the bottom of both my feet. Initially I wrote it off to not running for a month. The pain got worse. I talked to my doctor who uttered those two words no runner ever wants to hear ďPlanter fascia.Ē I did what every reasonable person would do, I went home and Googled it. I had one symptom out of four and refused to believe that was the problem. I purchased new running shoes; the pair I was using was eight months old and a bit worn, still no relief. I got new inserts and listened to a small voice in my head that told me to take a week off.

Joan told me in all the years we had been married she had never seen me so frustrated. I would wake up in the middle of the night and lie there trying to figure out what to do. I prayed a lot. I got an answer through a Spark friend who had gone through some suffering and some frustration of their own. It was distilled into one word, repeated over and over,Ē Persevere.Ē I have to admit that when I first read their advice I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting some sort of magic formula. Each day was an exercise in perseverance. There were more dark days then sunny ones. There were days that everything ached. I have an issue where my right leg pronates and the tenser I get the more it pronates until I feel my whole gait falling apart. I consulted a running coach who told me that when I noticed the pronation getting severe to stop running and walk. That hurt my pride!!! My confidence went in the tank. It wasnít only my running, I was no longer sure of anything I was doing. My weight bounced all over the place. I wasnít very motivated, yet every other day Iíd go out and run. I had registered for the Anthem 5K in Louisville back in November. It is the first major 5K of the year and usually draws well over ten thousand runners. I kept looking at the calendar and getting more worried. I wasnít sure I could do this!! What is I hurt too bad, what if I stumbled, what ifÖÖÖ..?

I was glad Joan had to work Saturday morning. She would come to Louisville later in the day. I would be alone and I was grateful in a way. If I fell apart only a bunch of strangers would see it. I left my hotel and walked to the race sight, about six blocks. It was 35F and it was still dark out. I must have stopped to turn around five times. I could always say it was too cold, or I couldnít find the race sight, or I could come up with something. I was glad I didnít.

If you have ever been around the start of one of these events you know what the electricity is like. It almost crackles in the air. As I warmed up with fourteen thousand other people I started to feel that wonderful tingling in my tummy. It became clear why I persevered. All the aches, the pains, the doubts, the starts and stops were now worth it. I stood there getting ready to run and I can tell you there was no other place I would have rather been. It all made sense to me.

I ran my race, I persevered and as I made the turn to run the last half mile or so down Main Street I gave one of those Tiger Woods fist pumps to myself and yup there were a few tears in my eyes. I crossed the finish line and lifted my eyes towards heaven and mouthed the words ďthank you.Ē I have a habit of writing the names of some Spark friends on a piece of paper before I run. They are people who for whatever reason canít run right now. I run for them because frankly during the race I draw some strength from their support. I squeezed that slip of paper.

I persevered. My wise Spark friend was correct. Running is just like life. If you believe, if you want something bad enough you will endure and in the end you will be treated to a most wonderful feeling deep down inside of you. Itís a feeling of pride, accomplishment and satisfaction that you did indeed persevere. It may have nothing to do with running but everything to do with you, what you are and who you are about.

If you are reading this and you are skeptical I can tell you six short weeks ago so was I. Then I learned to persevere.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 3/18/2011 9:31PM

    You have the grace of endurance.

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RAD062010 3/5/2011 4:01PM

    Your words and your messages are so inspirational.


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DEE797 3/3/2011 9:39AM

    Thanks so much for sharing this blog with us. I'm training for a half on March 20th and reading this gave me the courage to continue and persevere.

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WALKNLOVE 3/2/2011 10:36AM

    Doing my best to persevere....thanks for a great blog! I needed it!

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MARCYNA 3/1/2011 9:13AM

    WooHoo for you, John, you're such a strong warrior. I was sure you'd make it. And you did. At the moment I'm a bit skeptical about myself - about my own race.But I know together we can make it. Thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon

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AKATUJE 3/1/2011 3:22AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Vamos John!!!!!!!!!!

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JUNEAU2010 2/28/2011 11:25PM

I'm not a runner YET.....

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HDHAWK 2/28/2011 8:11PM

    Cheers and congrats to you John! emoticon

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MKPRINCESS007 2/28/2011 4:51PM

    This blog is the ultimate proof for me that EVERYTHING, no matter what it is, is MIND OVER MATTER. Truly. Because the head games that we play can sink us, or make us get up tomorrow and try to swim again. Our brains are our secret weapon, and they can provide success regardless of our bodies.

You are a winner, plain and simple. That dogged determination to get up and fight another day. That's what I am talkin' about!

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CARTOONB 2/28/2011 2:41PM


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    "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

Live it, John. Congrats on the race.

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GEEMAWEST 2/28/2011 1:48PM

    You're always a WINNER in my book, John! I'm so happy for you.

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REJ7777 2/28/2011 1:26PM

    What a motivating blog! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CMBELISLE 2/28/2011 12:20PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANEPANALIPTI 2/28/2011 12:15PM

    Aaaaaaaah BRAVO!!!!!!!!!! I am so proud. :)

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LUCYSRAIN 2/28/2011 12:13PM

    From the deepest heart felt feelings I have to say...

Congratulation John!!!

Your a winner emoticon

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CHANGEDIN09 2/28/2011 11:14AM

    WONDERFUl. Hope you are better.

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TRIPLE_EMME 2/28/2011 11:03AM


I'm glad that you persevered and ran your 5k!!!

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GETFIT2LIVE 2/28/2011 10:29AM

    John, I'm sitting here bursting with pride for you. I know what a hard time it has been for you since that fall, and how important it was for you to do this. Running teaches us so much; there are so many analogies in it to the race of life, of losing weight, of developing a healthy lifestyle. Perseverance is one of the key ones; way to go, my friend!

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SARAWALKS 2/28/2011 9:36AM

    What a wonderful testimony to encourage us to persevere!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I am going to remember all this as I go into week 2 of the Spark Virtual 5K training thing!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PRINCESSNURSE 2/28/2011 9:11AM

    I always say the people who deserve the loudest cheers are not the elite runners at the front of the pack, but rather the ones that are behind them. That is because the runners toward the back have had to overcome so much (be it mentally, physically or both) just to be there. You did it-- Way to go John!

"The rewards for those who persevere far exceed the pain that must precede the victory" ~ Ted W. Engstrom

Comment edited on: 2/28/2011 9:30:11 AM

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OUBACHE 2/28/2011 7:50AM

    Another great, inspiring blog! I'm so glad you persevered and listened to your instincts. Keep up the wonderful work.

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BTINTERNET 2/28/2011 7:41AM

    What a great blog to wake up to! Hooray for John the Runner!

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WENDYSPARKS 2/28/2011 7:16AM

    Glad you are doing better now.

Wendy :)

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5K Finish............Yay!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 3/1/2011 9:16AM

    Lovely, lovely, big big hugs emoticon

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EMTFF376 2/28/2011 9:00AM

    I want so badly to listen to your blog, but I'm at work!! :( :(

I have to remember to listen to it tonight! You look radiant though! :)


Comment edited on: 2/28/2011 9:02:05 AM

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GETFIT2LIVE 2/27/2011 10:36PM

    So proud of you and happy to hear this report, John! WOO HOO for you!!

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CATHERINEL66 2/27/2011 9:15PM

    Yay! This is great news!! What a fantastic day!

And I tell ya, I'm one of those people who would be running if I could. I walked the dogs for just over 2 miles today at a fast walk -- and I had to keep quieting the voice in my head that just wanted to run a couple steps ... LOL. I've got a couple more weeks of walking ahead of me, and right now, I'm happy to be doing that. Getting out and walking yesterday and today just changed me brain chemistry. I feel a lot more hopeful and positive already.

Keep on sparkin', buddy!

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PRINCESSNURSE 2/27/2011 6:42PM

    WAY TO GO JOHN!!!!!!!!!! You survived a difficult couple of months and perservered and YOU DID IT! You are an inspiration!

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JURI62 2/27/2011 4:39PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GEEMAWEST 2/27/2011 2:23PM

    Congrats!! Woo Hoo!! Great Job!!

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RACINGSLUG 2/27/2011 1:14AM

    So honored you thought of me today! I thought of you, too, and I managed to get out there and run a 5K distance for the first time in over a year. My pace was 15:02/mile, but it was only 45 degrees today so I got off easy emoticon Sounds like we were kindred spirits today! Thanks for everything.

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CARTOONB 2/27/2011 12:09AM

    Congrats on the 5k! I'm glad that this one ended better. And that is awesome that you ran for others. Hope you liked the movie about an elf. emoticon

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LILIVW 2/26/2011 11:25PM

    Congrats on a successful run. I LOVE that you take names along with you. I am running for my Dad (who died of cancer 1.5 years ago) in a couple of weeks and I usually think of him while running. I want to incorporate the list idea - Thanks! Hope you enjoyed the movie!

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    PROUD OF YOU JOHN!!! Hope the movie was good. :) My grandpas were pappies too. (They are better than grandpas)

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MYSTERYROSE74 2/26/2011 3:07PM

    Congrats on your second 5k! You did an awesome job. I like how you carry the names of people with you. That's a great idea!

Terrie emoticon

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HALEMA72 2/26/2011 12:08PM

  Wow. You should be so proud of yourself. What an inspiration.

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MSCOCOPUFFS01 2/26/2011 11:55AM

    thats fantastic!!!!!!!! Congrats!!!!

Oh nooo... she is going to make you go see knomio and juliet huh? lol I refuse to be tortured in such a way... lol But I'm sure you will have a great time with her.. :)

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PIXIEMOM13 2/26/2011 11:10AM

    Today was supposed to be my first inaugural one, but it was rescheduled to June 12! lol

Glad to hear your 5K went so well...and have fun at that movie!

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KELLY40222 2/26/2011 10:54AM

    Way to go John! What a great way to kick start the day!

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_AIYANNA_ 2/26/2011 10:33AM

    I'm so happy for you John!!! You did so well :) I hope you have a great rest of the weekend.

Congratulations once again xxx

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BLUEEYESXOXO 2/26/2011 10:21AM

    You did great! 14,000 people? I couldn't imagine running with that many people. The emotion and excitement in the air must be outstanding! Congrats! emoticon

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SARAWALKS 2/26/2011 10:01AM

    You MORE than survived, you TRIUMPHED! And it's great to see that big smile!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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REJ7777 2/26/2011 9:59AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Takes lots of guts to run in that kind of cold. But you did it! emoticon

Hope you and your grand-daughter enjoy the movie! emoticon

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ANEPANALIPTI 2/26/2011 9:51AM

    YOU LOOK SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy for you and with you, this blog just made me smile. Thank you, its been a dark day. emoticon

LOL have fun today!!!



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The Culture of Community

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thereís a certain self-consciousness that goes with being overweight. We avoid mirrors like the plague. We have a tendency to keep our ideas to ourselves because after all who is really going to listen to a fat person? We sit at home a lot and we wring our hands because we feel the world is passing us by. On the off chance we do put it all together and maintain a healthy life style we feel like a fish out of water. In other words there are times on our journey that the road appears to be very steep and we decide itís not worth the climb. We resign ourselves to being overweight. After all, hasnít that been a problem in our family forever? Itís a deadly spiral. I have close to seven hundred Spark friends. Over two hundred of them have not changed their status in over six months. You have to wonder why.

I had an amazing opportunity yesterday. I had the opportunity to speak with a successful Sparker on the telephone. (Iím not going to out anyone so donít ask, LOL.) I took the opportunity to ask them things that sometimes you canít express in print or with an emoticon. It was not a touchy-feely, squishy conversation. They shared portions of their journey with me and allowed me to ask a lot of questions Iíd never get a chance to answer in responding to an email or blog. Iíll admit to you I was a bit scared. (Me!!! Yeah, me!!!) This person has been successful for some time. As I sat and talked with them I felt, well I felt FAT. LOL.

After we finished our conversation I thought about all of this. As an overweight person I am often reluctant to put myself out there. I know I do video blogs and all but I always wonder what you think about what I look like. I know, its madness isnít it? I often think that when I get ďskinnyĒ then Iíll do this or that or the other thingÖ.. Itís always the future. Nothing is in the right now.

Iím writing all of this to encourage you to find a way to get yourself involved in your own journey because honestly I donít like being alone. In many areas of the country there are Spark Rallyís this spring and summer. I am attending one in May in Cincinnati. When I joined the rally team I didnít know anyone and I still donít know any of those folks real well, but I am looking forward to meeting them. I am looking forward to listening to Coach Jen speak as well as some successful Sparkers and a remote session with Da Spark Guy himself.

Am I scared? Yup, I sure am. What if these people donít like me or judge me orÖÖÖÖ.. Itís really foolish. Like my conversation yesterday I learned that the worst things that can happen to you usually only happen inside the confines of your mind. I can make all sorts of excuses for not attending. I can use time, money and a host of others. The ticket for the day cost nine dollars. My hotel room is going to cost me forty nine dollars. Then thereís gasoline. I have a huge coffee cup on my desk. Every time I decide itís time for candy that involves peanut butter in it, I put sixty cents in the coffee cup. Itís going to defer the cost of my trip.
Iíll remain anxious, nervous and scared until I get there and most likely Iíll sit in the corner, a bit nervous, worried about what I am wearing and things of that nature. On the way home Iíll laugh at how silly Iíve been. Iíll never get to feel any of those feelings until I put my chubby little self out there and experience a whole, quasi-normal life.

There are millions of opportunities. Are there Sparkers in your area you could gather with? Do you Skype? Is there a Spark rally near you. Can you reach out and realize that whether we are at the beginning, middle or in the maintenance part of our journey we are all really the same. We want to be loved and appreciated.

Take a risk with me!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHERINEL66 2/27/2011 9:09PM

    Wow, I hadn't really realized how isolating the extra weight could be. That gives me something to ponder. Thanks for this really honest blog, John. And whoo-hoo to you for going up to Cinncinatti for the rally!

BTW - I'm coming up on my one-year re-sparking journey. You've been with me all the way, and I've really been thankful for your support. I don't see an overweight guy -- I see John, who's embraced the journey along with me (and who is one patient guy!).

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SUSIEWHITE1109 2/26/2011 9:50AM

    Hey John - I stopped by to see your video blog, but couldn't get it to load and congrats on that 5K! I'll come back later to see the video.

This is a great blog, and I absolutely relate to what you're saying!! Wow! Totally! I have been going to local Spark Team Dallas stuff, but if it weren't for Michelene being my BFF (and dragging my butt with her), I'd probably think of an excuse to stay home!

I'm working on it...and even though I've been struggling with eating healthy food, for what seems like forever...I keep showing up here at Spark, believing that the key to success is to never quit on myself!

Thanks for the inspiration today! emoticon emoticon

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MARCYNA 2/26/2011 8:45AM

    I am used to watching at myself in the mirror to check my position at dance classes.
Outside from that, I only see defects & shortcomings.
I'm not perfect, but perfection is death, imperfection is life.
Honored of being in this with you. emoticon

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    To be honest, John, and you know me to always be bluntly honest - lol - I hope that at some point you start judging your worth on something more important than your size. It's like you are on hold and waiting to live until you reach a worthy weight. So what if you are fat? And if you never make it to pencil thinness? Does that make you any less intelligent, interesting, amusing, fun, valuable as a human being? I think not. The world is not passing you by. It's out there waiting for you to join it. So go to the spark rally and sit up front where you can get the best view. It's your view of yourself that is holding you back. Not what others think of you.

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CARTOONB 2/23/2011 11:27PM

    Enjoy the Spark Rally. I don't think there is one near me, but I am meeting a Spark Friend for a race in May. And I went to another's birthday party. Looking forward to meeting more!

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JUNEAU2010 2/23/2011 11:12PM

    I was on that team at first and really jazzed about going. Unfortunately, I can't afford to make the trip............Have fun!

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JURI62 2/23/2011 8:04PM

    emoticonYou're facing your fears emoticon

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REJ7777 2/23/2011 6:31PM

    It may not be fair, but it's true that obese people just don't have the same credibility as normal weight people. One of the points I wrote in my *Reasons to lose weight* is "to be more credible".

When I think of you, though, I don't think of a fat person. The very first time I read one of your blogs, you had just successfully run a race. I've always found your blogs to be motivating, interesting, honest and caring. So when I think of you, I think of an athlete, a skillful writer, a gifted motivator, and a caring leader.

I sure am looking forward to reading what you'll have to say after the rally! emoticon

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SILLYHP1953 2/23/2011 1:40PM

    You hit the nail on the head...again. I'd love to find a spark meeting around here, but I'm a few hours away from any big city. Maybe I'll post a message on my Delaware team and see if anybody wants to get together for a walk or something.

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LOUANN22 2/23/2011 1:29PM

    I really understand where you are coming from. I've felt this way most of my high school years and it still follows me to this day although not nearly as bad. I really enjoyed your blog! Good luck on your journey! and the spark rally.

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GETFIT2LIVE 2/23/2011 1:07PM

    I relate so much to this, John. I have always been self conscious, feeling like I was somehow 'different' or didn't fit in because of my weight, gender, age, etc.--there are a thousand reasons why no one would like me if they really knew me. I signed up to do the Seattle Rock'N'Roll Marathon (the half marathon, not the full one) because there are a bunch of Sparkers who will be there, so it's an opportunity to meet and run with some people I'm getting to know here. There are moments when sheer terror sets in--who am I to think anyone would want to meet up with me? What if I make a fool of myself trying to run with these people? You know the thinking that goes on; I am going to do it, though, because I have learned, like you, many of those fears are simply unfounded in reality. Pushing through the fears to reach out and share my journey with others enriches both sides.

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NJMATTICE 2/23/2011 11:21AM

    "We sit at home a lot and we wring our hands because we feel the world is passing us by. On the off chance we do put it all together and maintain a healthy life style we feel like a fish out of water."
That passage resonated. I recognize that facet of my experience. I am constantly urging myself to get out in the healthy light! Natural Nan would live in her head all the time if not for Healthy Nan dragging her out of her complacency.
Thanks for the challenge to commit further.
Have a wonderful Wednesday.

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HLPRATT 2/23/2011 9:28AM

    Everytime I got to a new exercise class or sign up for a race or anything else I haven't done before, I feel self conscious about it. What if I'm last in the race or I just can't do all the moves in the exercise class? What if I'm in over my head? I'm not particularly overweight, but we all feel this way. It must be worse when you're overweight and concerned about how you look too. I think we all are at least somewhat concerned about how we look. But that stuff is in our heads and it's a shame if that keeps you on the sideline. You're the one missing out and suffering for it. Other people don't necessarily judge you as harshly as we judge ourselves. Last night at Zumba I didn't look around and say that person is fat and that one can't do the moves. I looked around and said it's great so many people are here and this teacher is good. Wish I could be that good- maybe if I keep coming I'll get better. Just do what you can and forget about everyone else.

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An Ode (Sorta) To February

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I owe February an apology. I will admit that for the longest time I have hated and despised her. She is mostly cold, gray and uncaring. She offers little sunshine and no solace. The one day she does offer a sliver of hope is designed around binging on sugar!!! I do not like her. January always brings hope. Itís a new year, a new me, a new chance to set right all the past wrongs and to emerge on the other side tall and victorious. February reminds me that usually by its second week I have forgotten all the joy and enthusiasm of January and nudges me into some sort of mild depression.

February deceives me. She tells me that soon will come March and April and May and if I just hang on my mood and my activity level and my weight will all move towards some positive and livable place. At my most positive, February is simply a month to hang on.

No, we are not going to hold hands and leap off a bridge. As I said, I owe her an apology.

I had a really crummy morning meditation. I could not focus and I could not feel anything very positive towards my day except a lot of dull, negative feelings that ended up in me feeling like I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and just say the heck with it. (My invective there would have been much stronger but this being a family web site and allÖ..) A friend of mine calls them mental monkeys. They are the crazy little thoughts that hop around your head like the monkeys swinging on the ropes at the zoo and keep you from concentrating on your thought and goals. Someone must have forgotten to feed them last night.

I ended my meditation with a sardonic ďGee that really helped.Ē I walked upstairs to cook breakfast and I looked out the kitchen window. Thatís when I discovered the value February had for me. She places all that dullness, grayness and inability to get terribly enthused about anything in front of me as a challenge. She dares me to keep moving forward and to do the things that I know are effective and the things that work well for me. They are the things that will make and keep me healthy. No matter how much I feel like giving in, February chides me, pushes me an d sticks her tongue out at me to dare me to do otherwise.
So I will head to the gym. I will eat within my calorie levels today and I will take time for myself to uncover and deal with the negative swirl thatís inside my head. I wonít do it joyfully; I will not declare triumph or pat myself on the back. It is routine and many days of routine are well worth the long term success I will feel as I move ever closer to my goals.

Thank you February. I forgive you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GIRANIMAL 2/22/2011 10:47PM

    Wow, if you can forgive February, so should I! It would be a lot easier if she would hurry the heck up, though. emoticon

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CARTOONB 2/22/2011 10:41PM

    At least she is the shortest month!

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JUNEAU2010 2/22/2011 9:47PM

    My dad died in February 6 years ago. Even with that life changing event, I refuse to allow a day, a month or weather govern my day. The opportunity to be alive, to experience the day, good or bad or even indifferent, is worth more than being six feet under.

There are other things that derail me mentally and emotionally, but weather is not one of them. Disclaimer, as they say, I am in northern California. (But I have lived in parts of the US that do have 4 distinct seasons, so I am not without experience with high heat in summer and ice/snow/rain for months on end in winter.)

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REJ7777 2/22/2011 9:27PM

    Your blog sure reflects how I feel about February! And yet, you're right that it's a good place to work our "commitment" muscles. February will NOT defeat us! And if we can beat February, think of what we can do during the rest of the year!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/22/2011 9:27:58 PM

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ANEPANALIPTI 2/22/2011 4:03PM

    emoticon loved it through and through. i love the way you renew your commitment every day.

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MARCYNA 2/22/2011 2:24PM

    Your feeling about February are quite interesting, curiously you call it 'her', as if it were a woman......
Anyway I was born in February and I have always liked this month- yes, it's a challenge. If you survive February, you can survive everything. Even a dull, grey morning can be a challenge for you, embrace it emoticon

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BECCALYNN75 2/22/2011 12:11PM

    I have a similar feeling about February, but to remind myself it gets better I like the song the Rose. Especially this last verse:

Just remember, in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love
In the spring, becomes the rose

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LUCYSRAIN 2/22/2011 11:19AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Triumph over tribulation!

We just keep walking the walk, moving forward to nicer days..

Great Blog John

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COOP9002 2/22/2011 10:57AM

    Oh the challenges of staying on track. Thanks for sharing.

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MSSUNBUG 2/22/2011 10:02AM


You said: " No matter how much I feel like giving in, February chides me, pushes me and sticks her tongue out at me to dare me to do otherwise." I needed this perspective today.

I've long said that while it's the shortest month of the year, Feb always feels like the longest. It is cold, unforgiving, bitter, and quiet. It has always been, for me much like you, a month to survive or get through. This year has been a little different, mostly because I was prepared and ready to MAKE it different than in years past. I like this idea of the month as a challenge though, as a sort of "hard-a$$ed" trainer, determined to help me push past my limits.

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SILLYHP1953 2/22/2011 9:58AM

    I had those same monkeys jumping around this morning, too! Also had the same feelings about February!! You expressed my feelings much better, and she does need an apology. I think we're supposed to be hibernating in February!!

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GEEMAWEST 2/22/2011 9:46AM

    "Mental Monkey's" - I love that! It describes those crazy negative thoughts so well.

I'm glad you can forgive February, I'm not quite there yet.

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HDHAWK 2/22/2011 9:37AM

    What a great blog! You really captured the month. I do have a birthday in February, but even those aren't that exciting at my age. emoticon

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MKPRINCESS007 2/22/2011 9:06AM

    I am not a fan of February either........thank goodness it is a short month! lol

Other than that, well, sometimes it isn't sunshine and roses. We have those negative thoughts and they want to swirl and dance, no matter what we do. On those days, I focus on the simple and mundane. How great my coffee tastes. I fake a smile to someone I am close to, and they smile back and then I feel a real smile come. I pet my goofy dog.

Take each moment at a will turn around.

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CICI510 2/22/2011 8:33AM

    Awesome blog and true on so many levels!

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