Of Fire and Ice

Today marks six weeks.
Six weeks ago I took to bed a pounding headache,
Six weeks ago I awoke in a firey furnace.

But today, like so many days recently passed,
I awoke with gratefulness.
Not just because my health is much improved,
But because the remnants of my affliction
Reverberate still within me.

And with each new day I find a way,
To embrace the scrappy reminders with affection.
Like glowing embers after the inferno’s blaze,
The crackling sparks remind, remand, revive;
Jolting consciousness to awaken!

Wake Up!
To gratitude in gratefulness,
To acceptance in peacefulness,
To mystery in wonderment,
To strength in weakness,
To growth in restfulness.

Today marks six weeks.
Six weeks of persisting amidst the refiner’s fire.
Six weeks of re-learning, re-remembering, re-renewing!
Six weeks of gifting, receiving, and growing through it all;
Six weeks later, fully awake, fully alive!

 

Never fear the moments
you imagine will FREEZE you:
unexpected blasts of cold
can be what DRAWS you nearer
to the FLAME of His love.

Darn the COLD.

Thank God for the FIRE.

Welcome to the CLUB
of those braving the cold blasts
in a thousand DAILY ways. 

Every one of US,
in one HURTING WAY or another,
is in this CLUB.

The grace that’s in this MOMENT
is your MANNA.

Wish for the past
and you drink POISON.

Worry about the future
and you eat FIRE.

Stay in this MOMENT
and you eat the MANNA
needed for NOW.

The Way of Abundance ~ Ann Voskamp

grow through

Quote

Endure

There’s a lot of happiness in this world that depends on being brave enough to keep working when it’d be easier to quit. Nothing good gets started without getting to work —and nothing great gets finished without staying at the work.
The Way of Abundance ~ Ann Voskamp


Endurance is not just the ability to bear a difficult thing, but to turn it into glory.
William Barclay


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Quote

In Pursuit

EXCELLENCE IS NOT RANDOM.

It is also more than a short-term ambition, accident, or accomplishment.

It is developed by design and achieved by setting and tenaciously pursuing high, competitive goals.

The greatest champions in history have all had a long-range vision and plan of what they wanted to accomplish in tandem with a complete daily devotion to their specialization.

Having daily or weekly improvement goals to meet will help ensure that you are always working right.

Stay focused on performing daily acts of excellence in the face of temptations to get sidetracked.

The Champion’s Mind ~ Jim Afremow, PhD


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FROM: LET YOUR MIND RUN by DEENA KASTOR

At the core of many of his stories was a distinction between success and excellence. Success was “having“: money, awards, status. Excellence was “being“: living your values, having them guide your daily life. Pursue excellence, Coach (Joe Vigil) would say, and success will follow.


Philippians 4:8 (NIV ~ Bible)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


 

Going All Out

I’m back! Back to running that is. I’m almost afraid to make such a public announcement, afraid I’ll jinx myself, because I’ve been away from my running self for well over a year. That my slump coincided with the passing of my mother is understandable, on an intellectual and emotional level, of course.

But on the physical and cognitive level, I could not accept that this once happy activity flat-lined without my permission. While I faithfully moved my legs on the treadmill, I could not muster the desire to go outside for runs around town. Something had changed for me and my running life. I do not know when or why or how I lost my happy running self. All I know was this: that girl was long gone! And she left me to run alone!

I eventually came to terms with the change, and I settled into a solitary routine which moved my body, but not my spirit. I accepted the fact that I was doing my body good even though I wasn’t experiencing the familiar endorphin rush. I entered 5K and 10K races here and there throughout the passing months, but more and more I felt like I was running in someone else’s body. I continued to run because I could, but I was lost, disconnected from by best self.

During those long months, I found solace by reading about running, or about famous runner athletes; I read about sports psychology and the power of the mind to enhance performance. All these things kept my head and heart in the sport. Most importantly, reading about running gave me hope…hope that I would eventually rediscover my focus, my muse, my love for happy running in the near future.

And then as providence would have it, this past January, an email appeared in my inbox. It’s subject line singularily suggestive and ultimately sinister:

Apply Today for the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon

What sort of a joke was this? I don’t run marathons! Why did those people from New York send me this email. I almost deleted the email without opening it. And I’m not sure why I even felt compelled to open it. But I did. And before I could think the whole thing through, I actually found myself applying for the marathon entry raffle. It took me less than two minutes to complete my registration. With one final push of the SUBMIT button, I became a player. What did I have to lose? Nothing!

More importantly, what did I have to gain? First and foremost in my mind, I would have to schedule a trip to New York City for sure. A trip to the place of my birth, which of course I have always wanted to visit since I was raised on the west coast of southern California from the age of 2 onward.

But wait, if I won an entry, that meant I would need to TRAIN to complete a marathon: 26.2 miles of running in one day! I’ve heard myself say out loud, on many occations, and often in mixed company, that running a marathon is a crazy, over-rated amount of running to ask a body, especially MY BODY, to do! Good grief, what had I done? What was I thinking? I had potentially committed myself to run a marathon! 26.2 MILES! Oh my, that was and still is a frightening thought. But wait, what are the chances of my winning an entry? 1 in 16,000! HA! No worries…I am not that lucky. But what if I am?

If I am that lucky, then there is no time to lose! I can not waste a month, or any months, of unfocused running because 26.2 miles is a very long way! Wait a minute…I signed up to run a Marathon? Well, no… not just yet. That happens later. I would have a month of anxious waiting to do before I would know the outcome of the raffle.

You can probably predict the outcome of my raffle entry. However, I will not spoil that story in this post. In the meantime, though, you should know that during the days of waiting for the raffle announcment, I was pretending to be a runner again. I was running and pretending to train for a Marathon. And while I was pretending, a funny thing happened along the way…I met and found my happy running self again.

And I think I like this new, updated version of me. The reluctant marathon girl. I think I like what she has become; what she has done for me. She has given me a purpose for running. She has given me a goal to aim towards; she has renewed my focus which I thought I had lost for good. She has given me a reason to run (achieve) and a distance (fear) to overcome. Yippee! I have met my hero, and alas she is me!

Now all I need is a plan…but first, I will need to run…did I mention I’ve never run 26.2 miles at once…EVER?

Even though I may never know what propelled me to submit that fateful lottery entry, I am so very glad I did, because I’ve never felt so good, so alive since I’ve begun my training. I AM ALL IN! To be continued…

Nothing beats the inner peace of mind of knowing that you went all out with your best attitude and expended your full effort. Doing your best by discovering the borders of your physical limits is also your own true gauge of personal success.  Jim Afremow ~ The Champion’s Mind

 

Everything New

One week into 2018 and I am still thinking about the New Year and what I may accomplish in it and through it. And the idea of transformation and hope has persisted and continues to appear before my eyes in the things I’m reading and in the thoughts I’m thinking.

The hardest part is what to leave behind, … It’s time to let go!
– A. A. Milne (Winnie-The-Pooh)

To be transformed is to be made new, to be changed, to experience a metamorphosis; to become a new creation. Is this not the wonder and delight of crossing over into the New Year? This hope that the old things and old ways of doing things which don’t work will pass away, and the life and light of newness will attend us in the unfolding days of the new year.

When I let go of what I am,
I become what I might be.
– Lao Tzu

Why does the thought of a personal transformation so tickle my senses? Does it tickle you? Perhaps it tickles, perhaps it pings our collective intrigue because this is what we need…to be renewed, refreshed, revitalized!

Let’s touch everything we see
and change it to hope
Our hearts let’s change to flesh
No more stones of apathy for us!
Let’s look at everything that could be
believing it will be
if we dare
to walk on water
scared and hopeful.

Come, walk on the water with me!
Let’s wrap our fears in hope.
Across these waters we must go our lamps of courage high
Scared and hopeful we will go.
– 
Macrina Wiederkehr, O.S.B.

What needs transforming in my life? What needs changing? What needs to die so I may embrace a new way of being? Perhaps I need to learn a new way of relating? A new way of perceiving? A new way of communicating? A new way of loving?

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs;
ask yourself what makes you come alive.
And then go and do that.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
– Howard Thurman

It’s time isn’t it? Time to walk into the New Year with every expectation that I will be changed because I am ready. I am ready to be emptied so I may be filled again,  maybe even filled to overflowing with every good and needful thing. How about you? Will you go with me…will you walk out with me onto the waters of hope in 2018?

A New Year’s Conversation

Today is the first day of 2018; it is New Year’s day, and it seems everyone is eager to ask or know, “What is your New Year’s resolution?”  I have resigned myself (happily) to the fact that I will begin another New Year without a traditional ‘resolution’ in place. Perhaps I make too much ado about nothing, but my resolution resistance results from having carelessly made too many New Year’s resolutions in years past. I just feel over-aged (sensible, experienced) to be conned into making an order for change simply because the calendar page has flipped.

I acknowledge this practice is traditional and often considered a fashionable thing to do…making resolutions. And as such it does provide fodder for water cooler exchanges during the first weeks of the new year with those of whom we are acquainted. But in reality, the ‘new’ wears off most resolutions before month’s end. Surely there is a more effective mechanism for making long-standing change in one’s life which surpasses this conventional, seasonal system.

So what is our fascination with all things NEW? Why do new things beckon such hope in our psyche, as though all things are possible for us, personally and collectively…simply because we enter a New Year? Why do we give so much prestige to the beginning of things? A new relationship; a new material acquisition; a new skill learned; a new experience acquired. A new life born. A new season begun. Why is ‘new’ so appealing?

New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings. Lao Tzu

Lest we forget that ‘new’ has a very limited shelf-life, perhaps we may better understand our attraction to ‘new things’ if we realize that our human nature is strongly wired to crave the rush of change and novel experiences. It is no wonder then, that we enjoy celebrating a New Year, and all new things, because in doing so we acknowledge and embrace NEW as a symbol of HOPE. And hope always expects that change will work in our behalf.

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning. Louis L’Amour

We see this cycle in the seasons of nature. One season gives way (dies) to usher in the new of the next season. And again, the dark of night transforms the new of day with the rising of the morning sun. Instinctively we know that ‘new’ equates to vitality and life force. The newborn infant screams this message loudly for all to hear: I am alive! I am viable! I am vital! I am ready to grow and to transform! And yet just minutes before the newborn’s birth, she was forcefully expelled from the womb of her first existence.

Now that I have finished this New Year’s conversation with you all, I feel a certain excitement creeping into my mind, my emotions and my thinking. I feel the desire to embrace this New Year, with all it’s propensity for change and uncertainty, with the lusty cry of a newborn babe! I have arrived! I am fully awakened to this new day in this new year! I am fully alive and equal to the coming challenges…fully prepared to experience this new season with eyes wide open…fully resolved to embrace hope through the months of this coming year…Happy New Year 2018! And Happy New Year to all who read this little blog post!

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. Henry Miller

Conversation
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