Breadcrumb Legacy

Have you ever taken yourself on a long hike or walk on a trail you’ve never travelled before? Or perhaps you have decided for no good reason other than boredom or curiosity to drive yourself a different way to work or home? Some folks might consider these behaviors as frivolous, careless or downright wasteful of one’s valuable time! Especially given the high likelihood of getting lost when we attempt travels into the unknown. But really, what’s wrong with getting lost once in a while? Isn’t this the stuff of life? And besides, if we choose to take a detour on purpose, we may certainly take precautions before and during the journey to reduce our chances of getting lost. This is the 21st century after all. We have GPS devices on our phones and in our cars. Getting lost is harder to do these days!

So, in honor of our explorer nature, I’d like to wander and weave my thoughts through this post today. What follows are some of the musings and wonderings I had while ascending a neighborhood trail on my morning’s walk. Usually, I walk and jog the sidewalks and surface streets in my neighborhood. Staying on the hard-pack is the most efficient (less strenuous) way to get in my daily miles. But for whatever reason, the idea to hike the strenuous, rock strewn summit trail 2000-ft above the neighborhood, seemed like the thing to do this morning. I’m not sure why I thought today was a good day for the summit trail; I did not have the right shoes for the hike, nor did I have my trekking poles; but the hill was summoning me to ascend and I felt willing to oblige its call.

“There are two ways to get lost: To get lost unintentionally, to get lost willingly! There is adventure in both, but the difference is this: The first has fear, the second has joy!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan

Perhaps it was the verdant, extravagant shades of green covering the usually brown hills; or maybe it was the cool temps of this late summer morning that urged me onward and upward in breathless revelry? Regardless, I’m not sure when it commenced, but at some point on my way to the summit, I began to think about those breadcrumbs. You know, the breadcrumbs that Hansel cast on the trail to guide him and Gretel safely out of Grimm’s dark forest. It was a brilliant idea of his and well executed too. Unfortunately, Hansel had not considered the birds and beasts of the forest who would eat the crumbs and obliterate their hopes and plans for a safe return journey.

It occurred to me, while I was trudging up that summit trail this morning, that we often do the same thing as Hansel did. Have you ever noticed or found yourself on life’s path in a place you had no intention of travelling? Sometimes a sickness or a lack of attention or an unforeseen accident or happenstance can force us to take an off-ramp on life’s highway. Adversity always takes us to a place far from the safety of our own neighborhood. Then there are other times where we choose to travel like an explorer, and we’ll purposefully traverse unknown territories. It seems to me the explorers who journey on purpose, these ones usually have the luxury of following in the footsteps of others who have travelled the route before them. They are like the birds of the forest who pick up the breadcrumbs left behind by former pilgrims.

“It’s okay to get lost every once in a while, sometimes getting lost is how we find ourselves.”

― Robert Tew

So these were the thoughts which carried me onward this morning as I stumbled and bumbled my way to the summit. Those thoughts swirled in my head like vultures over carrion. There was a strand of thinking about how we leave breadcrumbs for ourselves as we journey into our own dark nights and scary forests. Things that look like breadcrumbs for me are activities like journaling and meditative reflections. Especially helpful breadcrumbs are those cathartic sessions of venting and downloading and expressing or wishing and dreaming with friends or loved ones as I as journey through the the land of the lost. You know we all have these times, of living with the loss of our health, or the loss of a loved one or the loss of a relationship or work or the loss of our ‘normal’ life because of a global pandemic.

I realized too, how much we need to leave breadcrumbs for each other, because at some point, we’re all going to get lost in the forest of life. And this is where we have an opportunity to leave a legacy for those who come behind us on the trail. Have you ever considered what sort of legacy you are leaving for those who know and love you? Whether you plan your legacy or not, you are indeed leaving your breadcrumbs for those others who come behind you on life’s byway.

“Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place.”

― Mandy Hale

Your legacy is left in all sorts of places. You know that, right? And these places you leave your breadcrumbs might surprise you. For instance, in this age of social media, what ever you cast out into the ether of the Internet, you leave behind a trail of yourself with every post you make on social media and/or every electronic message you create via your phone or computer. I think this is something worthy of your consideration, don’t you? What kind of breadcrumb legacy are you leaving your family and friends? I hope you’ll make your exchanges count for those who read you after you have crossed over into the high country.

If you don’t use the modern technologies, you still have breadcrumbs to scatter! Your legacy is branded onto the memories and hearts of all those with whom you interact. Are you teaching them how to show up bravely when you are under stress or duress or sick in your body or soul? Are you showing them how to love and care for the needs of others who are struggling with lack of resource or ability? Perhaps you leave your legacy by taking care of those lost and broken others found in nature; the wild things we share space with: the animals, the plants, our environment?

I hope you realize that your lostness in life is not a thing to evade, but rather a life-line to chase and embrace. It is your lifeline and mine; we each need those breadcrumbs to find our way home. When we willingly travel to the high country, where the air is thin and the vistas expand, it is from these heights that we might remind each other…we are not lost when we walk with those who journey willingly with us. And all those others who have gone before, they too show illumine our paths. When we follow the breadcrumbs of trustworthy pilgrims, we are walking each other home…through the dark forest to the place of the rising sun. Carry on, faithful explorer; the view from the summit is worth your each bumbling step and straining breath.


What You Pay For – (Linking Thinking #6)

Are you getting what you want? From your relationships? Your health? Your fitness or physical training? From your occupation or employment? Are you more content or happier today, this week, this month than you were six months ago? A year ago? You might think these are rather self-absorbed types of questions, but I have a point in mind for your consideration.

Today’s post is a continuation of the theme behind all the Linking-Thinking blog posts this year. I hope you’ll read or revisit the previous posts if you haven’t read them yet. You may find them helpful reminders in applying the principles of purposeful awareness to our thought life. Namely, the posts reiterate in one way or another the value of recognizing the patterns of our thinking. Why is this skill so vitally essential? Because the thoughts we curate (pay attention to or attach our beliefs to) are the thoughts that run and create our every day reality. There are no exceptions or work-arounds to this universal truth. Thoughts are energy, and as such the energy they generate is relayed through the brain into the body. Thoughts in motion create energy too, as emotion. The body responds to this emotional energy without bias; this is the nature of human physiology. The autonomic responses to sensory energies are working on our behalf and in our subconscious psyche, 24/7. The physical body is designed specifically to collect and interpret sensory data received from the outside environment on behalf of our biological operating system. Our sensory system has served humans well through the eons. However, these systems have not evolved much though the eon. In this respect, our base instinct nature is similar to that found in all of the animal kingdom.

Remember, the goal right now is to gradually change your response to what you can’t control. To grow stronger on the inside day by day, so that in the long run almost nothing on the outside can affect your inner peace and wellness without your conscious permission.

marcandangel

So when you ask yourself the above questions and if the answers come back with negatives, you might want to seriously assess your thinking thoughts. Are the majority of your thoughts in any given day about the things you want or don’t want in your life? This is an important point to note! If you treated your thoughts as dollars and cents in your bank account, what sort of experiences are you paying for with all the minutes, of all your days?

Energy is the currency of the universe. When you ‘pay’ attention to something, you buy that experience. So when you allow your consciousness to focus on someone or something that annoys you, you feed it your energy, and it reciprocates the experience of being annoyed. Be selective in your focus because your attention feeds the energy of it and keeps it alive. Not just within you, but in the collective consciousness as well.

Emily Maroutian

Seriously, your best life is literally held within the confines of your own mind (not to be confused with your brain)! You create your reality over and again with each and every thing you choose to think (and believe). Might you decide, on purpose, whenever you realize you’ve slipped into unconscious patterns, to spend your attention, on the things you want? It is my hope for you today, as I finish this last series post, that you will task yourself to spend your thinking thoughts wisely. Choose as often as you want, and make deposits rather than withdrawals into your best-life account. Because to think about what you don’t want, simply invites the economy of compounding interest to give you more of what you don’t want or need.



Making the Impossible Possible

What drives you to create and innovate beauty into your life experience? Do you consider yourself a person on a mission? Can you identify at least one thing that makes you light up on the inside so much so that once you engage in that activity you lose yourself in it? If you identify positively with any of these questions, then you are a fortunate person, because you have likely experienced the super power of activating your passion-drive. And as renowned coach, author and researcher Brad Stulberg says, “One of the best feelings in the world is losing your attachment to yourself.”

Human beings are so made that whenever anything fires the soul, impossibilities vanish. A fire in the heart lifts everything in your life.

The Maxwell Daily Reader

I get lost in my passion-drive when I go for long training runs. Or when I sit down to write something meaningful for myself or others to read. While I enjoy losing myself in both of these activities, the goals I have in mind for myself during the activity can sometimes leave me gasping for air…literally and creatively speaking. Even though setting goals is a vital task towards goal achievement, having strong attachments to goal outcomes may often take us to the lands of disenchantment. It is during those times of shortcomings, that we may find our selves despairing if we identify to strongly with the outcome. If we believe that achieving is the ultimate end and reward of our striving, we may give up on ourselves too soon. If we believe that failure is to be avoided at all costs, then the beauty of our striving is stripped of its value to strengthen us in becoming better, more compassionate versions of our selves. So this is why holding our driving desires (goals) loosely is assistive as we journey towards our prize. At least this is what I have discovered.

“In short, when your goal is simply to get better, you set yourself up for a lifetime relationship with your passion, which no longer becomes something you do but rather someone you are. It’s a relationship that can withstand the gravest failures, the greatest successes, and the passage of time itself. For many of the most passionate people, getting better is about becoming stronger, kinder, and wiser.

-Brad Stulberg

While in my goal-driven modes I have found it very helpful to detach myself from the outcomes of any given day’s drive. I have the goal in mind when I begin, but as I go along, if I focus to strongly on an outcome, this mindset blinds me to the joy of the day’s journey and makes obstacles of every interruption which stunt my energy and creative flow. I cannot flow in my activity if I am holding tight to that thing I believe must achieve. However, when I am able to set aside my need to acquire those things I’m chasing, and instead transition my mind towards stillness of purpose, I find myself bobbling along in peaceful bliss-drive. Whether I run or write, I am learning to settle into myself, into my breathing, into my non-thinking and non-judging state of being. It is from this place of quiet streaming that my consciousness (or rather my sub-consciousness) is given wings to escape the cages of impossibilities. In this place of all knowing quietness, this is where I find confidence to believe in my dreams. In this place of streaming consciousness, I am what I am moving towards. So whether I am accumulating miles or word counts, my passion-drive propels me onward towards the promised land of beautiful possibilities.

“I think part of what allowed me to accomplish what I did on Sunday is just always looking forward to the future, so there wasn’t the pressure that this was the end-all-be-all for me. I have no idea where my running career at this level is going to go and where the story is going to end. Maybe the best is yet to come. It’s a beautiful and exciting thing to get up every day and see what I can do.”

Keira D’Amato – new American women’s record holder in the marathon distance (January 2022).


Who are you?

Are you what you eat? Nutritionists tell you this is so. Are you what you feel? Modern psychology says you are not your feelings. Are you what you say? Can we trust ourselves enough to tell our own truth? Are you what you do? Our capitalistic economies depend on us to identify ourselves by the things we do with our money. Or, are you what you think? Have you ever stopped to listen to what you are telling yourself about yourself? You should try it some time. Listening…to the dialog. You may have to sneak up on yourself, and pretend like you’re eves dropping on someone else’s conversation, but take some minutes in any given day to be quiet and alert to your inner dialog. Then notice how you feel about yourself after listening to your own talking thoughts.

“Remember first that everything you think, say, and do is a reflection of what you’ve decided about yourself; a statement of Who You Are; an act of creation in your deciding who you want to be.

Neale Donald Walsch

Do you have warm, accepting feelings about the YOU of your thinking? Or do you disdain and belittle the person, the YOU of your thinking? Do you realize YOU are the author of your life’s story? Can you wrap your mind around this truth: WHAT you think about yourself is WHO you become? Is it time for you to re-write your script?

In my profession as a personal trainer, people pay me to help them reconfigure their bodies. But what my clients may not be aware of, is that I am also training them to pay attention to their mind via what they are thinking and feeling…especially, what they are thinking about before and after they exercise. If a client thinks she can or cannot achieve the fitness goal she has set for herself, then I guarantee that she most certainly will achieve what she is believing about herself.

What you think means more than anything else in your life. More than what you earn, more than where you live, more than your social position, and more than what anyone else may think about you. Every problem introduces you to yourself. It shows you how you think and what you’re made of.”

George Matthew Adams

A very important part of my training program is to teach my clients how to be their very own best cheerleader.  When I am with them, I encourage them, with positive words, stories and suggestions to help them understand that they have the power to change a negative health behavior into a positive healthful habit. To make change in our life is just one choice away. But to choose one thing, means we must drop the other thing, the old thing, the old way. An exchange must be made, like the passing of a baton. To execute change one must first choose…to let go…to stop doing, or thinking or saying and believing those things that no longer serve our well-being.

Mind is everything; muscle–pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.

Paavo Nurmi, Finnish Olympian who won nine gold medals

When I am working with my clients, I hope to become a part of their changing landscape, a new voice in their head. If they spend enough time with me I have noticed these changes taking place in their life. It is often a slow, sometimes imperceptible process, but choice making and taking always induces change in their life-scape. Thinking becomes believing. Believing becomes being. The mind is the master, not the servant, of the body.

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”

— Thomas Jefferson

Everyone feels lost and out of sorts in life from time to time. This is a natural by-product  of the human experience. Since we will deal with difficulties as long as we inhabit our physical body, perhaps we should consider our trials as benefactors in disguise. What if we turned our thinking around? What if we chose to think of those things we don’t like about our self or our life as gifts to help us discover who we really are or who we really want to be? What if we changed our perspective about our upsets or short comings? What if the challenges or frustrations of life were viewed as our soul’s clanging clarion call for recognition? for refreshment? for authentic, loving change?

Consider that your learning goal is the ongoing pursuit of a lifetime of consistent physical movement and self-care. If you are going to be successful staying physically active and taking care of yourself, you need to learn strategies that will enable you to prioritize your plans and be consistent, flexible, and creative as you learn to incorporate physical activity into the rest of your dynamic, ever-changing life. The strategy of beginning with the end in mind asks you to take the long view: Your goal is lifelong behavior change, and that’s what you want to keep in mind ~ always.

Michelle Segar ~ No Sweat

Now tell me again: Who are you?


Do Difficult Things that Force Engagement

By Steve Magness from TheGrowtheq.com

I remember the comment clearly. I was lying on the ground, drained of all energy, exhausted, unable to get up. My legs were a mixture of on fire and full of lead. I wanted to puke.

“Your parents haven’t felt what you are feeling for 30+ years, if ever.”

It was an odd comment. We were at the track, absolutely spent after a session of 400m repeats, and my coach at the time, Jon Warren, made the comment to fill the space as he awaited the handful of us who were there regaining consciousness so that we could first stand up, then cool down to finish our workout. As my brain regained oxygen, Warren’s comment sunk in; it’s one that has stuck with me for years, because it was true then, and had greater implications now.

“When you’re done with competing and just enjoying running, don’t stop doing hard workouts.” This piece of advice came years later from a good friend and author David Epstein. I believe his point was this: as something moves from a pursuit where we are trying to get better to something we do just for health and fun, we often neglect the really difficult parts. We go jogging every day. We forget the gut-busting interval sessions. We default to the pleasant and easy.

This isn’t an article about remembering to do intervals, it’s about the value of doing something hard.

Hard things bring a flood of experiences. The feeling you get provides intensity, depth, and nuance. You feel the difference between local pain in your quads—be it burning or numbness—the queasiness of your stomach, and the effect a CO2 overload has on your priorly clear mind. You get a rush of hormones, from those that lift you up to those which contribute to anxiety to those that make you motivated, numb the pain, and feel euphoric. You feel what it’s like to be locked-in, in the zone, or on the flip side how to navigate distraction and discomfort.

It doesn’t have to be running until exhaustion. We get a similar rush of various experiences when we give our full effort and attention to sculpting, writing, mastering an instrument, or taking on much better opponents in the latest video game that we’ve fallen for. Each experience brings its own unique cascade of feelings, emotions, and hormones, but the experience of doing something challenging, something that pushes our limits, is immense.

We are forced to deeply experience what it means to be engaged in the moment. Doing difficult things brings value. Especially in a distracted world.

Perhaps the world’s most notable expert on myth and ancient mystical traditions, Jospeh Campbell, was once asked by PBS’s Bill Moyers if he’s ever had a mystical peak experience. His response was that he had been privileged to have a few. They all occurred while running all-out repeats on the track. 

This is pure conjecture, but I often wonder if when we don’t take David Epstein’s advice to keep on doing interval workouts, or we fall for coach Warren’s prediction, that we end up searching for something that comes with that flood of feelings, hormones, and engagement. We yell and troll people on facebook and Twitter to feel something (anger with a hit of adrenaline). Or we fall into a bit more productive habit of adopting the latest fad of plunging into ice water every morning. We feel invigorated. Well, it’s something hard, that causes a stress response and forces engagement. Are there health benefits beyond that? Maybe, but doubtful.
 
I think it’s part of our nature, the need to feel that flood of hormones, sensations, and feelings. And I think it’s important that it comes in something we choose to do, that we have control over. After all, we’ve got enough difficult things in our life (work, COVID, etc.), but most of that we have no control over. That doesn’t give us the same effect of hard intervals or even plunging into freezing water.

I prefer hard things that come with tangible benefits besides just being hard, and ones that I enjoy, even if only in a “type-2” fun kind of way: running a weekly hard workout, trying to wrestle with difficult topics and turn them into books, deep conversations on tricky topics with friends, and so forth.

The point is this: whatever your thing is, I think it’s important to be intentional about having something that is difficult in your life and that you have control over.


Being the Light in 2022

Like a moth attracted to the fire’s flame, so too am I attracted to life’s brilliant lights whenever or wherever they appear out of my darkness. Have you not noticed how your soul is profoundly nourished in response to an encounter with beauty…whatever its form or fashion? The light of our soul seems to send out S.O.S. messages to the corners and crevices of our private habitations in the universe…in an effort to connect our life’s love-light…with that of the others. All of us together and still alone…living as though lost in darkness, we search for the beauty of soul-light where ever we go. To exist in humanity, is to hunger and thirst for the rightness of beauty’s light.

There are times when everything seems cloaked in darkness. You long for the light but don’t know where to find it. But what if you are the light? What if you are the very agent of illumination that a dark situation begs for?

Elizabeth Gilbert

It seems to me, that as we inhabit our lives we find ourselves naturally attracted to and desireous of all things beautiful. Is it not the mother tongue of our inmost being? Beauty, when encountered in its many realms, produces a visceral, immediate reflexive inhale of AWE. And wonder of wonders, beauty is as beauty does. It exists without regard for preference or desire. It is the soul’s defining north star. It is the purest embodiment of truth that is not easily fathomed or defined. It is unadulterated, unmanifest perfection. When I consider how to become the best me I might be, I look to the beauty of nature, the beauty of true love, and the beauty of light shining itself strong into the darkness, and then I know; beauty’s truth draws me forward into the next right thing.

The main thing to know is that there are forces within us that want to enslave us to patterns of thinking, feeling, speaking

and behaving that lead us just about anywhere other than lives of goodness. Sometimes a person has to suffer, sometimes terribly, to choose not to let their inner Pharaoh ruin their lives any further. Some people, sadly, never learn.

Rabbi Mordecai Finley

So here I sit, on January 1, 2022, contemplating and wondering what this year holds for myself and all those in my little world. It is tempting to look and perceive a future full of more uncertainty and gloom. It is tempting to believe that our collective soul-lights are smoldering themselves into deeper night. And yet, when I think or feel these dark thoughts, I am reminded, rebuffed, and revived by the light of my own soul’s shining light. The answer to our darkness dwells in our very own presence. Our each and every source to beauty’s life force burns brightest when we decide to let it shine through our brokenness; our own broken thinking and ways of being. A soul’s light shines because it is designed to do so. And a soul’s beauty is shrouded only when it chooses to dis-believe in its own beauty. The soul, mine and yours, is beautiful simply because it IS!

So where is the light at the end of our collective tunnel? Is it possible for all of our dimming lights to shine bright, as one for all? May we then, each one decide, to choose, to remember and to act today, and every day hereafter, as though we are THE LIGHTS in the tunnels of dark! Let’s try, shall we…as we may not even have every one of the 365 opportunities ahead of us to perfect this work. May we agree to endeavor to become what we already are and let our soul’s beauty shine like never before? Shall we muster forward and shine like beautiful light-cutting sabers, slicing through the depths of despair, from our insides out? If each one of us could muster our courage, what a beautiful world we might create.

You are not here to waste your time deciding whether my life is true and beautiful enough for you. You are here to decide if your life, relationships, and world are true and beautiful enough for you. And if they are not and you dare to admit they are not, you must decide if you have the guts, the right–perhaps even the duty–to burn to the ground that which is not true and beautiful enough and get started building what is.

Glennon Doyle

13 Rules For Life

From the Growth Equation Newsletter by Brad Stulberg

The secret is there is no secret. What follows are 13 rules—supported by ancient wisdom and modern science—to help you feel better and be better.

Move your body. Aim for at least 30 minutes every day. More is better. Walk. Run. Lift weights. Dance. Garden. If possible, do some of this outdoors. Whatever you do, don’t try to be a hero, lest you’ll wind up injured. Start small. Consistent effort compounds over time; inertia is real and it works in both directions.

Eat whole foods. Avoid stuff that comes wrapped in plastic. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Pick one to three habitual eating patterns that aren’t great and upgrade them.

Build community. The people with whom you surround yourself shape you. Being super productive is fine, but not if it crowds out time for cultivating relationships. Most people feel best in a tribe. It’s our nature.

Care deeply. The things you care about will break your heart. That’s fine. Keep caring. Stay in the arena. The depth of your life is directly proportional to the depth of your caring.

Hold pain tenderly. When it hurts, be kind to yourself. If you can’t, call upon your community and let them be your life boat.

Give help. We’re all in this together. What comes around goes around.

Get help. We’re all in this together. What comes around goes around. (Also: good therapy helps everyone.)

Stay on the path. Know your core values. These are the tenets you want to embody, the ways in which you wish to live your life. Let them serve as your guideposts.

Fall off the path. Mess up. Because you are a human.

Get back on the path. Do not judge yourself too harshly, but learn from your mistakes. Go to the place you fell off and start walking again.

Be patient. It’s a nine-inning game. We often think we’re in the bottom of the seventh when we’re really only in the top of the third.

Accept what is—and keep going anyways. Somewhere between burying your head in the sand and pollyanna delusion is wise hope. That’s the place to be.

Sleep when you’re tired. Machines are hard. Humans are soft. These are facts.

— Brad


A Living Practice

We’ve all heard the addage ‘practice makes perfect’ and further itterations state that ‘practicing perfectly makes perfect’. In the realm of our health and fitness practices, these pithy sayings point us to the principle of enduring sustainability. So many times our personal approach to exercise and nutrition resembles a mish-mash of practicing or following the latest trends for exercise and diet programing. It’s no wonder we get lost and burned out trying to perfect our well-being when we chase after ever-change models of wellness. Is there a better way to ‘perfectly practice’ for the outcomes we desire in our health?

According to Terry Patten, author of The New Repbublic of the Heart, knowing what matters most to you and having the courage to pursue it is a good start, but it’s not enough. He posits that you must act on your choices, your values over and over again. He believes you’ve got to “make a practice” out of living.

He writes that life satisfaction is a byproduct of transitioning from being a seeker, or someone who wants a certain lifestyle, to a practitioner, or someone who lives that lifestyle day in and day out. “Practice,” Patten writes, “is about waking up again and again, and choosing to show up in life in alignment with one’s highest intelligence,” or what matters most.

So the question for ourselves today is: What practice am I perfecting? In regards to my health? In regards to my stated goals for improved fitness? Today, what choices am I making and what behaviors am I reinforcing? Are my actions supporting my values, my beliefs, my goals? Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. Patten writes, “A whole life of regular, ongoing practice is necessary. We are always reinforcing the neural circuits associated with what we are doing. Whatever way we are being, we’re more likely to be that way in the future. This means we are always practicing something.”

This knowledge behooves us to live our practice with actions that support the values we have identified as foundational to our well-being and well-living. How do we accomplish these value oriented goals over so many tomorrows? I think we can make it simple for ourselves, by simply making our practice the practice of living…authentically, thoughtfully, whole-heartedly.


Transformative Thinking

What’s my excuse? That’s the first thought in my head when I saw this picture and read the article about Cynthia Arnold. She just ran a marathon (3 hours, 11 minutes), pushing her three children in a stroller (a total weight of 185-lbs), and I don’t go outside for a short training run because I think it is too hot (or windy, or dark, or cold, or ???). My question to myself, was instantly answered by myself: “I have no excuse!” Next question to myself: “If you don’t have an excuse…get going!”

Really, I have no excuse for my lack of running these past six months (i.e. all of 2019)! All I have to do is put my shoes on, grab a bottle of water and a hat and shuffle myself out the door and down the street. Instead, most days I have to do mental gymnastics to entice myself to go outside (or onto the treadmill) to go for a run. I think my excuse is this: I believe every thought that comes into my head! And rather than wait for a change of season, I need to have a change of thinking. Clearly, this change needs a catalyst; and I am so grateful for the spark which ignited my motivation anew by Cynthia Arnold and her story which was recently published in Runner’s World.

When I consider how Cynthia runs and trains for her race events, all of a sudden I feel LIGHT, UN-ENCUMBERED, and UN-ATTACHED! Hello, I wake up to my life’s stage and remember that I have the privilege to run whenever or wherever I desire…day or night, hot or cold…summer or winter! True, my desire to run ebbs more than flows these days, but desire is not everything. What I think and believe about my desire or lack of desire is of primary importance. My lazy, weak thinking (and believing) becomes my very own cryptonite! As I think I am…I become. How can I transform my tired, lazy bread-crumb dragging thoughts into energenic, motivational running thoughts? Is transformational thinking a matter of choice? Or is something more mystical required?

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What alchemy may I invoke to jump start my lackluster motivation? Is it as simple as seeing someone like Cynthia doing an amazing thing and believing that the same is possible for myself? If I think those kinds of thoughts, and follow that trail of thinking like bread crumbs on the yellow brick running path, is it possible that I can transform my running, mind and body, in three months? or six months? Perhaps…and as you can see in the picture above, I am a runner striving to run her best…even with weak thinking! And yet, when I consider how important running is to me, and how much I want to better my running and enlarge my accomplishments, it is these kinds of thoughts which begin to make me feel like a runner again. These are the thoughts which make me feel empowered…motivated…energized. When I consider what I have accomplished in my running past, I am propelled to believe that any running goal which I desire strongly enough is indeed within the realm of possibility for me.

So I have to tell you, and I am certain you already know this truth: It is very hard, solitary work, to strive towards achieving something big for yourself! Living life to the full or overflowing is not for sissies or weaklings of spirit. And this is why I so appreciate the running community, near and far; because runners of every shape, size and ability engage the same challenges when aspiring to run their best, whether in training or racing. Clearly, what makes a runner successful, or anyone else for that matter, is the strength of one’s desire and the will to train one’s mind to master the doubts of doom or gloom.

I have worked hard, logged a lot of miles, and try every day to be grateful for my physical health. I always want to be faster, better, and place higher. I enjoy competing and even when I’ve met my arbitrary goal for a race, I always pick apart how I could have done it even better.  I’ve failed a lot in my races, but I don’t let the failures define me. Instead, I choose to be happy about what I can do.  Carissa Liebowitz

So in all of this writing to and for you, I hope to become a part of the alchemy which may energize each one of us towards transformative thinking and moving and acting. I hope thereby to encourage you, if you are at all struggling with soggy-bread-crumb thinking or lack-luster desire. I hope you will read the stories behind the lives of successful runners like Deena Kastor, Carissa Liebowitz, and Cynthia Arnold. Read their back stories and remember, they believed they could achieve great things for themselves…and they were not afraid to work hard and keep their focus steady.

When I see the pictures and read the stories of my running heroes, I think they suffer not as I do. I think my heroes, young or old, are immune to weak thinking and struggle not with lack of motivation, or strength or confidence. And then…they remind me; they tell their story and they remind me; they wake me up to myself and my life as only I may live it. They share their experiences and in doing so, they help transform me and my thinking. I take their thoughts, and add them to my warehouse, to my repertoire of running possibilities.