“I want to be in the arena. I want to be brave with my life. And when we make the choice to dare greatly, we sign up to get our asses kicked. We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” – Dr BrenéBrown
5:00 am wake up call. Ready as I will be. Go take the test. More importantly, enjoy the journey.
Over 20 years of running the first Sunday in October – 3 marathons and the rest 10 milers. Today, 10 miles. It is a ritual, commitment and tradition that I am grateful for and do not take for granted. A mile at a time moving from Minneapolis to St. Paul with thousands of other souls to complete the work started the first day of training. Friends, family, strangers cheering along the way, encouraging and celebrating. A slice of life.
Get into the arena of your life daily.
Do your best.
Move through the middle.
Cross the finish line.
Start again and again.
Create rituals and traditions.
Keep showing up.
Stay in the arena.
This is the day you make it!
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” – Nido Qubein
“Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
“Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” – Steven Pressfield
Without fail, every time we hit the incline into the woods, the girls charge the hill. Not fast but steady momentum. Forward motion.
Resistance is a guarantee. Downhill coasts come from uphill climbs. Ups, downs and steady. Circles, cycles and seasons. It’s the ebb and flow of life.
When we stop trying to change the inevitable and change our perspective, daily joy can enter and take hold. The battle is in the mind, not in our circumstances.
Charge the hill, take the mountain. Stop pondering and do the work. Sprinkle it with some enthusiasm and a side of joy along the way. And don’t forget to coast on the downhill and let the wind move through you.
“Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.” – Steven Pressfield
This afternoon, I received the Marine Corp Marathon shirt and medal for finishing. This year was different, which is an understatement to describe 2020. I registered in March, trained all spring and summer and it was canceled in August.
I trained for months, so I decided to keep going through fall and run it in the Twin Cities in October. I ran it a week early to beat a possible October snow. Sure enough, it snowed the week after I ran it. I was grateful to run in 30 degree sunny weather rather than snow. I’ve taken the past week and a half off to rest up from over six months of training five days a week. I’m getting restless and thinking about the next goal line, the next long run.
I’m not one for medals, but this one is a special one to be sure. It marks an earned effort over months to run 26.2 miles and finish, even if I was not able to run it in Washington DC with the Marines.
This year has been marked by a tremendous amount of uncertainty and angst. And also along side of it, plenty of blessings and self-awareness, even joy if we chose to succumb.
No matter what happens after the election or where this pandemic will lead next, we are bigger, stronger and deeper than our circumstances. Keep rising while also allowing yourself to indulge in generous self-care.
No one knows what will happen next, but we do know the strength and resilience of the human spirit when set free.
Meaningful progress and outcomes – always earned. Hope and grace – always given.
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki
Liam Bootcamp Day 2 – fun in the sun, swimming at two different beaches and a tennis lesson after a nap. Before dinner, we hit balls against the practice wall at the tennis courts up the block. After missing a few times, he wanted to go to the playground.
Rather than move on right away, I asked him to take a few more swings. This time, I held the racket with him to guide it. We took a few practice swings before getting the ball involved and I then told him to keep his eye on the ball. After a few tries, he got four hits in a row. His initial disappointment quickly turned into excitement and enthusiasm.
Sometimes we just need to take a few steps back to the beginning, to the basics and start with the fundamentals. I didn’t want him to end his first try at tennis on a low note so he didn’t want to try again. Rather, I coached and encouraged him, ending the short session on a high note.
As I gave him advice, I decide to learn the lesson too. Try new things, keep your eye on the ball, anticipate where the ball will go and enter each endeavor with a beginner’s mindset willing to learn, unlearn and have fun in the process. A beginner’s mindset is for all ages, especially non-beginners.
“To find yourself, think for yourself.” – Socrates
“Every human has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.” – Stephen Covey
Too often the past screws us up. We remember and internalize a comment, an action or inaction, a pattern. We build a lifetime of misery based on bullshit someone threw out and passed on that creates a limiting belief and narrative that narrows the world. We carry this angst for years and decades. My response – HELL NO!
Life is short. You have talents, beauty and gifts to contribute. The world needs you so engage, act and participate. Let go and release all of the BS that doesn’t serve, foster and catapult you forward.
Purpose. Love. Joy. Contribution.
We are so much bigger than we allow. Let it go and become who you are meant to be. Enjoy the journey, it is a short one. No fear. No regrets. Yes to adventure! Yes to Yes.
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” – Marcus Aurelius
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” – Marcus Aurelius
We spend so much time running FROM things – change, the past, regrets. What if we invested half of that time running TO things, head on, full speed, filled with optimism? Planning for the best-case scenario rather than settling for worst-case thinking that steals our joy.
One of my favorite daily activities is to run the dogs up to a wooded path where they can run off leash. Sasha wanders and explores while Abby stares until I throw the ball. She chases every ball like it’s the first time she’s ever chased a ball. Rigorous, focused, disciplined play.
Stop running from the dark and run swiftly to the light. Hurl yourself forward into awe and wonder.
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
Our regrets lie in what we don’t do or try. Failure is not in the falling, in making wrong decisions, but in indecision and not daring to venture into new things, to be a beginner. There is a Japanese proverb called Nana korobi ya oki, which means fall down seven times and get up eight.
We learn from our successes and more from our mistakes. We never learn or grow by staying in neutral. Each step we dare to take weaves together into the hero’s journey as defined by Joseph Campbell who also advised “find your bliss.”
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Stay in the arena and never give up. Keep daring, again and again.
“When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day.” – Ella Woodward
Mondays have a bad rap. The beginning of the work week when our schedules spin out of control into meetings, the email pours in and we start making our plans for the next weekend while multitasking.
Take Monday back and dip it in glitter.
Drive a new way to work, take a walk at lunch and give Monday another chance to experience joy. We change our scenery when we take a new route, shift our mindset and make a new habit. Every habit starts with a psychological pattern call a “habit loop” consisting of three parts: cue/trigger, routine and reward. I just wrote an article on habit on Start3Things and optimism is an important habit that can fuel more habits. What’s the risk? Joy, delight, laughter? Sounds good to me.
This post is day 7 of 30 day of optimism and positivity. 30 days is a good time frame to start a habit and make it stick. So take this Monday back and seize the day! Now off to work, not on my regular route for sure.
“Positivity is like a muscle: keep exercising it, and it becomes a habit.” – Natalie Massenet
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou
I have been writing Cast-Light for 8 years with almost 900 posts and intend to continue. And because of this endeavor, I am also launching a new website called Start3Things. It’s been ruminating inside of me for over 3 years and today, on Freedom Day 2019, I am lighting the bottle rocket and launching this new endeavor. It is unfinished and still evolving just like me, but it’s time to launch so it can get momentum that comes from starting, committing and doing the work every day.
I’ve shared the depth of this concept for the past few years with co-worker and good friend Nicki Brunner, Minnemama. She listened, questioned, looked confused and then pushed me to finish the sentence per se. She is a phenomenal human being, artist and writer who designed my Cast-Light logo and designed the Start3Things (S3T) website, which will eventually become my “retirement” business in a decade as it evolves into additional income through subscriptions, e-books, freelance writing and whatever else comes up as it transforms and takes on a life of its own. Maybe even a book – who knows? That’s the goal and the dream. And now comes the work to get there.
“The original concept was based on doing 3 things everyday that move you to your purpose. To becoming the you that you are called to be. And it’s still true today but I realized a few months ago that it’s more than starting and finishing. I’ve been caught the last three years in the middle. I started and then I sputtered and stopped. We have hundreds of ideas of starts but not a proportional amount of finishes. Why? The middle – the working ground. Starting again and where we are at is where living and being intersect.
So S3T started to make more sense as the concept evolved and I evolved my thinking along with it. The only way to the finish is starting but we need that grit and fortitude in the middle to keep going. Starting is easy compared to the work demanded in the middle to finish.
And the concept of 3 took on more itself as well. Life is a series of beginnings, middles and ends. It’s cyclical and dynamic. And in all areas of our life in one of those areas all at the same time. We are complex beings living in a chaotic world. And the one thing we all have in common to be sure is that we are here for a purpose in our daily life, on our years and in what we leave behind.”
Over the next month, I will be digging in with discipline and rigor to research, curate and write content including a weekly enews, building out pages and articles and posting regularly on Facebook and Instagram. Over time, I will be looking at a mobile app and other features to make this a valuable resource to return to again and again.
Thanks to all who have followed Cast-Light, encouraged me with comments and likes and helped me improve my writing. I am grateful and excited to continue to evolve and develop my writing and have fun along the way with both Cast-Light and Start3Things.
Happy Freedom Day!!
“Metamorphosis has always been the greatest symbol of change for poets and artists. Imagine that you could be a caterpillar one moment and a butterfly the next.” – Louie Schwartzberg
So much of the narrative of our life is defined by others, our past and what we all have allowed in. Change the narrative, change the story. Be mindful and careful of what you allow in and keep out.
Like Teflon, don’t let fear, other people’s shallow criticism and comments control your now and your future. Our regret rarely lies in what we’ve done but rather what we haven’t done. Dreams we didn’t pursue, activities we didn’t try, things we didn’t say.
Worry and fear hold us back from trying at all ages and stages of our life. And with one step, we can change it all. Do it afraid. Silence those voices by trying things, learning and growing until your last day on this earth.
Like a sponge, soak in possibility, confidence and hope. Let that feeling of “I Can” stick. Fear is a liar.
“When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough
Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar”