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Posts tagged ‘Goals’

White Space

“All the windows of my heart I open to the day.” – John Greenleaf Whittier

The last day of January. At the beginning of this month, we made our resolutions with conviction, energy and vigor. As time moves on and our resolve and intentions wane by the dailiness of life, we’ve moved on from those resolutions and on to the busyness of our “to do” lists and multitasking to merely stay in second to last place with the world’s race to nowhere. We make up excuses, we blame our circumstances, other people and then move onto self-loathing for being weak.

But wait, there’s good news! IT IS NOT OVER YET! Rather than unfulfilled new year’s resolutions, start making new day resolutions. Accept that none of us are perfect and our circumstances will never be perfect either. We live in a very imperfect world filled with flawed people just like ourselves, so often defeated by our own thoughts and stupid “rules.” The one thing that we absolutely can control is our thoughts and mindset. If we are breathing, we can still learn, grow and laugh.

In the past month alone, three people I know have passed away. Young, middle aged and older. No matter how old, always a deep loss for those who love them and are left behind. Pondering what ifs, if only and why. All different circumstances, all with the same ending. Death.

The one sure gift that death gives those who are left behind is a call to live fully in this very moment with gratitude, joy and wonder. To celebrate today. We can’t change the past and the future deals us a hand from decks unknown. We only can be sure of this very day and our opportunity and calling to be fully immersed in it.

Forgive, let go, take your little irritations much less seriously, laugh, sing, hug longer, look deep into another’s eyes, say “I love you” every single day, release petty grudges, stop judging others since you have no idea what they’re going through, move on from thoughts, assumptions and judgment that do nothing but steal your joy and drain your energy.

Create the white space needed to reflect, dream, smile and enjoy this day. New year’s resolutions? Nope. I’m going with new day’s resolutions and doing the work daily to meet longer term goals, forgiving myself and others when we come up short and then proceeding with grace to the finish line soaking in the scenery along the way.

Each new day presents a blank page to write our life, one page at a time. Be aware and awake to now, not yesterday or tomorrow. Create white space, allow time to unfold and to witness the day. Slow down, breathe and find joy in simple moments. Open up and take it all in.

Today is a clean slate, a blank piece of paper. What will you write?


Drop by Drop

“The rain begins with a single drop.” – Manal al-Sharif

We don’t finish where we start. And we won’t finish if we don’t start. A single drop joins another and another to create a stream and flow. We discard precious time over-thinking how to get where we want to go. Start. And drop by drop, step by step, momentum and time join to create reality of mere thoughts.


“Surrender to the flow.” – Mike Gordon

Brick upon brick soon reveals a building. One drop and suddenly the skies open to rain. The “secret” is there are no short cuts, the only way through and to is starting, believing and enjoying the road to the finish. If it’s in your heart, it’s meant to be. Start.

Yes and No

“The tension between ‘yes’ and ‘no’, between ‘I can’ and ‘I cannot’, makes us feel that, in so many instances, human life is an interminable debate with one’s self.” – Anatole Broyard

In order to say “yes” to the right things, to life, we need to say “no” to the distractions and disruptions that pull us off center. While some distractions and disruptions can be signs and cues to change, most are mere noise.

Saying “no” is hard. When we accept that we can’t do it “all” and say “yes” to being fully present, “no” comes more easily. Important trumps urgency. Connection trumps transaction. Wonder trumps obligation.

We all need to “make a living” but it need not be at the expense of experiencing a full and grateful life. Get busy being less busy by saying “no” so you can get to the “yes” of living well right now.

The Mettle Behind the Medal

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson

This is one of my favorite weekends – the Twin Cities Marathon weekend, a tradition. I ran my first marathon at 39 years old in 2004. My last two marathons were the Twin Cities Marathon in 2013 and 2014. Last year may have been my last marathon, but I’m not committing to not committing at this point. This year, I ran the Twin Cities 10 mile with Jeanne, Linda and Terry. Three strips of tape wrapped tight around my lame ankle makes running doable but at times questionable.

Every runner has a story, a battle, a challenge, but they show up just the same to finish the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter of their journey. I’ve never been fast, but stubborn and persistent fit pretty well. And fortunately, I surround myself with some of the same.

“For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat.” – Wallis Simpson

“For a gallant spirit there can never be defeat.” – Wallis Simpson

Today, there was a lot of mettle behind the medals. Jeanne, a breast cancer survivor, Mom, Grandma, Cousin, confidant, friend, co-worker, a bit of an ass-kicker and so much more than she knows. Walking joy and delight, she always brings life and the party to the party.

I met Linda through Jeanne in 2004 and the three of us have traveled the last 4-5 years to half marathons throughout the country – officially forming the “sole sisters.” Linda is a Mom, personal trainer, creative jewelry maker and good friend. She has a bone floating around her knee, nothing that a bit of tape can’t hold together.

I also met Terry through Jeanne and “the running group” in 2004. We gather to run and chat on Wednesdays, Saturdays and various running events throughout the year. Terry is 77 and is more fit than most 30 somethings I know. In addition to cancer years ago, he had an ankle replacement and yet he’s still running. He has an awesome sense of humor and always has a good story worth repeating.

These are the friends that I surround myself with so some of their courage and resilience rubs off on me. I have many medals from a variety of running events throughout the years. None are more valuable than what I’ve learned and witnessed by running the runs with friends who really show the mettle behind the medal.

Mission Accomplished

“If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children the greatest of all blessings.” – Brian Tracy

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” – Napoleon Hill

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” – Napoleon Hill

There’s nothing quite like achieving a personal goal after months of work and effort. Each day, through repetition, consistency and seemingly small steps, the goal becomes real with time and patience.

This past weekend, my brother John finished his first marathon and my niece Emily finished her first half marathon. I’ve done dozens of half marathons and am training this summer for my second marathon in Fall. It was refreshing to see the event through their fresh eyes.

When I was running with Emily, she kept telling me to go ahead. I would have finished earlier but I would have missed the joy of watching her goal unfold to fruition 13.1 miles later. Our victories aren’t always in being first or fast but in showing up, doing the work and finishing. And the victories are always sweeter when shared.

Start + Finish = Win

“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Still drying out

Still drying out

I am not the fastest runner. I am not the slowest runner. I run races throughout the year (even in winter) for fun, to participate, to compete with me, to stay in shape.

Today, I ran the William O’Brien 10.5 mile trail run. I am going to rename it the “What was I thinking run?” or “Let’s run on a rollercoater through the woods” run. It seemed like a good idea when I signed up. Starting, never a problem.

Within a half mile, we had to run through a large puddle ankle deep, no way around it. Tentatively tip toeing, as if we could walk on water if we went through gingerly. Soggy wet feet until mile six. Each new corner, another hill – up and down, more up than down. Mentally slicing the run into chunks – mile 7, only a 5k left; mile 9, only 1.5 mile; mile 10, almost there and oh that’s right the unavoidable puddle that didn’t dry up while I was out on running the rollercoaster.

Sprinting the last quarter mile as if I did the entire run, the finish line in sight and an irreplaceable feeling of accomplishment of finishing a challenging journey. Running through the puddles, not around. Forging the hills, running and many times walking. Dodging holes that would break an ankle. All while the birds sang and the rest of nature watched, laughing.

It’s easy to start. The winning comes when we start AND finish – a run, a project, a promise. Start, finish, well done.

New Year, All Year

The beginning of a new year wipes the slate clean, bringing new hope and optimism. Our resolutions are set and we get revved up to tackle everything in four weeks – exercise more, lose 14 pounds in two weeks, learn a new language in three weeks, read four books a week, get a new job or a new perspective on our current job, spend more time with family…  All worthy resolutions, but by February 1st we lose our motivation and give up. “I don’t have the time to do it now, but I’ll get to it someday when I have more time.”

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Sole Sisters

When I started training for the Twin Cities marathon in 2004, I joined my cousin Jeanne’s running group. Jeanne is what I call a “human magnet” – an authentic and wonderful woman who draws people to her with her joy, laughter and genuine enthusiasm. I’ve been fortunate to hang out with her and to meet the many people she’s met through the years. We still meet every Wednesday evening and Saturday morning, hanging out and having fun. Many are still running marathons, most are running half marathons and 5ks. I’ve made some great friends ranging in age from 30s to 70s – all with one thing in common, we all enjoy getting out moving and staying active.

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There are days, weeks and in particular the past three months that push me to the wall and make me question my “worthiness” to be writing about “casting light”. I certainly haven’t been the model lately.

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