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Posts tagged ‘Health’

Gratitude Journal

“The good life consists in deriving happiness by using your signature strengths every day in the main realms of living. The meaningful life adds one more component: using these same strengths to forward knowledge, power or goodness.” – Martin Seligman

Gratitude is a key ingredient to real optimism and whole-hearted living. Starting a daily gratitude journal can transform ordinary days into extraordinary days.

A Verywellmind.com article offers some simple and doable tips on starting and maintaining a gratitude journal:

  1. Decide on a Journal – online or paper;
  2. Decide on a framework – long form or lists;
  3. Commit to a schedule – do it everyday;
  4. Keep writing – things unwind and unfold when we write them down.

The 5 Minute Journal app has a morning and evening check in a very simple format. In the morning, you record 3 things you are grateful for and 3 things you will do to make today great? And then daily affirmations – I am… In the evening, you record 3 amazing things that happened today, How could I have made today even better? You can look back and see how you make progress when you do it daily.

Being intentional, aware of your blessings daily and saying “thank you” fosters an abundance mindset. Knowledge, power, goodness.

“‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” – Alice Walker

Not easy, not perfect but GOOD!

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” – Kevyn Aucoin

After a pretty good run this morning, Jeanne and I stopped for coffee before getting to the details of the day. Another running friend Soni – 80 years young – stopped by to say “hi.” She was telling us that she’s got some knee problems so she’s only running 2 miles every other day until she can get back to her daily schedule. She runs early in the morning and could outrun people half her age.

Jeanne and I were sharing our own ailments and injuries preventing us from doing what we want to do. All of us were in agreement that while we may be slowing down, we’re not stopping.

Soni then summed it up “it’s a bitch” and then we all started laughing – it set the tone for the day. And her t-shirt was perfect too – “Life isn’t easy. Life isn’t perfect. Life is good.” Jeanne told her that she was her hero and Soni’s response was “I don’t feel very heroic.” Moving through life with joy despite circumstances and challenges is heroic indeed.

The gospel this week was the story of Martha and Mary. Martha was working hard, preparing and in full worry mode. She was upset when Mary chose to not help her but rather to rest at Jesus’ feet and be with him fully. When Martha lamented to Jesus about Mary not helping, he responded -“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Let Martha rest and put on your Mary today. Enjoy what is present in this very moment and remember, life really is good.

Daily Gratitude

“It was the rainbow gave thee birth, and left thee all her lovely hues.” – W. H. Davies

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” – John Milton

A simple glance to the left and the rainbow caught my attention and awe entered, setting the tone for the day. That’s all it takes. Opening our eyes to what is present in this very moment and rediscovering gratitude in daily encounters.

According to research, simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain:

  1. Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions;
  2. Gratitude helps even if you don’t share it;
  3. Gratitude’s benefits take time;
  4. Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain.

For more inspiration and ideas on living well, check out the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley which I just tripped on looking for quotes on gratitude. The joy that comes from simple pursuits indeed.

To be more grateful, lift your head up, open your eyes and find the rainbows woven through each day.

The 20 Miler

“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.” – Theodore Isaac Rubin

This weekend is the last “long” run – the 20 miler for those training for the Twin Cities Marathon in October. I saw some runners both days doing their long run. It was a hot and humid weekend.

I’m training for the 10 miler so only 7 miles yesterday. I may have a marathon or two left in me but not this year. Even training for the 10 mile run brings satisfaction from training and following a plan.

I remember the three marathons that I did and the 20 miler was the milestone. The culmination of months of work all leading up to the last big run before the really big run.  I was excited for those running it this weekend because I know the effort that goes in without a guarantee that you will finish 26. 2 miles even if you train for it. Anything can happen on marathon day. But the joy of the work of the effort comes to fruition two times. One on the 20 mile day and the next on marathon day. There’s little that meets that level of excitement and accomplishment of doing the work and winning the day with a finish.

We get so caught up in busy work each day, in meeting others’ unreasonable demands that we lose ourselves in the process. We lose our dreams and aspirations. But when we set out to do that goal, that mountain that we must climb on our own, there is something about it that makes it special.

What’s your dream, what’s on your bucket list? Do it. Let all of the daily busy go and go for what’s in your heart. Pursue it with vigor and delight. It makes us come alive again. To feel apart of life rather than merely getting by. Get going on your 20 miler.

If Then, Only, When

If we do not center ourselves how can we be steady;
If we do now slow down, how do we find meaning;
If we do not rest, how do we find solace;
If we do not reflect, how do we find purpose;
If we do not look, how do we see beauty in our midst;
If we do not create, how will we be created.

Center
Slow
Rest
Reflect
Look
Create

If then
If only
If when

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.

Picking Up the Toy

“Life is always at some turning point.” – Irwin Edman

On the first trip outside this morning, Molly picked up a toy in the living room and proceeded to the back yard. She does this every morning, but this morning was special. She had surgery last Monday on a torn ACL from wear, tear and arthritis. She has about 10 inches of stitches on her inner knee and a metal plate screwed in to reconstruct the function. When I picked her up on Tuesday, she was looking pretty rough but anxious to get home.

“Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.” – Sai Baba

“Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.” – Sai Baba

She’s been pretty somber through the week, waking up, coughing, limping around, not herself. On Thursday morning, I took her back to have them check out her coughing and it turned out she has pneumonia often caused by anesthesia.

All week, Lily has been keeping an eye on her like a hawk. Patiently waiting for her best friend to feel better and be ready to play again. The toy pick up this morning signaled that Molly is feeling better and ready to bring play back. She’s coughing less and her eyes are brightening up.  She’s on the mend and I wouldn’t expect anything else from her. She’s a combination of tough and sweet with a side of attitude.

During difficult times, we often think they won’t end or it will get worse. As we move through the waiting and worrying, healing is happening, what’s next is being written, it’s all unfolding as it is meant to be. Even though it may not feel that way, it’s reassuring to know that it will be ok soon, that we’ll be able to pick up the toy again.

Fan Club

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

A week ago, Mom was getting her hip replaced. It was scheduled but she had to go in a few days early due to severe pain – it was actually broken. She’s now recovering in transitional care and getting stronger every day. It hasn’t been the same without her. She’s what makes home, home.

There’s been a lot of in and out the past few weeks with family health issues. Molly and Lily know something is going on. They miss Mom like crazy and the feeling is mutual. Every time they see each other, their eyes light up and smiles extend from ear to ear. Home returns.

“Friendship needs no words - it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.” – Dag Hammarskjold

“Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.” – Dag Hammarskjold

Yesterday, we went to visit and they were thrilled to see her. We sat outside in the sun just spending time being together. The world was right again. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It amplifies the depth of fondness that’s already rooted and strong.

True friendship draws us out and invites our spirits to rise. It’s good to be home.

The Little Things

“Life is not made up of crises; life is made up of little things we love to ignore in order to get on to the exciting things in life. But God is in the details. God is in what it takes in us to be faithful to them. God is in the routines that make us what we are. The way we do the little things in life is the mark of the bigness of our souls.” – Joan Chittister, Essential Writings

Your smile, your attention, your time to patiently listen can break up the mundane of the day for all paths you cross. Go do little things big today. Cast light now.

Lucidity

“Most days weren't clear when you were in them.” ― Naomi Shihab Nye

“Most days weren’t clear when you were in them.” ― Naomi Shihab Nye

“Older now, you find holiness in anything that continues.” – Naomi Shibab Nye

As the days go faster and we go slower, we may long for days gone by, our youth. But the days slow when we remain squarely within each one, fully aware and awake. Wiser from what was and hope-filled for what is to come. The wide path becomes narrow and we can see and appreciate what is most important.

As the need to prove oneself subsides, moments linger and connections grow deeper. Creating and being replace competing and doing. And if we are fortunate to find clarity in the days when we are in them, we discover what has been there the entire time…love expands, multiples, grows, sustains and is what we are here to do. Our moments become holy.

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