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Posts tagged ‘Health’

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.

The Next 50

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” – Sophia Loren

I am taking a few days off to relax and enjoy the remaining hours of my 49th year. People asked what I am going to do and I told them that I am going to reflect on the past 50 years and think about what I am going to do with my next 50 years. Time moves quickly and slowly at the same time. We wish days away and then suddenly we’re 50 and feel like 30.

If we don’t pause along the way to witness what was and is right now, we miss the gifts and blessings that surround and embrace us. Regret can only be avoided if we remain present in each moment and aware of our power over our own lives and not distracted by the noise.

When we’re younger, we work on getting experience to get to the next thing, the next promotion, the next opportunity, the next trophy… Now I am more interested in experiencing each day giving my best regardless of recognition, learning new things, gaining insight, creating meaning, traveling lighter, letting worries go, trying to be much less serious and making good use of the experience I have earned by growing others.

Looking back, I don’t have the life I thought I would have but I have the life I was meant to and doing my best to live it well. And each day is overflowing with gratitude, grace, love and sprinkled with delight in the simple moments. Figure out what really matters right now and make each day its own end. So instead of the next 50 years, I think I’ll focus on the next 50 minutes.

First Sight Again

“We all walk around within the numbness of our habits and routines so often that we take the marvels of ordinary life for granted.” – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Let yourself and all that you carry from the past, from yesterday and about the future, about tomorrow and leave it where it was or will be. Sink deeply into the moments of today. No judgment, measurement, comparison, heaviness, preconceived notions, worry or hesitation.

See as if for the very first time all that surrounds you. With a grateful heart, dancing spirit and open soul, be new and renewed by the beauty and simplicity of the ordinary.

Cast light, first sight.

The Human Spirit

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” – Wilma Rudolph

Another Grandma’s marathon, another first marathon to celebrate. This time it was my niece Emily’s turn and she did it! The first marathon is about finishing. It’s the “I think I can and I’m ready but I’ve never done it before” elusiveness.

Four to five months of training, commitment and hard work gets you to the start line. You learn the value of preparing your mind as much as your body as well as your spirit. All play an important role in getting to the finish line.

Many training runs by yourself convince you that you are alone in this effort. But when you get to marathon day, you soon realize through the support and encouragement of family, friends and complete strangers along the way that you are in no way alone in the endeavor, or in life for that matter. The cowbells, people yelling your name, the texts from family and friends checking in, the running by your side the last mile show how many people are cheering for and sharing in your success.

“The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one's opportunities and make the most of one's resources.” – Luc de Clapiers

“The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one’s opportunities and make the most of one’s resources.” – Luc de Clapiers

Whether it’s a marathon or another dream or goal, the meaning comes from the journey before ever getting to the start line. It’s the unfolding and freeing of the human spirit that deepens the meaning and calls us to seek more challenges and dreams. There are no short cuts – the secret is in the intersection of time, effort, focus, consistency, faith, optimism, persistence and determination.

Pick your “marathon” and go for it with your whole heart, mind and spirit. We all have longings that pull at us to go out into the world to give and be our best, beyond what we could ever imagine. We need only to take the first step and each that follows become second nature. Your human spirit is ready and waiting to take flight.

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