Saturday, September 25, 2010
Zero times anything is nothing. One times anything is something.
It's not quite October and the leaves are still mostly green, but I'm already thinking about next year. I'm excited about my race over New Years and the prospect of running Badwater again next year.
I'm thinking about next year, and how I want it to be different, what I can do to make it different. I'm already formulating my New Year's resolutions.
The first half of this year was tough and painful for me. It wasn't until this summer when things turned around. I've been healing from a big disappointment, and I'm moving through it, but I need to find a way to take lessons from it and continue to turn it around to my advantage.
I want to take the things that made my life particularly difficult this past year, or themes that kept repeating themselves, and the lessons I learned from those, and make sure that I am living up to what I believe in.
Those are simple: Be Kind, Be Well, Be Generous.
"Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up"- Jesse Jackson
Remember the power of a small thoughtful act, like a thank you, a word of appreciation, even something as small as a smile, eye contact, or acknowledging someone else's presence. Small things make a big impact.
At times I've been too trusting, too forgiving, too patient. I've been willing to give a few people far too many chances to prove to me that they were just having a bad day, or they didn't really mean it. Despite how much it hurt, I still believe that most people are well-intentioned and really don't get up in the morning thinking about who they can hurt today and how to do it.
I have had to let go of my pain, and at the same time understand that there are some people who just simply don't know how to be nice, don't have empathy, and cannot possibly, not in any small way, get inside someone else's head and life and begin to imagine how their actions might affect that person, nor do they care.
I make an effort every day to acknowledge people, thank them for the things they do, make eye contact and smile when it's appropriate, which happens to be most of the time. Even though it is routine for me to do this, I know how important it can be on the receiving end, and I challenge myself to be aware of that. I also need to speak up about unkindnesses, and know when not to keep my mouth shut.
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something...I will not refuse to do the something I can do"- Helen Keller
When I talk about wellness, everyone thinks I mean running. Any exercise is a huge part of my own wellness. It's important to move your body, to keep the blood circulating, to bring oxygen and fresh nutrients to your muscles and organs. For me, moving forward boosts my creativity. I put in as many miles walking as I do running.
If I'm struggling with a problem, and I go for a run, even if I don't actively or consciously think about the problem while I'm running, I usually end up solving it after the run, or at least I have a better approach. The same thing happens if I go for a walk.
There is something about the forward, rhythmic motion of moving through the air, arms and legs pumping, that turns the wheels in my head and gets it all going. I find it hard to think when I'm sitting still. I challenge everyone to find ways to add forward motion. For example, walking to the little grocery store in my neighborhood instead of driving to the big supermarket. It takes less time to make the round-trip on foot, I timed it.
There are so many ways to make changes in our lives, but to make change last, you have to start small. Take small steps, and achieve success with those, before taking bigger steps. It's a process, but even if you make one small change in the direction of wellness next year, it's a success.
Success builds on success and you will learn that it is possible to make lasting, positive changes. Then it becomes easier to take the next step.
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"- Lao-Tzu
Don't underestimate the importance of a penny. It's a small thing by itself, not much value, but like any small thing, they add up to something big. When I do speaking engagements, often I tell the audience that success builds on success. One small thing each day. A series of small steps add up to something big. Sixteen hundred steps in a mile. One hundred sixty thousand of them in a 100 mile run.
A penny by itself is only a cent. One hundred fifty pennies is a dollar fifty. If a thousand people give a dollar fifty, that makes $1500. Loose change can do a lot.
My goal at Across the Years is to run 150 miles. If enough people donated a penny per mile, it could add up quickly. My running partner said she'd give a quarter a mile. I've been dumping my loose change into an old coffee can and I'll donate that.
I challenge everyone reading this to make a New Year's resolution of generosity, making a big impact through something small, by contributing some loose change to the PVHS Foundation Cancer Building Fund, to build something that will bring wellness to this community. Small steps, small things that add up and make a big difference.