If you read this blog even once you’d likely guess that I run. I have a lot of anxiety related to running so have started to see a counselor/sports psychologist to help me clean out some of the backlog in my head.
As we process and work through the way I think and so
me many of my anxieties, I see it’s not all running-related. I knew this: if I didn’t run the performance pressures, comparisons, judgements, and challenge of self-acceptance would show up somewhere else. What I didn’t realize is that it is EVERYWHERE else. While some days I feel more relaxed, calm, open, mindful, and present in my running, I see how much *I* affect the rest of my life. I just don’t stop and it’s hard to dial down the way I am.
It’s hard to live with (me) and I certainly can understand why people who feel this way would turn to alternate substances to change their state of mind. As a personal choice, I don’t drink. I did drink in my 20′s and honestly now believe this is the only way I got through that time in my life. I have a lot of running ahead of me to learn to deal with the way I’ve conditioned myself.
I also have some letting go and re-organizing to do. I just got back from a chat with my counselor and I see how much I have construed my reality. I see where I have missed positively constructing how I would like things to be, and instead pieced together my misinterpretations and fears. My core beliefs have tainted how I live today. Tonight, I will go gentle into that good night. Sometimes it’s okay to change.
It hits me as I am leaving the grocery store.
I used the new self-checkout feature in the store trusting that this would be faster than standing in line. I had only a few items. All my items had barcodes or were easy to identify. I had my own grocery bag – which caused the machine some distress at the ‘foreign object’ – and I had to have a cashier log in to the machine and approve my bag. But it was quick and easy, effortless. I was feeling content that my lunch break would be minutes longer thanks to this expedited process.
I left the store and walked by the cashier again. She thanked me and said goodbye. I wished her a good weekend. And when I left the store, I was overwhelmed with sadness.
It came out of nowhere. It felt as though I had walked through a portal to an isolated shower. Two steps back I was great, two steps forward I was so sad.
I walked further, noticing the feeling. I crossed the street to stop at the coffee shop. There were two people in front of me walking towards the coffee shop. One turned in and the other, an older lady, looked through the door but carried on with her heavy bags down the street. It suddenly felt like a privilege – almost elitist – to go get coffee. Why was I spending money on something I didn’t really need? What did this give me? I felt sad and ashamed — as though my hot and sweet drink would bring me some worth I couldn’t accept on my own.
Different things make me sad. Some days on my lunch break when I walk downtown I am overwhelmed by the homelessness and mental health issues that I see; other days I smile and can understand that each of these people are on their own journey, doing what they can.
I joined my daughter’s class for a field trip to the museum this week. On our lunch break I sat with a few girls around a picnic table. One of the girls asked my daughter what the treat was in her lunch. My daughter looked at me for clarification. “Do I have a treat?” she asked me. Sweets are not something I encourage, especially not daily, and my daughter packs her own lunch. “What did you pack today?” I responded. We noticed her applesauce had natural sweetness in it and the conversation quietly dissolved into other topics. Playing tag after lunch, my daughter found a lollipop in her pocket and ate it. The other girl didn’t notice.
Days later, this is still bothering me. It reminds me of my own childhood where there were few treats and I felt ashamed and left out. I was often told not to “beg” for other kid’s lunches. When I told my mom this (we lived in a pretty hippy area and for a few years ate a strictly macrobiotic diet) she said it didn’t matter: I was better for not eating sugar and processed foods. I understood her words but I could not accept it. It may have been better for my body, but it was not a social advantage. I know that I want to protect my kid from the judgements I felt so long ago. This, too, makes me sad.
It is hard to accept ourselves when we are judged on so many things. Never mind if your skin is clear or your stomach is flat (things I did and do worry about) it’s how alike another person you are that makes you acceptable. But I also know that we are all perfect and precious just as we are. And as I think back I realize it was me doing the judging of that little girl. She was just curious what my daughter had in her lunch. Maybe realizing that my daughter didn’t pack a treat that day will have her look at her own lunch differently. Maybe I can accept that questions are neither right or wrong.
Fog. The slow motion of Fall. Vitamin D. Searching for beginnings. Motivation. Licks of sunshine. Taking more trips. Spending time together. Soccer days. Sleeping in (a little). Comforts of home. Reading. Orange. Pumpkins. Short light in a day. Grocery shopping. Yoga classes. Things don’t slow down or stop, but they can change. Blogging. Feeling inward without extending outward. Remembering. Walking. Running without remembering. The passage of time. Connections. Love. Yourself. Always.
Most days I write down five things I am grateful for, big or small, subtle or apparent. I archive and post the list monthly. This is October 2013.
finding out about new work arrangements — no rain when I was doing errands — going to my workout even though I didn’t feel like it — only doing what I felt like doing — not feeling stressed, guilty, or frustrated because I wasn’t doing the workout planned for me.
my Love for rearranging his day to make mine easier — having lunch with a very dear friend — going for a run and not getting stormed on — the guy who gave me a thumbs up as I ran — new running clothes — seeing the kids at the end of the day.
the dental hygenist who made me laugh about having OCD about people’s teeth — that the rain let off today — seeing other runners that motivate me to keep going — warm soup for lunch — a cookie after lunch.
multi-tasking so much at work I didn’t care what went wrong — getting a chiropractor appointment — the kids being patient and friendly (with each other) — finally getting another pair of kids’ soccer shorts that I’ve been meaning to buy for 3 weeks — coming home and it being the weekend.
the kids being excited about their soccer games — that it was not pouring rain and standing water on the soccer fields — that I went and did my run without any expectations — the sunshine and vitamin D that surprised me on the run — spending time at home puttering.
a good movie about the human condition — a long-overdue hair cut — that the kids again patiently waited for me — a challenging and rewarding yoga class — my husband and kids doing grocery shopping.
that there was still some sunshine when I walked to work — that I passed up early morning coffee — that texting exists to help coordinate my family life — feeling like anxiety is a reminder to let go of fears — that I waver between all out panic and not giving a shit.
a slow day at work — having a couch to crawl onto when I wasn’t feeling well — taking some time for me — modifying my run workout — that my husband had dinner ready for me when I got home.
the glory of an extra 45 min of sleep — an emergency and necessary physio appointment — resting when my body wanted it — being able to (successfully) make what the kids wanted for dinner — feeling stressed and anxious for 15 less than yesterday.
lots of Rescue Remedy — my morning shower which I turned into a sauna — those moments in the car when you are commuting (and late) but your kids say funny things + unknowingly lighten the mood — going to bed so early I had time to unwind before I fell asleep — the funny kid with the toque who smiled when I was again running breathlessly uphill.
that I have a blog — that the worst that can happen is simply in my mind — the realization that not all exercises are good for me (or maybe I am just doing them incorrectly) — the present moment because no one can take that away from you — putting aside expectations.
watching the boy play soccer — a moment’s pause where I wasn’t wrapped up in my worries — noticing the leaves changing colors on my walk — an easy nap — going to bed early.
a good night’s sleep — getting to the race with plenty of time — endurance, support, determination, and cheers — hugs from friends — going home.
an extra day off — Autumn sunshine — going for a walk with my boy and noticing what he notices — having a nap when my body crashed — my Love for doing the grocery shopping.
time to braid my daughter’s hair in the morning — a much needed physio appointment — stopping and treating myself before I went back to work — finally choosing to make a new connection — the heat in the house.
that feeling of making a connection/appointment/commitment to a care-provider and already feeling better — that my watch was not a distraction on my run — that it’s still sunny out — that my phone didn’t die after it mysterious shut off and then rang uncontrollably for 3 min — the kids’ humour, “oh that hurt my nutzos!”
feeling energized knowing I was only working a half-day — getting home and getting homework done early — the smell of baking and chocolate — having someone else pick up my daughter from soccer — going for a run in the sunshine.
a fantastic email from afar — the connection you get when words bring you closer — knowing that others feel the same way — warm food on a cool day — the leaves and colours of October.
waking up and realizing it’s the weekend — the serendipity of following the same car to and from my son’s soccer game - even though the other car wasn’t going to the same place — the joy my son gets from playing soccer — the taste of a hot beverage after watching 3 hours of soccer in the cold – the mid-afternoon realization that my workout for the day was done in the morning.
having delicious pancakes made for me — being able to do my workout whenever I wanted to — the kids doing their own laundry — the motivation and energy to clean the house — the incentive to write, even when the words aren’t near perfect.
waking up knowing that this is a shorter work week for me — all the sudden and new blog followers — making it in time to see my daughter run her race — that someone else can do pick up after soccer practice — that rice and beans in a tortilla makes an easy and comforting meal.
Starbucks — realizing the closer you get to a choice that’s good for you the more your resistance increases — not getting hit by a flying duck when running in the fog — hot water in the shower — the kids planning for the day ahead.
a parking spot I can always count on — acknowledging that I don’t have to do everything — the comfort of a good book — support in unlikely places — having the time to take as long as I wanted.
the guy who let me merge into heavy traffic – that today is Friday a day early — yam coconut soup — feeling better after my run — going to bed when I felt like it.
not rushing to get on vacation — the difference a change of scenery makes — aromatherapy massage and spa — soaking in a mineral pool — my husband for taking care of the kids.
early morning trip to Starbucks — catching the ferry on time — island-hopping to watch my daughter play soccer — yummy and tasty food that everyone enjoyed — a surprising adventure and exploration of new run routes.
my husband’s dedication to his job — the rewards a sacrifice and compromise can bring — sunshine in October! — the red of maple leaves — the cat was still alive when we got home
being able to watch my daughter race in the city finals — my daughter’s effort, determination, and results in her race — a decadent hot chocolate mix — the washing machine that gets the job done without being reminded — trading a Halloween outing for a coffee date.
waking up before my alarm, but going back to sleep — an extra cup of coffee — meeting my sweet for a lunch date — breathing — knowing that starting is much harder than finishing.
the way the sun reflects off the office buildings as the city awakens – easy traffic on the way to an appointment — gently discovering more about myself — my Love bringing home delicious take-out comfort foods — half a night of good sleep.
no soccer practice on Halloween — my husband for taking the kids out trick-or-treating — sunshine all afternoon — the energy boost the chocolate chip cookie gave me — scheduling an appointment with my naturopath.