A small constant

Change is something we move through. Like the viscocity of air to water to pea soup it can come in degrees. Some of it we cling to, some of it we don’t even notice. Sometimes we rebel.

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As our school year draws to a close, with it comes changes. I don’t cling to the changes of this last year: the fact that my daughter will be starting middle school in the fall, or that my son will be alone in his elementary school. I accept and know that it will appear before we even recognize that it has happened. Some things just “are.”

Recently my son went home with a friend after school. She had spontaenously invited him home; her mom called me later to let me know where my stray lamb had ended up. It was all good and they had fun. When he got home he exclaimed that he was invited to her goodbye party. I assumed this was an end of school celebration. “No,” he corrected me, “she will be going to a new school next year.” It turns out they are moving out of the province as her dad has a new job. I was sad that this happy playmate of his was leaving. I felt the loss – the loss of their friendship, the spontaneity of their joy, their support for each other – although it didn’t affect my life at all.

A family in our neighbourhood is also moving. Our kids are friends with their kids and they play soccer together. I like the parents — they are kind, considerate, and warm people. When I heard that they were moving I was again disappointed. It would not leave a ‘hole’ in my life, but they had become familiar to me. It was a change that was unexpected and a part of me rallied against it.

My kids don’t really care one way or another. My son rattled off all the kids who’ve left the school over the 3 years he’s been there. It was like blips on a radar. I know that relations formed at this age can last forever, however these relationships are generally based on the present moment.

Sometimes we can’t change what changes. Observing myself I find my reaction to these changes are as though my kids have suffered a loss. I am sad because I think they will be sad. Yes, they will be sad, but it won’t be forever. There is always another friend to play soccer with at lunch time.

With change, I dig into a sentimental box of feelings. Not all of these feelings are true but I attach them to what I thought would always be the same, these situations that are leaving my life unexpectedly. It’s like cleaning out your kid’s closet and when you want to throw out the toy they haven’t played with in years, suddenly it’s the one they cannot be without.

I think what I am craving is consistency. Part of finding that is perhaps not expecting things to look the same, in the same place. Change will always come, yes, but the feeling can move from person or situation as quickly as I allow it.  What is constant in our lives is in the attitude we create with the world around us, regardless of what or who mirror this back to us.

 

*Image was taken from http://thejailbreak.com/2011/05/24/mc-escher-in-legos/

May: Attitude of Gratitude

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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 May 2014.

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That I can make myself a cup of coffee in the morning without thinking about it — my trusty feet for continuing to run – my shoes that don’t yet need replacing – hot water – amenities

A Friday day at work – funny texting to distract me – extra coffee delights – watching fun shows with the kids – that everyone made their own dinner.

That I am still wanting to go run — feeling energized after my run – doing my core workout – a clean kitchen – making healthy comfort food.

That although foggy and rainy we still had a great run – that the huge uphill we ran also had downhill – running with others – time on the yoga mat – that my husband still does grocery shopping.

flexibility at work – being able to go and watch the kids dance recital – finding the last parking spot – seeing a little person’s confidence grown on a big stage – sitting down.

being able to coordinate and plan the day efficiently – a easier visit to the dentist with the kids – shopping for lunches after the appointment – getting the boy to soccer – my good effort and willingness at my running workout.

a whole day off – catching up with myself – finally getting to the pharmacy – getting in a good workout at the gym – feeling content.

that my son was cooperative about waiting – coordinating my run with the kids soccer practice – that the weather was so nice while I ran – that there were less bugs today on the trails – eating a tasty dinner.

buying new books – reading new books – avocados – planning summer vacation – napping.

really sleeping in – taking the time to enjoy the sunshine – running with fun music – letting go of expectations of myself – making chocolate cake.

sleeping in a little bit – going for a solo run – the gorgeous sunshine and kind man with dog I met on my run – more contented yoga time – having the afternoon off while my husband dealt with everything.

still eating chocolate cake – realizing my body doesn’t handle so much sugar so well – choosing to lessen my sugar intake – no coffee – getting through withdrawals.

still no coffee – feeling better already – a good/hard adjusting workout on the track – a good book at bedtime – going to bed when my body said so.

feeling stronger instead of so sore – my mom coming to visit – a good workout in the gym – when the advice you get is useful – being able to walk home from the gym.

forcing myself to go and run and having a wonderful run because of it – new music on interesting podcasts – sunny, easy weather – dinner at the dining room table – green leafy salad.

a day off with the kids – going for a walk along the ocean – going out for lunch and coffee and drinks – feeling supported – not having to schedule anything.

coffee in the morning – having wine whatever the time – going for a run whenever – realizing that not every run will be great and not beating myself up about this – my husband’s support.

not feeling too rushed to get to my race on time – Sunday morning trail race in the dust and mud and trails – having my son and mom come out and cheer – feeling tired but happy after my run and placing well – choosing to take the afternoon to myself and not going to yoga.

my mom’s company – my mom’s composting skills – help with the garden – making salad and bbq for lunch (and eating it!) – a lovely long weekend.

being able to illustrate cause and effect to my son as he feels immediate repercussions – the time, dedication, and patience the kids’ teachers and counselor exhibit at school – the time the teachers took with me today to support my daughter – my husband’s agreement and support – not feeling great, but still having fun and a good workout at this evening’s practice.

homemade pizza leftovers for lunch – being able to move my day off to match school schedules  — changes in my workout routine – scheduling more appointments conveniently – feeling changes in a good way.

my son’s expression of relief when he was ready on time “I feel so relaxed. It’s like I just came from the beach!” – getting homework done before soccer practice – my happy legs that took me for a happy run –  the massage my husband gave my sore shins and feet.

that my husband always says yes when I want to buy more running shoes – a low stress day at work – the rain that watered the garden – the sun that warmed the day – reading wonderful blog posts.

running when I wanted to go – the chalk signs on the sidewalk near the end of my run that said: smile – laugh – be happy – being outside and seeing the garden starting to sprout up –  that sometimes the kids figure out what I’m yelling about – time with my sweetie and his kind words.

being out on the trails again – the rush of running faster than I thought I was – the kids being so calm – a delicious raw nut burger – yoga.

taking care of my body – meeting my coach for coffee – framing things in a way I feel comfortable – that I got home earlier than expected – that I went to bed earlier than expected.

other parents for being able to drive my kids – figuring out schedules – that everyone could still do what they wanted – my pick-me-up coffee this afternoon – instigating change.

that I could move a work day to be home with the kids – the lazy morning I had with the kids – the busy and fun afternoon I had with the kids – new shoes – home before rush hour – that my husband managed dinner.

being so busy at work that the day flew by – a quick nap after work – feeling better after my run – watching my daughter play soccer – going to bed early.

that my husband went on my daughter’s camping trip so there were enough parental supervisors – when things go on sale in the grocery store – warmer weather – spending the evening with my son – vitamin B12.

the effects of B12 — a lazy, dance-party morning with my son — not eating breakfast until we felt like — running later in the day and doing alright with it — a quiet afternoon.

Monkey mind: running in circles

Last weekend I ran in circles. Actually it was a race and the course was laps. The circuit was switchbacks along a motocross course (think dirt and up and down) and then a bush trail that was also mostly up and down. We did three laps of this entire circuit. See this map for details of one lap, sortof: gutbuster run Running in races is still a learning experience for me. My Negative Nancy has had to keep her legs crossed and mind her manners. She doesn’t occupy a lot of reality in my mind-space anymore.  Most interestingly is how I am now able to manage these things during the race rather than just react.

My sports psychologist said that I’m very likely a type A personality: I am a runner, I  run races,  and I care what people think of me (and my results).  So when competition comes, type A personalities like to get fired up and get in the mix. I guess I used to try to keep up – energetically– but I didn’t actually move any faster. Once some passed me they kept on going right out of view and there wasn’t much I could do to keep up.

I would fight to run faster. It wasn’t very efficient or graceful and would end up draining me. I would negatively try to trick myself go faster. In the five stages I was deeply rooted in bargaining: if I ran faster usually the reward was something associated with food. My mind would go into all sorts of spirals as to why the girl with the cotton t-shirt should not be ahead of me, or why I should not have had that extra chocolate chip cookie a month ago, or why I was even bothering when none of this was even fun.

I was passed a few times in this race. I had already set the expectation at the onset that this was just a training experience and the goal was to have fun. My monkey mind still wanted to exude some heroic efforts, but to what end? It was hot, it was dusty, and I still have 2 laps of the course to go.

If you feel like a video interlude right about now this is your chance.  This 800m race at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich shows how important it is to just follow your own path and run your own race. Keep your eyes on the guy in the white hat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LHid-nC45k

Now back to the usual stuff.

I *did* have fun. I ran my own race and felt it was a solid effort in my training. My son and my mom cheered me on as though it was the Olympic trials.  There was watermelon at the end of the race. And there was this (in my age group): 20140523-112611-41171435.jpg