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Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Rambling on True Love from the Pit of My Hopelessly Romantic Heart

With nearly 7 trillion people in the world, it’s hard to believe in soul mates. Finding “the one” seems an impossible task, given the odds. I believe that there are several “ones” for every person; romantic matches of perfect compatibility are out there and we can all only be so lucky as to cross paths with one of them amongst the trillions.
I look at those who have found their true loves and it’s hard not to be at least a touch envious. Despite the ever-growing popularity of divorce and the rarity of relationships lasting beyond a handful of years, I still believe in true love and everlasting romance. How sad I feel when people debate that life-long love is dead due to extended life spans and jet-fueled libidos! Yes, life is longer, making the commitment of “til-death-do-us-part” a bit more… committal, but with the right person, why can’t that be exciting? To spend that many more years with that special someone, to me, sounds like a deal sweetener, not a deal breaker…
Call me a hopeless romantic, call me naive or shortsighted. Last month, I’ve seen my parents celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary after being together for 4 years prior. I’ve seen the fights, the divorce threats, the ugly battles. I’ve questioned their compatibility as they are polar opposites on every thinkable spectrum (in fact, I still question that). Through it all, though, through the incredibly torrential ups and downs, they continue to be eachothers’ rocks and uphold their promises to be lifelong companions, partners through thick and thin… and I am so proud to have them as my influence.
With all the negativity I hear about viewpoints of anti-marriage and those that poo-poo on love, I resist the pull to be discouraged and smile on in the hopes of finding my happily ever after. When I panic that I’m not blissfully paired up yet in the midst of my 20’s, I remind myself that there really is not rush and that I could quite possibly only be just one-fifth through my life.. or less! Here’s to love!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pulling Out the Weeds

As I searched for paperwork in preparation for a meeting later on in the week, I dug through piles of half-filled notebooks, magazine articles clippings, miscellaneous folders and unfiled forms. How had I let this much pile up? Suddenly, the papers were no longer the focus of my foraging… it was time to declutter.
I had convinced myself that the mess in my workspace was organized clutter. Most of the times, I knew where to find things and in what general pile it was lying in. Just like the earlier years of my life, my desk was energetically chaotic and instead of bringing order and peace to the situation, I adapted as best I could. Reality was, I would sigh about losing loose scrap notes and frantically sift through piles for business cards… I finally acceptedI was in denial and decided to take action.
I spent the entirety of Sunday afternoon and evening filling a jumbo trash bag with everything I’ve held on to but didn’t really need. I felt inner resistance before releasing certain items into the garbage, but reminded myself that it was negative clutter taking up free space and energy in my surroundings and in my life. If I didn’t use it or search for it within the past few months, it must not have held that much importance in the first place… away and out of my life it went.
When I finally hit desk surface and put everything in its proper place, I immediately felt the energy shift. I felt calm and far less chaotic as I new just where to reach for a post-it note or exactly where I would find a blank consultation form. I felt like I could breathe easier.
As I dropped the filled trash bag on to the curb, I felt a cathartic release. Uprooting all that desk-clutter had yanked on a stopper, letting emotional-clutter drain away. I could only imagine how I would will feel once I combat the residual chaos in my life. How much freer will I feel? How much more positive energy will I be able to accept in to my heart? How clear I will feel!
It’s a non-question. It has to be done. It’s time to scrap all the old, stale, non-productive clutter in my life to make room for the new, positive, progress-supporting energy to come in. Life is like a garden- it needs tending to, nurturing and necessary weeding to make sure that the beautiful plants have plenty of room to grow and flourish.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We Grow and We Change (Thank Goodness!)

eIn middle school, I was the nonathletic kid in gym class who exaggerated a wheeze in order to be deemed medically unable to complete the one-mile run. At one point I was “diagnosed” with exercise-induced asthma and was prescribed an inhaler to be taken in the nurse’s office (where I spent most of my gym-class hours). Every year students were required to have a mile run timed and only once did I drag my spiteful heels through the entire four laps, clocking in at an impossibly slow 20 minutes, stopping every few minutes to retie my self-untying shoelaces and stretch out a pesky reoccurring cramp. Getting me to run was like pulling teeth. I hated every step of it and rolled my eyes at the weekend afternoon joggers diligently hitting the pavement, confused as to why they weren’t sprawled out on the couch with a bowl of Cocoa Puffs chased by a scoop of ice cream.
Fast forward to today: Just back from a sweaty end-of-workout jog in the near 100F heat, I excitedly tack on another three miles to my ongoing outdoor mileage log, overjoyed that I have amassed over three marathons’ worth of pavement. I keep at least two pairs of sneakers in my car at all times (right now, four) along with clean socks. Instead of drooling over the newest toy, my eyes sparkle as I window shop for a runner’s wristwatch equipped with GPS. Suddenly, I had become the afternoon runner I had once scoffed at as a child; I’ve changed, to say the least.
Thank goodness we aren’t defined by our pasts. Hallelujah for being able to make decisions, create change and reform our likes, our goals and ourselves.Had you told a preteen-me that I would one day be a wellness fanatic and an avid runner, I would have laughed through a mouthful of Oreos and turned back to my cartoons. I was no athlete as a child, but today I am proud to have earned that title.
Years don’t have to pass by in order to make a personal change for the better- that’s the beauty of the power of choice. If there’s something I don’t like about myself I have two options: do nothing or do something about it. I am a constant work in progress towards the best version of myself and I intend to make daily strides towards that end, no excuses made. Since my tweaks have been constant, I don’t have to look as far back as 13 years at the “exercise-induced-asthmatic television loving couch potato” in order to see the positive changes I’ve made, but the drastic comparison it presents sure is entertaining!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Running in 91F Can Cause Temporary Insanity…

Two and a half miles into my four mile run in the 91 degree weather, I pulled back my pace to conserve energy and switched to a light jog, planning to amp it back up once I reached shadier grounds; the sun relentlessly beat down on me with no branches or shadows to blunt its power. At my slower rate, a car passed me by as I momentarily locked eyes with the driver. Instinctively, I created a back-story in my mind and concluded that he had been unimpressed at the slowness of my movement. I found I was mentally defending myself against this make-believe judgment, spewing back that I had run the first two miles at a much faster roll and fully intended to add some sprints at the last stretch. How dare he judge my less than optimal pace? How dare he assume I was a slow runner? The car was miles away by then.
Growing up, I was conditioned by constant feedback, both negative and positive, to gauge how well or poorly I was doing. Grades, piano recitals, play performances, art pieces… all meaningless until after I was told how wonderful or atrocious they were.  I developed a need for validation of my efforts, otherwise, they were pointless. Like any other habit picked up as a child, it was hard to unlearn and un-need validation for my hard work, but it had to be done in order to live a happy life and have healthy, non-codependent relationships.  
Running, lifting, sweating, changing my body and improving my fitness are all personal efforts of mine. I put in a lot of time, energy and all around hard work in to myself in order to practice what I preach and be the best possible version of me. These things are my own- not in competition with anyone (but myself) and not to impress anybody (but myself… sometimes!). If I shave a rep off of a set or knock a mile off of a run I know I can complete, I am only cheating myself out of my own personal goals. I’ve come to know my body. I know my personal bests… how much I was able to lift the last time… how far and fast I ran the time before (and I’ll be damned if this time I don’t match or break those records!). I need no one to tell me how hard I’m working and need no recognition as to if my workout was a success or not. I am my most honest, informed, and accurate critic and I need no one’s validation to confirm or tell me otherwise!
Old habits die hard. Sometimes they creep back when least expected and manifest in the most odd of ways. I ended the mental argument I had been having between the random driver-by and myself, swearing it must have been partially fueled by the sweltering heat. How silly I had been, giving any weight to the opinion of a man that was most likely just checking out to see if I had huge knockers (which I most certainly don’t… sorry to disappoint, sir). After regaining sense (and sanity), I picked my pace back up once out of the unshaded stretch of road and ended my run with a few interval sprints. As I took a lap around the driveway, I felt the endorphins flooding through my body and I relished in the wonders of “runner’s high.” Ahh… yes, that’s right… after the miles have been logged and the time has been checked, that immeasurable feeling right there that only I can experience? That’s what it’s all really about.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Insane Behaviors

There’s a bird that repeatedly flies into a window of my house in an effort to land on a potted plant on the other side of the pane (for the purpose of my point, it will be assumed to be the same bird). Day after day, this little bird will make the same ill-fated attempt, only to pick him/herself back up and try again the next day. I do admit that I admire the determination of this tiny, winged creature, but at the same time, I wonder why the lesson hasn’t been taken that this method not only does not work, but causes pain, time after time.
As I sigh at this definitively insane bird’s feeble tries to repeat the same thing over and over again, each time expecting the result to be different, I realized my own insane behaviors and their apparent silliness if observed from an onlooker’s stance. When will I learn that there is a better way to get to the plant on the other side that doesn’t involve crashing in to the window pane? When will I give up the comforts of my not-getting-me-anywhere-routines, feel the fear of change and take the uncharted course?
As many motivational speakers say, we are our own biggest obstacles. When all excuses are exhausted and there is no one left to blame, take a look in the mirror… that is the person standing in the way. Fears of failure, being uncomfortable and the general unknown hold me back from trying a different method or route that may possibly lead me to the better, more desirable outcome. The most frustrating part of the whole situation is knowing that the way things are now arenotideal and in some casescause pain whether it be emotional or physiological. I am no better than the masochist bird, as my stubbornness keeps me relentlessly flying in to my own proverbial window pane.
I need to make the necessary adjustments in my routines in order to achieve my desired outcomes; I know this to be true. I know the changes that need to be made in my dietary habits, fitness efforts, sleeping habits and time management strategies. What’s funnier is that I know how much easier and enjoyable my life will be if I do make these tweaks, ultimately optimizing me regimes. How silly I feel weighing the pros and cons of the temporary discomfort in making positive changes versus the prolonged discomfort of remaining stagnant in my stale routines.Someone, please knock some sense in to me!
I’d like to think that as an evolved human being, I am intellectually advanced enough to make the choices that steer me from pain and unhappiness. At times like this, I understand that there is a difference between having an ability and using that ability. At the surface, choosing ultimate betterment over extended dissatisfaction seems to be a no-thought decision… perhaps the curse that humans must deal with in having this decision is the ability to think to much about it. The answer, then, is simple (and cliche): JUST DO IT!