Running Lessons: Mariposa Crossover

I’ve been on rest and reset mode the last couple of weeks regarding both running and writing- but I have not quit!

This past weekend we went to the Mariposa Festival here in Fort Worth. It is fascinating to learn that the Monarch Butterfly travels from Canada to Mexico every year pollenating along the way.

This got me to thinking. This tiny creature has a big job. What if it decided to quit? Without its migration, there would be no pollination of plants, fruit or flowers in the spring, monarchs to see in October, nor festivals to celebrate them.

The following day we completed a six mile run. It was faster than the last which was a victory, but we are substantially behind schedule. Still, we are enjoying the journey and all it has to teach us along the way.

So far, I’ve learned my health needs more than exercise. I knew this, but sometimes we need to experience truths for them to settle in completely. So, for three weeks I have been eating a mostly vegan diet and taking the Cleansing Trio from Young Living. I’ve also stopped coffee for a bit to let my adrenals rest and re-nourish. Oils like Endoflex, Nutmeg, and EnerGee are helping too.

Mostly, I’m learning how important small efforts are in relation to our lives and the world. I mean maybe only a handful of people read these posts, but that handful matters. You matter. Besides, with each post, I grow too!

Nothing occurs without impact, not even from the tiniest creatures. So, no matter how small the job, if it is yours- don’t quit!

Photo Credit 📷: Tom Fraire

Running Lesson- Be Present

I’ve been on a bit of break from writing, but I have been maintaining my runs. Today was a long one, which was six hot sweaty slow miles.

While running, I couldn’t help but list in my mind all of the things that I should’ve done last week.

The Should’ve Done List:

  • Gone to yoga
  • Read more to get ahead for next week
  • Eaten cereal instead of fast food tacos that night after class
  • Drank less coffee
  • Ordered Ningxia sooner
Road Behind

Then, about mile 3, I realized I was categorizing the in the wrong direction. I mean, I can’t go back. How was shoulding on myself a productive use of this beautiful run?

Much of the work I do with clients in my counseling practice involves past events and the regrets that have followed. Some of the work is anxiety about the future often based on past events.

This got me to thinking. If we continue to look back in regret, do we miss the enthusiasm for the good that might be up ahead while simultaneously missing the joy in the present?

What might staying present have looked like instead during those first three miles of mustabatory thinking?

Perhaps…

A Doing List:

  • Observing nature
  • Enjoying a playlist I chose
  • Breathing deeply
  • Mindful gratitude
  • Feeling fine
  • Worship

The irony does not escape me. I do see that I’m currently making a Should’ve List for my Doing List. But hear me out, I am hoping to create more awareness about the present and all it has to offer.

Yoga is helpful but it can become a chore for me especially during busy times.

It is definitely more than asana.

With my wiring, staying present takes practice, grace, and the creation and appreciation of space, time, and opportunities.

I will definitely be on the lookout. Passively of course.

What do you do to stay present?

Road Ahead

Running Lessons: Planning

The school year is upon us and our family schedules are changing.

During vacation months, I enjoy the time with my kids but simultaneously want more order and structure. So, the end of the summer is generally both sad and exciting for me. See, the fall quickly provides that structure in which I thrive, but it also creates an empty house.

As my family heads back to school, my daily company becomes Willow our black lab. I see clients on weekends and attend classes for my doctoral program in the evening, making my schedule opposite to that of my people.

Wellness will require some planning. Less sugar for healthy bodies, warm potted meals due to less produce and prep-time, and supporting immune systems and spirits with warm scents of Young Living Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Thieves. Even when I’m gone I can leave these investments for my family.

Running during this season is a perfect reminder for how to adapt.

The trees lead by example and remind me to change gracefully, conserve energy, and shed unnecessary attachments. The cooler temps remind me to add useful layers and purpose to connect with others to stay warm. Rising heat in the afternoons, remind me that the summer will be back sooner than I expect.

Time.

Next week, I will begin taking later morning runs and eating earlier dinners. Both will be alone, as I we all complete another semester.

I am preparing my heart for this gift. I know it’s exactly what we need. Still, I am grieving another summer, another year with my small but growing boy and the young lady who is no longer little. Meanwhile, celebrating and still missing the oldest whose away at college. I know time can’t stand still, but I wonder if has to go so fast?

Gratitude and praise.

Here’s to another school year. May it bring friendships, knowledge, health, opportunities for service and a gentle practice of training through change.

How are you preparing for fall?

Running Lessons- Guilt

My mother says, “Guilt is a useless emotion.”

I am not sure about the psychological truth to this statement- yet. I do know that guilt tends to surround my efforts in health and fitness. You know the shoulds and oughts that linger the minute you’ve eaten off plan or rested on a non-rest day?

Maybe it’s just me.

Yesterday, I had a three mile run scheduled, but I also had some unscheduled insomnia the night before. Sleeplessness shows up from time to time and does it’s best to wreck my plans for productivity. I’ve learned many tricks that help: yoga, essential oils, good nutrition, and supplements. Still, I have off days of little to no sleep.

Progress not perfection.

Instead of a run, I slept late. Then, I took my son to the aquarium, where we met our aunt, uncle, and cousins. We ate lunch at the cafe instead of at home as planned and ended with ice cream.

It’s been some time since we’ve seen this part of our family and it was fun to catch up while exploring. I absolutely loved this day and the time spent with my sweet boy and our family.

It was a treat.

Guilt lingered in the background to be sure it wasn’t left out, and pestered this morning as the sun came up.

And today, I’m back on schedule and headed out for a run. I intend to eat better too- again.

I wonder if guilt is what gets me back on track? I also wonder if grace could be a better more kind and edifying encourager?

Off to pound that out. Wishing you a day filled with guilt-free joy!

Running Lessons: A snake…

Remember the snake fear that came to mind at my 5:00 am alarm last week? Well, that became a reality during yesterday’s 5-mile long run. So in defense of the psychological immune system, it does know things. However, the moral of this story up front is, I survived.

Snakes are a real possibility when you run on a trail in North Texas. This one was of the rat snake variety (according to a biker who passed it when we did) and was long enough to stretch the width of our paved trail.

It was harmless.

Still, I think I stopped breathing for a minute or two following the sighting. Which, in my defense, could have been deadly.

But, it was not.

One of my big fears came to be yesterday and it wasn’t that bad. As I finished my run, with improved pace time, I couldn’t help but think about how this relates to most of the fears that have held me back in life. Maybe you too?

I literally have the word Courage tattooed on my arm and have spent the last several years perfecting the art of “doing it scared”.

I took my first yoga class, because I heard it could be helpful in practicing bravery. (It is!) I discovered essential oils to help support my emotions and overcome other fears. Hiking has become an effort in intentional adventure and running has helped tremendously too.

As a therapist and coach, I work with others to help them overcome the scary and live a life they love. As a student, I study resilience and the power of mind. I guess you could say I’ve learned to leverage this challenge of mine and use it to add value to my life and that of others.

What I continue to discover is that fear is indeed a liar or an exaggerator at best. Rotten things do happen but most of the time they don’t. Leaning into difficult experiences builds strength for that which lies ahead.

Running trails and life have unexpected challenges, but I wonder, if we don’t take those trails, how can we truly know our fullest potential? I still hesitate. I will probably always need to breathe through scary moments. It’s my wiring, but it is no longer my cage.

Today, my challenge was a friendly snake, and I’m happy to report I lived to write about it.

What would you do today if you knew you would succeed? I say go for it! I can’t wait to hear about your success.

Be well,

Franchesca

Running Lessons: Rest Days

Confession: Rest Days make me nervous.

I think the problem stems from the fact that I do not ever really rest. I generally only sleep 4-5 hours, and then, run full speed through my daily tasks. So, having a designated day, when I am suppose to be resting, feels a like a lot of pressure.

I am in no way glorifying my busy. I admire people who can relax, read books without stopping to research something that needs more explanation, or watch a television show without working on a blog, the Young Living Business, editing photos, or cleaning the house.

Still, that is not me- yet.

See that growth mindset thing I did there? As it turns out, I’ve actually improved in this area. Calming down takes practice when you have genetics like mine.

Don’t laugh.

In full honesty, I come from a long line of people who don’t sleep much, work too much, don’t retire, idle high, and never stop thinking.

Strengths call this Intellection & Achievement.

I long to be good at rest. I oil regularly and yoga often to get there. And no, the irony of my working to rest, does not escape me.

Strengths calls this Restorative.

Interestingly, my brain slows down when I am running. Thoughts get themselves in order. I’m able to become more steady minded and grounded. My breaths deepen and fill my core. Eventually, I can hear my heartbeat; on good days I hear His voice.

And I listen for my next steps.

Maybe for me, running days are actually my rest days?

Who else runs to rest?

Running Lessons: Grace to Fail

I am recovering perfectionist.

Perfectionism’s greatest accomplice is Pleaser.

Once overburdened about what the world thought of me, I existed mostly to please them- ALL of them. In my confusion, I believed that I was much bigger than I actually was. I believed that when people were cruel, it must in some way be my fault. I believed when I was offended, I had the right to offend; I couldn’t please them anyway. I believed in fairness and thought if I worked hard enough, I could accomplish anything, get anyone to like me (even those I did not like myself), and I was convinced I was in control.

Brokeness has a way of letting the light in- I read this on Instagram- I think. And it’s true. When I was at the end of myself, I encountered a moment with my Creator, where I was urged to put down the things I could not control and to continue doing it everyday for the rest of my life.

The things I could not control…

All. Of. It.

I started running about the time grace to fail began seeping into my life, and my favorite part was and still is the sunrise I witness approaching mile two. It is a simple reminder of how incredibly small I am and just how magnificently grand He is. This revelation changes things- HE is big and we are small.

I even began stopping in the middle of my runs to collect photos of these sunrises for my instagram account @cheskafaith, so I can go to those moments in the middle of a hectic day and find my point of reference.

Knowing I have this grace allows me to extend it to others too. This is actually the coolest part. People are not as scary anymore. I’ve learned, that they too, are simply trying to navigate. Nothing is personal. People on journey sometimes want help with their baggage, and sometimes they do not. And it is all fine. Grace to fail means we can all just be and it works.

I’ve discovered putting things down, extending grace to myself and others, and remaining pleasing, soley to the One who created me for His pleasure, is a practice; it is not a destination- much like yoga. Thankfully, there is joy in the journey, when there is grace to fail.

I wish you many sunrises.

Sunrise

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:4