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- Don’t run alone.

Accountability is one of the many reasons for this series. I’ve committed to run and write about running and the life that follows. Although this has been a great practice to keep me both consistently moving, thinking, and writing, I can’t help but be grateful for the person with whom I am running this race.

On long runs, I follow my husband. I learned this practice several years ago. Honestly, it was in the practice of running that has God shown me how to follow my husband.

Tom’s top five Gallup Strengths are Empathy, Harmony, Communication, Arranger, & Maximizer. Mine are Strategic, Restorative, Input, Achiever & Intellection. You might say he’s all heart and connection, and I’m head and execution in this marriage, but that wouldn’t be completely true.

With Restorative qualities, I also have a deep desire to heal what’s broken in the world and with Arranger and Maximizer strengths he loves his work as a public educator and leader.

We are both soft and steel; we are murky-deep and still transparent. Our strengths characterize how we make things happen, but our passions dictate which things.

With Strategic as my number one, I rarely enjoy being told what to do. Years ago, I fully understood following my husband to be just this. I struggled because 1.) He didn’t often tell me what to do. 2.) When he did, I rarely listened. This caused some problems early in our marriage. I won’t sugar coat this- I was wrong.

And we almost didn’t make it.

Still, somewhere around year eleven, after Tom had torn his Achilles’ heal/tendon. Our marriage and his ankle healed. He did the work. Physical therapy, exercise, ate right, took his supplements, and began to rebuild his lifelong running practice.

Meanwhile, I had begun running 5Ks with my newly found health. I was new to running, but Tom coached me from the couch as he recovered.

Now, we began running together. As he recovered, he began to pass me. I followed begrudgingly and only because he was faster. After awhile though, I began to love the security I felt following him.

With his strengths of empathy, he signals when bikers are near, checks for me when I slow, and paces our race based on both of our needs (mostly mine). In life, I continue to watch for his signals and do my best to follow.

I am the weaker vessel, and I am fine with this.

I’m grateful for my husband and his leadership on and off the road. I’ve learned that one of my best strategies, is to defer to him. He understands what I need before I do and this is a gift for my highly driven and Achievement oriented design. He also helps me finish what I start because he believes in me while I’m still stirring the excuses in my prayer closet and strategizing.

This practice keeps peace and passion alive in our marriage. It is organization, not control. It’s by design, and I absolutely adore it!

I am beyond grateful for my running partner and the God who orchestrated every step.

Who or what keeps you going?

Curious about strengths in your marriage? I’d love to help! Click here for more information on Strengths Finder.

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: Temperance & Training

We completed our first long run yesterday and it was tough. Texas heat does not help and shoes with over three hundred miles plead their case for retirement at mile 4.

Temperance is a tricky concept for me. It is kin to consistency. So, after the 6 mile run, my husband and I spent the next several hours eating- and not the best things either.

This morning as I sip green tea with fresh lemon (trying to undo the street tacos from last night) I realized that I need to come up with a nutrition plan to accompany our training plan, if I don’t want to have a wrecked gut by race day.

My Gallup Strengths themes: Strategic, Restorative, & Achievement support this type of planning, but Input wants to gather every plan ever made and Intellection would like to think about all of them until next December. Meanwhile, my husband’s strengths themes: Empathy & Harmony understand and extend to grace to our lack of diet discipline. His Arranger, Communication, & Maximizer qualities are discussing things and making the best of our current situation.

Meanwhile I have a stomach ache.

We have many strengths, but discipline and consistency are not at the top of the list.

So, this morning I am going to work on a nutrition plan- again…

I would love to know how you meal plan for success!

Gallup Strengths Finder

One of the many interests that I squeeze on my insta-bio is Gallup Coach.

Gallup is an organization that researched the characteristics, traits, or tendencies, that make up people. Gallup calls these elements talents. From research, they’ve discovered that understanding personal talents and growing them into strengths makes a positive difference in performances.

Gallup identified 34 talent themes and once assessed, an individual can see how their talents line up. This knowledge creates awareness. Strengths coaching can produce a personalized performance strategy.

Regardless of the talent themes, each person can develop strengths and improve his/her life simply by doing what they were uniquely designed to do. I coach people of all ages beginning as young as 10 years old.

This coaching design has a valuable impact on work, goal-setting, family-life, parenting, academics, and relationships. In addition, it is great for students, teachers, ministry groups, teams, and businesses.

This type of personal development can make life more meaningful and fulfilling, because clients understand how they best function and then strategize to make contributions to the world around them in a unique and natural way.

The other title on my insta-bio is professional counselor. More specifically, I am a solution-focused counselor who relies on the client to be the expert regarding his/her life. As an SF counselor, I’m simply a guide who helps the client discover what is going well and how to do more of that in life to see improvements. This practice is similar to strengths-based coaching, as it focuses on what people do well instead of working on what they do not.

Perspective changes things!

Personally, Strengths Finder helped me determine how I wanted to spend my life. I don’t live within conventional roles for my professional life any longer. Instead, with my Gallup Strengths Coach, I work to develop a life that makes sense for me and my unique design. Now, my life and insta-bio are full of things I am passionate about and can make a living doing!

Do you live a life you love? How did you make that happen?

If not yet, I would love to help you take the next step! Let’s connect.

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