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: 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- Fear is a Liar

The alarm went off at 5:45 am to signal our first weekday early morning training run.

Mercy.

Immediately, the psychological immune system kicked into high gear and reminded me of every scary thing that might occur if I proceeded with this run.

Wild dogs.

Coyotes.

Snakes.

An then,

It’s still dark.

You can run later.

Where are you shoes anyway?

Maybe you need more rest…

Here’s the thing, I have run in this neighborhood (a suburb in a farming community) for over 5 years. And, I am still here to tell about it.

Well-meaning, the psychological immune system is meant to keep us safe. It has real value when real danger is present. Still, mine can be a bit neurotic at times. It’s a struggle and action is the only cure.

Up, oiled, and out the door I went. And nope, I didn’t die!

I also caught a sunrise which I like to believe is a special gift for the brave who wander outdoors on purpose before the rest of the world is awake. Bonus.

Today, I encourage us both to put fear in its place and live boldly in freedom and victory.

What will you do today that scares you just a little?

Have an amazing day! Be of good courage.

A series: Running Lessons- Day 1

When I share my love for running with others, there are generally some who respond with a curiosity about my sanity, and then, there are some who get it.

Hear me, I love both respondents. Yet, it is the ones who understand the joys of sweating, hurting, and forcing the body and mind to near death experiences, on purpose, that are forever my people.

See, I know that those people, the runners, have first hand knowledge of the clarity of mind that comes at mile two and the bargaining that begins at the end of three, six, and again at nine. They know the patience, self-control, and tolerance that can exist while running, and how those skills support the rest of the day.

For me, running lessons have changed the way I live. In this next blog series, I want to share some of this and I hope, if you’re a runner, I will see a “me too” in the comments.

Share your lessons. I want to know what you learn out there. I hope to cultivate some connections and maybe even some accountability between people who learn things on the road through the intentional act of putting one foot in front of the other for the sake of a new t-shirt.

Full disclosure: I have been slacking off on my running this past year. Consequently, other parts of my life have suffered too. Weight and stress management for two, but more concerning are stifled idea-making, problem-solving, and creativity. My sleep has also taken a hit.

Most concerning? Not hearing from God. While running, I can’t get distracted, multitask, take a call, or respond to a child. Instead, I am more open to listen. I miss this most.

With that, today I began training for a half marathon in 12 weeks. It was a hot and slow run, but it is done.

Today’s lesson: Not every run will be noticeably life-altering. Do it anyway, because they really are.

With that, I am one day closer to my goal and chipping away at my excuse pile. Join me?

This gift was in my mailbox when I returned from my run today. Perhaps!

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