A lovely glass of claret enjoyed with a roasted chicken on a Friday night. Sitting in the hammock. Watching the summer sky. Perfect. Nothing more to do than watch the clouds and listen to the cicadas.
I’m back to running 5-6 days a week. And I’m back to loving it. Mostly – it’s so easy. Or maybe better – so simple. Put on some shoes and I’m out the door for a little fresh air and exercise.
On my run today. I saw a giant heron gliding overhead. A convertible Rolls Royce cruising by. I waved to a little girl in her stroller wearing a sun bonnet. And said hi to a dozen people walking by. The whole time, I was awed by the beauty of the Caribbean blue lake that kept me company along the way.
I love running.
For sure, I’ve tried to complicate it over the years. With crazy training schedules, super-shoes, GPS’s and heart rate monitors. Setting my goals too far and too fast.
These days. I don’t always wear a watch. Never a GPS. Ditched the heart rate deal. No training schedule. I don’t even wear socks anymore. A minimum pair of shoes and appropriate outfit for the weather. And I am out the door.
And for the next few months – I’m running for a cause.
It’s an awesome program in our local grade schools and around the country that promotes positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development for girls. It’s amazing! I could gush about it here – but rather – I encourage you to visit their site and be inspired!
I’ve been an athlete my entire life. Where would I be without that? I can’t imagine. Being able to run. Being active. Has literally saved me. It’s given me confidence. Self-esteem. Fitness. Purpose. Joy. I would like to give that sense of confidence and joy to as many little girls as possible.
So. On Sunday October 7th I’ll be running the Chicago Marathon precisely for this purpose. To raise money to support this wonderful organization. If you would like to offer your support you can contribute via my race page. And help spread the gift of running to girls everywhere!
The little boy in The Carrot Seed didn’t need his family to reassure him that what he was doing was right, or good, or worth the time. He planted a carrot seed. And took care of it. And confidently awaited the results. Whatever they may be. Sure enough. The carrot came up. But I have a feeling, this little dude would have been ok if it didn’t. Odds are, with his confidence. He would have started again with another seed.
With everything decided by committee and influenced by oh so clever marketing, it is becoming more and more difficult to act as independently and self-assuredly as our little boy. In fact. I’ve been noticing a great deal of ambivalence, even ennui among people lately. You know. Like some people are sort of bored. Kind of overwhelmed. Not entirely happy. Unsatisfied. Not sure where to turn. Hardly capable of nurturing a little carrot seed!
Where did the little boy find such confidence to act as he pleased?
Can we develop such assurance? Could this help overcome the ennui?
I believe so.
Not too very long ago, I found that I spent a lot of time trying to do everything right. And waiting to be praised for it. Because. Isn’t that validation so wonderful? (Let’s not talk about how it feels to mess up however. The self-loathing of not being praised by others.)
Also. Rather than confidently watering and weeding and waiting for my carrot to come up. I would fret over the stress and worries others imparted upon me, sometimes to the point where I would just give up because of their crankiness.
And too. I so enjoyed to be part of a group (the right group) and feel that sense of belonging. Validation. To wear stripes when everyone was wearing stripes and alligators when everyone was wearing alligators. Look at us! Yes! We look wonderful in our getups! You fit in! We validate you! Being with us special people…Makes you REAL and GOOD and WORTHY!
Totally Star-Bellied Sneetches!
And then. You know. One day you show up and you didn’t get the memo. And you’re wearing a mini while all the other ladies are wearing maxies. Please! You hope. Tell me I look fabulous anyway! I need to be validated. But nobody does. And you fall out with that group. Because. Maybe you never really fit in at all anyway.
And then ennui sets in. Because who now to validate you?
Somewhere along the way. It hit me.
If I validate me. I am always here for me. I can listen to me. And have confidence in me. And be ok with me. Because. Really. Me is all I have all the time. Every moment of every day.
I Validate Me.
Does that sound nutty?
If a tree falls in the woods does anyone here it?
If you write a post does anyone read it?
Does it matter?
I Validate Me.
Early last evening I was laying in the hammock waiting for the Space Station to go by. Binoculars at the ready, watching every far away spec in the fading blue sky. I never did see it. But. I had a wonderfully relaxing time in the hammock thinking I might.
This morning I took the newspaper and my Kindle, and my notebook and sat down by the pond. The lily was opening on the lily pads. The sun was just rising in the eastern sky. I sipped my coffee and watched the birds and the fish. And the lily opening.
I never did read the paper. Or turn on my Kindle. Or write in my journal.
I just sat. Enjoying the splendid morning.
The fine art of summer.
I’ve asked my boys to put away their computer games for a bit. I’ve suggested to Tim he might want to play a few less rounds of Words with Friends.
Why otherwise do we need to be so engaged. When we can disengage and rest and recharge. And just sit and be.
What has happened to the fine art of summer?
Is it so terrible to sit. Unoccupied. Disconnected. With nothing more to do than listen while our mind can rest or wander.
Who just sits anymore? Well. There’s me. I’ll be honest though. It didn’t come easily. You will note I did bring those many things along with me to the pond this morning.
Happily. Once I was sitting comfortably in my chair. Really. There was nothing else I wanted to do.
But enjoy this summer day.
Sitting on the patio. Under the umbrella. It’s hot. It’s windy. The glare from the sun makes it a strain to see my computer screen. The flies are biting my legs even though I’m burning some stick of something that is supposed to make them not.
I am a bit uncomfortable. Ok. More than a bit with these flies! I should be annoyed. Irritable. Angry even.
Why? What will my anger achieve? Will it remove the flies? Stop the sun from shining? The wind from blowing?
I’m burning the stick. I’m under the umbrella. I’m mostly protected from the crazy wind. I’m doing all I can to manage the elements. Now what is my choice? Get pissed?
To accept them. To know that if I continue to work outdoors right at this moment. I’m going to be a little bit on the uncomfortable side.
So. How about Laughing Like the Buddha instead?
I’m currently reading Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective, by the Dalai Lama. Shantideva teaches that we can overcome our angry ways by practicing patience and tolerance. A primary step to this practice? To accept that life is full of discomforts and inconveniences. Suffering is an everyday occurrence.
But we can overcome it.
Just like Max’s baseball team did last night.
They got run over in an unpretty game that was made even less pretty by a gusty 95 degree dust filled wind relentlessly pelting players and fans alike. Uncomfortable conditions and results to say the least.
How were our boys after the game you wonder? Hot. Dirty. Unhappy with the loss for sure. Wanting to have played a better game no doubt.
They came off the field a little draggy. Until. They spotted the towers of pizza boxes waiting for them under the pavilion.
Pizza! Awesome! Happy Happy Boys!
They were all laughing like little buddhas spattered with sauce and infield dust.
The power of pizza! What our children teach us!
And no worries. They were back on the practice diamond this afternoon. Working hard to meet their next opponent. Ready for whatever comes their way.