This is a word that’s been in the forefront of my thoughts for a while now… Why does it seem more difficult for people to commit more now than ever?
Commitment is an issue we deal with every day in almost every aspect of our lives. Relationships are built upon it, showing up for work, school, the gym a run, paying your mortgage… Endless!
Maybe it’s the fact that we have too many commitments — We have so many more choices now than we ever did and with choice comes commitment. Being overcommitted is a sure way to lose focus on some of our bigger ones. For example how many marriages or relationships are taken for granted while attending to the work, social, and financial commitments. How many of us quit on ourselves? Diets ended because it was easier to grab fast food on the way to pick up a child from soccer practice or the dog from the groomer? Who’s joined a gym in January and hasn’t been there since February because “life” just got too hectic? Does your day planner or google calendar look more complicated than the plans for D Day?
Believe me I don’t have the magical cure and some of what I’ve written I can’t totally relate to, being single and sixty-one I have different complications — Such as elderly parents, and a business to run. We all have our “busy” but what I’ve come to realize the “hard” way is by avoiding the number one commitment “OURSELVES” we’re never going to be any good at keeping the others.
Believe me if you are sick of being unhappy or unfulfilled and you are just going through the motions of the other commitments. Everyone knows it sometime before you realize it. So before you start looking to change where you live, your hair style enhance your mood with food, drugs or alcohol. Sit quietly for a minute and think about what is it you need? What are you passionate about? What drives you?
For me I love people, I enjoy teaching and helping people but it starts with me… My routine for keeping me at my best goes like this; I commit to daily meditation and a few lines of spiritual reading, routine exercise and I block off Sunday mornings as nonnegotiable time I run for at least one hour. There is also my martial art training. Again my situation is different, but can’t you get up 10minutes earlier tomorrow to sit quietly or however you’d like to feed your spirit?
Believe me commitments are always going to be there, so why not embrace the most important one your mental, physical and spiritual health! Because if you don’t you’ll never be able to commit fully to anything or anyone else…
Two weeks ago browsing in Barnes and Noble I happened upon a book by one of my favorite teachers Pema Chodron, COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY. I didn’t realize at the time that it was prophetic!
I’m a very structured person. I like schedules, routine and “certainty”. However 2018 has been less certain than anytime I can remember. Whether it’s a universal shift, my getting older which means my family is getting older therefore more susceptible to illness or I’m just more aware…
A day doesn’t pass without me hearing of another friend, family member or some associate suffering from a loss, a diagnosis or some other issue or another. Which has made me keenly aware of how fragile it all is and how very little control we have in anything, except our reaction to what is happening.
These past months at my martial art studio has been a whirlwind of activities, which has kept me in high gear without a break – Until this week. You’d think a simple week off would be filled with R&R – No. Instead surprises daily, sick staff members, auto accidents, miscommunications. Then there is the scheduled car service that got messed up, closed restaurants, revamped lunch plans ect, etc, etc. The list is endless!
I react with a deep breath, be grateful for the moment and carry on… I run the streets of my neighborhood, the local bike path and today – finally Colt State Park. Where by putting one foot in front of the other moving forward realizing the only certainty is this step and this breath, that the only control I have is my reaction to the beauty surrounding me, knowing that life isn’t perfect, but there are moments always unplanned that you feel perfectly content being “as it is”.
I was introduced to this concept earlier this week at a program on anxiety. The facilitator Dr. Mark Schneider Ph.D, spoke on the differences of “wanting” and “willing” to do something. This struck a chord with me because I’ve always been fascinated with how some people will go through hell and back to accomplish something whereas others say they want something but can’t seem to get it…
Which calls to mind the many individuals who’ve crossed my path either as a student or a fellow martial artist — All seemingly wanting the same goal but ultimately most weren’t willing to achieve the goal of black belt. Ironically it had nothing to do with the individual’s ability or aptitude for martial arts most of the people who dropped out where very talented; In fact most of the students who struggled and learned from their presumed failures went on to become very good practitioners.
Then there was today. My training run just a short 2plus miles around the neighbor hood and I had to will myself into going. I’ve been working ridiculous hours in and out of the school without a break since January. I’m mentally and physically spent. Yet I knew if I could lace up my running shoes and take two steps out the door I’d get the work out in. You see I’m willing to run to get what I want; good health, energy, a better mood, and maybe a fairly inspired blog post.
There are so many amazing individuals who will themselves to amazing things everyday. So my quick trip around the neighborhood is hardly newsworthy but it made me appreciate myself more. It made me feel better, and far less sorry for myself. So the next time you think about wanting something think about what you’re willing to do for it? Then as the ad says “Just Do It” or at least be willing to try!
I set out on my usual Wednesday 2 miler, looking forward to clearing my head, working up a sweat and trying to gain some perspective on what’s been a crazy start to 2018.
Running does all of the above, it’s my antidepressant, my fat burner, and my Gingko Biloba. Which is why most of these blogs are written soon after returning from my runs. Today’s hill thought is no exception. If you’ve been following my journey please excuse the next bit explaining how I started and where I am now (first I will be turning 61 in about six weeks, I’m a former nurse, who is a master teacher/owner of a martial arts school who decided to run a half marathon to celebrate her 60th year). I’ve run on and off since 1991 but didn’t become seriously committed to running until training for the half.
Now back to the hills during my training and until very recently I walked slogged up most large hills. Then it occurred to me that I’m running six miles with relative ease the hills are no longer a physical but a mental challenge. That’s when I start using my soft eyes technique (borrowed from meditation). You simply direct your gaze to only a few feet in front of you. Focusing just a few feet kept me from seeing the size and steepness of the hill. I felt the shift in the incline much like on a treadmill but maintain my narrow focus to the task at hand running a few more feet. I’ve taken this lesson into my busy life, I try not to look at the enormity of a task or event, I maintain my focus on smaller tasks that will lead to completing or solving the challenge. Yes there are unexpected obstacles but just like the physical obstacles along my run I navigate them to the best of my ability and stay away from worry of completion just trusting that one step at a time will tackle any hill as long as I remain focused and committed…
Enjoy the process, the results are usually worth it!
I ran six miles today and it’s February 4th! That was my “Big Game”. To think a year ago I wouldn’t have entertained running in February – Maybe on a treadmill (then again this time last year it would have been 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill.)
Why is any of the above relevant? My point is no matter how old or where you are in you head-space you can change your thoughts. I hated winter and made all those around me fully aware of my feelings – I’d start whining in December and would continue to piss and moan through Easter. I would put on 5 to 10lbs every winter mostly through less exercise but also stress eating. I’d be checking the fifteen day forecast more often than a broker checks the market. My mood would be as cold as the weather.
What changed? My attitude — I decided to run a half marathon. That goal got me to the gym and on the treadmill last winter and onto the roads this past spring and summer. I became a different person losing 15lbs, running more seriously 3 times per week; two shorter training runs and a long run on Sundays, getting to 12 miles before the half. I didn’t want to give up all that I gained so this year I got winter running gear. I’ve been running when the weather or road conditions cooperate or hit the gym if the weather is bad. I’m still checking the 15 day forecast not so I can complain but so I can schedule my running. My attitude toward winter has changed, not that I love it but I found an appreciation for the rests it affords.
Winter teaches me that I’m not totally in control of what happens but I am in control of how I react to what happens.
I’ve taken advantage of the snow days and got a lot of paper work done, reading, listened to pod casts, watched Ted Talks. Things that I’d have less time to do in better weather. I’m finding more happiness in simple things like just sitting with my cat, building a puzzle with my 94 year-old neighbor, taking my mother to visit my aunt or sharing the bike path with a squirrel, sparrows, and a red tail hawk.
Dr Wayne Dyer was right “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
What are you looking at now?
Last year I chose inspire the word for “My Intent bracelet”. This year I chose CREATE – I want to continue my momentum from 2017, building my inspirations into creations.
This past year had many wonderful highlights including training and completing a half marathon, reaching my goal weight, being in the best shape of my life. There was the travel to NYC, Las Vegas, Az, Boston and Nantucket. Time with family and friends along with new friends made.
There were challenges as any year brings but I feel better about my ability to face them.
2018, my intentions are to CREATE more adventures, complete more challenges, give more to my students, family, friends and community…
Blessings to all remember you create your own reality, we all control how we react to the things that happen to us. Choose to react positively!
My latest Shutterfly creation was a place mat with the above picture with the words “Make Fireworks Every Day”. This is to remind myself to give my best in all aspects of my day.
Somedays this might be a 200% goal reached on my Apple Watch’s activity app, a new personal distance ran. It could be learning something new about teaching, martial arts, childhood development, nutrition, or just general knowledge. Sometimes it’s giving incredible service at my business, inspiring my martial art students to be their very best. Then again it could be assisting an elderly neighbor who’s locked themselves out of their apartment, helping an aging parent with their chores. We can make fireworks by being a shoulder to a friend in need of one, supporting a charity with a donation or volunteering.
There are millions more ways we can create fireworks, (the good kind) – Which is why every morning with my breakfast I look up and see a small sign that says “There is always something to be grateful for” and now when I look down I see fireworks and my mission for the day; To make each day count, to be better than I was yesterday, to spread love, kindness and inspiration to all I meet… In other words MAKE FIREWORKS EVERYDAY!
Do you have a morning mantra, mission statement or ritual? If yes please share, I’d love to hear how you’re making fireworks…