“I’ve been lately thinking about my life’s time”; from John Denver’s Poems Prayers and Promises is one of, if not my favorite line from a song. It seems I’ve been doing a lot of that lately and today even more so as I’m supposed to be writing a few words for a youth black belt graduation.
Much has happened, in these past weeks, in my life and at my school. Which is probably why I’ve been erratic with my posts. Personally I’ve been preparing for a half marathon, and traveling west to visit family and to attend my nephew’s wedding. There’s also been a lot at the school; belt testing, including youth black belt, preparing the school for my absence, and the usual day-to-day activities of a martial art school. However the greatest impact has been the loss of too many people I’ve known either personally or through my school.
I realize that we are closing in on the end of a decade and typically these are transitional periods. Which makes me reflect deeper, not just about the lives we’ve lost, but what am I supposed to be learning? Is it just to appreciate more (stop and smell the roses) or does it go deeper? Am I supposed to be contributing more? Leading an exemplary life?
I take teaching others seriously–Martial arts instruction is more than physical. I’m hoping to relay that tonight in my words to the people attending the graduation, but more than that, I need to help people to realize that the most important thing we can do or teach is to be our best selves…
“The days they pass so quickly now.” Hopefully we can find the time to talk of “Poems, Prayers and Promises”For my old classmate Tricia, for the EBMA parent Michael, and for my friend Ron, til we meet again.
I often place unneeded pressure on myself; For instance the essence of this blog is “thoughts from the run”, but what if I don’t want to share those thoughts? See what I mean? I’ve sort of promised more than I’m sometimes willing to keep… In my defense when I first started running seriously every run was filled with some sort of amazing revelation (at least to me). Whether it was about my journey, what I was experiencing or just how I was feeling. Now that I’ve been running (slogging) fairly seriously for a year, I’m finding my thoughts are more mine and for me only.Emotions or issues I’m dealing with and finding clarity from the run.
Turning 60 last year was amazing one of my best years ever, I was able to travel and experience new adventures, met new friends and reached new goals. I was running with rose colored glasses. That was until the end of last October when I found out a friend of mine was experiencing a serious health threat. That shook me hard! Many of my runs following that news consisted of Why, Why has this happened? Why this person? Why am I so lucky?
I thought about some of my Facebook posts and past blogs where I preached my training beliefs trying to inspire others but wondering if I was coming off as a bragger, or a know it all. Was I excited to share my new found passion for running or was I preaching?
These thoughts still occupy much of my runs, as do the worries about my parents aging, my neighbor’s health, my business’s future (my future ), but here is a thought that came to me today as I was running my neighbor hood route. The first mile is an incline and it can be a challenge somedays but then I turn a corner and the terrain levels out, another corner and it’s downhill all the way home…
I thought that profound (at least I think so) observation was worth sharing; There are always going to be hills to climb but if we continue to keep moving forward one step at a time there will be corners to turn and an easy run home…
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.”
Part of my after-holiday traditions is to reread my Christmas cards. I love getting and giving cards all year round but Christmas greetings are special. I’m not sure if it’s the significance of the holiday – The fact that this might be the only time you hear from certain family members or friends – It’s probably a combination of both.
I enjoy looking at them again to remind me of the many people who took the time to share a part of themselves with me during the holiday. It is also a time to reflect on the past year and to look ahead to the new year at hand. Knowing there’s always the possibility that one of these cards might be the last one I’ll ever receive from someone. Which is why I save a select few each year, just in case, but to also find among my books in the coming years so I can revisit the past, to remind me to live in the present and look forward to the future…
Greetings dear friends and family! Thanks to all who shared a kind word this past season, Blessings for good health, happiness and fortune in 2014…
Today was the day for the Pell Bridge Run ( the infamous bridge on the RI State quarter). The weather cooperated nicely, temps in the low 50’s with overcast skies, the wind was between 10 and 15mph. I was awake at 4am and out of the house at 5am (I know crazy), it was so peaceful driving into Newport it gave me plenty of time to gather my thoughts on why I love this run so much. First there’s the novelty of running over a two mile bridge toward one of the most historic seaports in the world – With the sunrising behind it no less! Add in the fact that it takes place on Veterans Day weekend, running with countless service men and woman not to mention the veterans is a privilege, and a great opportunity for me to thank them for their service. Makes this a must run, for me every year!
The course was adjusted so we ended at the yachting center, which meant I had to walk Thames Street back to my car. This was a great! I got to cool down my legs and literally walk down memory lane. Thames, is where my friends and I spent countless hours during our time at Newport Hospital School of Nursing. The shops were all closed and the street was quiet (for Newport) and it was a blissful and for a quick moment tear-filled walk. Frankly I don’t know if I was crying over my lost youth or just how overwhelmingly blessed I was feeling? My guess, it was a combination of both!
You can say this past Sunday I went to church with over 5000 people! It wasn’t your typical church in fact there wasn’t even a building – We did have a Friar who lead us in prayer before the “mass” took off. This congregation met on the streets of Providence RI for the CVS 5K; an event which has turned into a pilgrimage for me and for many others.
The similarities of church and running a race may not be evident for people who don’t run: Yet for those of us who do it is one of the most uplifting services we attend. As runners/walkers we are sharing our faith in putting one foot in front of the other knowing at the end there will be a finish line where we will reunite with one another to share in the glory of our struggle – Sound a little like heaven?
The race as a metaphor for our lives on earth isn’t the only common thread. There is the sense of communion, it might be pizza and water instead of bread and wine, but the feeling of gratitude and being blessed is the same at least for me. Good Samaritans abound; volunteers, and fellow runners looking after one another; all of this taking place while the rain ends,clouds part and the sun shines! If that isn’t “Divine Intervention” I don’t know what is?
The runners/walkers weren’t the only ones who were blessed by the day anyone who witnessed and shared in the glory were inspired by faith, hope and love!
It’s been exactly a week since I got the news of Shirley’s death. I’m still kind of numb. Shirley has been gone for over a month and though I’ve only just found out she wasn’t physically among us. From the time of her death until I was notified she was still alive to me – Which is how I have to go on – Like she is still here…
I spent Monday morning by the water at Colt State Park, where Sai and I would go and talk (she would talk I would listen) those many mornings after work. Shirl would wrap her arm around my shoulder to get me to look her in the eye – Those crystal blue eyes filled with wisdom and compassion. I always felt like she could look right through me. Never being anyone to hold her tongue she would say” bubbie you need to face facts life is hard, no one gets a free ride.” You’re right Sai no free ride. I thought about that just as two gulls where flying by, one gull veered off and flew higher and the second one landed on a rock. I have no doubt Sai staged this as her goodbye…
One week down and a lifetime left without Sai, but she is still here – I just wish I could see her eyes one more time…