Our Best Selves

“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”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor my old classmate Tricia, for the EBMA parent Michael, and for my friend Ron, til we meet again.

Run on,

Gin

Now is All We Have…

These past weeks have been fraught with long hours at work, and endless bad news…

My choices were curl into a fetal position and ignore it all, complain to anyone and everyone, or run for my sanity. I chose run.

Today with weary legs and a heavy heart I headed out for my ten-mile training run. I found out yesterday that a nursing school classmate had passed. Sixty-one isn’t old. Yet age doesn’t make a difference with death, it comes when it chooses not when we choose.

There has been so much illness among my friends, and associates lately — It is so disheartening. I understand it is all part of life and as we age it becomes more evident, it doesn’t mean it becomes less hard or scary it just is…

It is very easy at times like these to focus on all the scary the future holds or the seemingly better days of the past, but what is and always will be is now. That is what we need to focus on — It’s all we got.

This thought led me to recall one of my favorite Zen stories; There once was a monk who while walking happened upon a ferocious tiger. The monk backed away from the tiger to the edge of a cliff, where he noticed a vine the monk grabbed the vine holding on for dear life. When he noticed two mice were gnawing the vine. The monk had nowhere to go. He looked around and saw a beautiful strawberry. With one hand he picked the berry and ate it, “What a delicious berry,” Proclaimed the monk.animal-big-cat-roar-47312 

You see the tiger represents the past the monk clinging to the vine represents now and the fall into the chasm represents the future or death. My advice is to enjoy the now. Pick that strawberry and taste it with all your senses. Because no-one knows how long it will take the mice to chew through your vine…

Run on,

Gin

Turning Corners, and sharing thoughts…

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…

Keep moving forward…

G

Life Odometer @60

Remember when the odometer on a car just flipped instead of flash?

If you do then your life odometer is close to mine…

I remember my first car when I’d try to recall each major odometer milestone 1000 miles happened on President Avenue Fall River, and so on…

Now that my life’s odometer hit 60 years I’m suddenly more aware of personal milestones; where I’ve been, where I am and yes, where I’m going…

Life’s journey is not so much different than a road trip; the past is in the rearview, the present is behind the wheel, and the future is on the GPS…

I’m trying to be very aware of where I am and how I got here so I can plan my next turn. I’ve been inspired by my young students who’ve graduated to black belt. One of whom gave me a bracelet with “It’s not a sprint, It’s a marathon” on it. An awesome reminder that I’m in it for the long haul. I’ve also have been rejuvenated in my running through reading Runners World the amazing stories of runners in their 70’s running ultras and the many other runners who’ve over come challenges. This has motivated me to take on a half marathon. Which ironically will be right about when my odometer will hit 60.5…

Good to be back!

Gin

The Edge of Periphery

Thrill seekers enjoy living on the edge; The excitement of danger and the potential for harm. A seemingly insane way to go about life to those of us who prefer to live within the presumed norms. However I believe there’s an even more dangerous way to live and that’s on the “Edge of Periphery” those who live  via their television, computer, tablet and smart phone screens. Reading posts and tweets of celebrities, friends or getting lost in You Tube, videos gaming or Television programs – Never really experiencing what they’re viewing.

Technology has brought the world to our finger tips and has given us many opportunities to view it but life is about living in the world. A world  that doesn’t have pixels or HD.

Don’t get too close to either edge, one you may fall far the other you get sucked into, given the choice I think I’d prefer falling…

Do your self a favor get into the world today and untangle yourself from the web…

To Life!

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2013 Marathon

This blog often uses running as a metaphor for life – Such is the case for this entry.

Races have distances; 5k, 10k 10miler, 1/2 marathons and marathons. Time has measurements too; seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years. So it sort of makes sense (to me) to compare a year (2013) to a marathon.

Distance running is about endurance, struggling through the first mile, trying to establish a rhythm the ebb and flow of endorphins and pain. Getting through a year is about day to day struggles, establishing routines, living through the good times and struggling through the difficult times.

Running teaches us commitment, focus, how to deal with pain, and how to revel in the small victories as well as the big wins, but mostly it teaches us about Life…

Here’s wishing everyone a good RUN in the 2014 Marathon…

 

No Worries, When You’re Looking Forward

Had one of those “AHA” Moments today while running; It occurred to me when I’m in a positive state of anticipation, like preparing for the holidays, going to an event, planning for a vacation or giving myself a reward. I’m in a great state of mind: The same state of mind I’m in when I’m running, where my focus is on a positive outcome or result, my feelings are Joyful!

On the other hand when my thoughts are on worries (nothing I can control); which are anticipated pain or hardship, that rarely manifest as we imagined. You’re not really looking forward when your worried, you’re stuck in an alternate reality created by fear. You may even be stuck in the past but you’re not going forward you’re paralyzed.

With this AHA I’ve decided there is no longer room for worry in my life I’m going to schedule things in my life to look forward to, like running!

AHA
AHA

Sharing The Path…

Sometimes I feel like Rip Van-Winkle and I just woke up and realized how much time has passed! I’ve had two such realizations in the past two days; The first was during a kickboxing workout with my staff – I realized my age 56 was the sum of their ages 33 and 23! That was daunting just for a moment because I was rocking the 23 year old holding pads with a left hook… The second and more significant came today when I celebrated a birthday lunch with my karate daughter Jess who first came into my life at age 8. Jess has been a student and now the parent of two students at my school for twenty-one years! Through that time she has grown from a shy unsure student of the martial arts, to a black belt, a valued staff member, a college graduate, mother, and wife. I’ve been blessed to have been a small part of this young woman’s incredible journey. It amazes me how quickly time has passed and the twists and turns that have occurred on this path called life, more importantly I’m glad I woke up to the realization to the special people who are sharing my path…

Oh What a Week it Was…

This past week was “Spring Break” for my martial arts school. Which isn’t really a vacation but a time to catch up with things and people you don’t otherwise have time or opportunity for, those of you who own a business understand what I mean.

Nothing about this break was typical. Normally there would be friends to lunch with, errands to run, paper work and cleaning to get done.  Instead it started with the funeral of a long time friend who passed too young. It was in the church waiting for the funeral mass when I had my first reflection. My eyes just welled up with tears as I took my mother’s hand and squeezed it, life is so precious and brief. We are lulled into thinking we have more time than we really do. That lesson hit us all just two days later.

The next day was a much happier occasion, but no less reflective as a student of mine competed in a national martial art tournament. I stood there watching young martial artists take the ring to compete and recalled all the times I competed and all the students I trained to compete. The endless tournaments often two in one weekend, and how and why I fell in love with martial arts and teaching. It looked the same but it wasn’t, the innocents was gone. What was once a format to test skill, in my view had become political and a little tainted.

Monday was to be a day of connecting with an old friend and enjoying time together, instead it was a brutal reminder of the times in which we live.  I was alerted of the bombings through the all too familiar ESPN notification sound from my i phone. I mistakenly thought it was the Sox score. My friend and I discussed how life can turn on a dime and without notice. That the most terrorizing thing is never really knowing when or how – Yet that’s the most comforting thing, because I don’t want to know when or how it will all change.

Tuesday  was a little closer to “normal” but there was still time for reflection and a bit of fear knowing there were fugitives on the loose.

Wednesday, was all about the bike, and riding a bicycle . Reminding me, there are still ways we can reach back to our inner child and reclaim our innocents.

Thursday I was able to workout my angst by cleaning my martial art school. It always gives me a sense of comfort to take care of things and people. I don’t feel as helpless and lost when I’m doing something to benefit something or someone. It’s also a great way to reflect, ask any monk…

Friday was all about old friends, flowers, and looking through a camera lens. Photography was a gift from a mentor who passed last year. Shirley made me believe I could be creative and introduced me to the work of Adams and Stieglitz. Like the bike, the camera allows me to return to another time. A time when I learned to focus not only on the beauty in my view finder but the beauty inside of me.  Then the crazy insanity of the day’s events were shown through the view of different cameras, as we watched with the world the hopeful conclusion to the week of terror…

Today was shared with sisters from Nursing School. Thirty – Five years have passed since we all donned the blue uniforms and white caps of student nurses.  There are more grays and a few more pounds and laugh lines, but the bond is still there. Can thirty – five years be only a moment ago? When we get together it seems that way conversations seamlessly take on the same rhythms and animation. Hugs are just as warm and giggles are just as melodic.

So full circle, friends lost, friends found, security lost, terror found, lives lost, lives saved, the ebb and flow of life was never so evident as it was this week – Oh What A Week It Was…

Ironically I didn’t run…

Peace be with us all,

Ginnie

Perspective @ 56

Yesterday I celebrated my 56th birthday. It amazes me more and more how quickly life happens! It is said;” the days drag and the years fly”. I’m seeing the truth in that statement more and more each day.

So here are some thoughts from my Birthday Run and the “Run called Life” so far:

Things and having or getting things don’t seem as important now, “Moments” they’re what count and there’s no “gift card”for them!

Aging parents are precious, because each day with them is a rare gem!

Laughing loud and often, is far more fun than whining and complaining and the choice is always ours!

Giving is far more gratifying than getting, especially when you get to share your gifts!

Furry family are just as important as any other member of the family and they will never say or do anything to hurt or be disloyal. They can be trusted with all your deepest darkest secrets.

Travel and reading are our best education.

One woman’s delicates may be frilly from Victoria Secret while another’s may be wicking from Reebock!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter won’t cure anything but they both make life easier to cope with!

Regrets are left for things undone not for what has been done, those are lessons…

Namaste, and here’s hoping I have more perspective @57!

Ginnie