Tag Archives: Poking Around Life

Defining Ourselves

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Something amazing happened to me last night.  During a track workout, no less.
The fact that I even wrote that sentence is so odd, because I don’t usually do track workouts.  Or really run that much.  But this year I’m attempting to do things outside my comfort zone.  Or just try new stuff.  I am attempting to not define myself by what has come previously in my 46 years.
Thus why I am even on a track at 6 pm on a Wednesday eve.  The tape in my head says: “I am not a runner.”  But, could I be one?  Might I actually enjoy being one?
Last night I worked hard to re-record that tape with a new message.  I pushed it.  When Kim, the coach of Team LOLA Ladies, explained that we were going to be running 4 sets of 2 laps around the track, I said to myself, “One at a time.”  When she suggested we try to do a negative split, which is either the second lap faster than the first or the second 2-lapper faster than the 1st 2-lapper, I said, “One at a time.”
I watched the disappearing back of a woman who had told us she had just completed her first half Ironman, and another tall gazelle of a woman on that first 2 lapper.  I couldn’t even keep up with them, hitting the last turn as they crossed the finish at the other end of the field.  On the second one, I asked myself to just keep them a bit closer, and to really try on the last straightaway.  I finished right behind them.  On the third one, I encouraged myself to dig a bit deeper, and passed them right at the end.
On the last one, the two girls that I had been happily following made me go first.  I didn’t want to do that, because I liked following them.  It felt more comfortable.  I mean, they were runners.  I was just hanging on as long as I could.
But the one said (and I’m not sure who, because she was behind me) she didn’t want me to pass her again at the end, because she was giving it all she had and then I would pass her.  And the other one said, “Hell, own it girl.”  Or something to that effect.
I ran faster than I thought I could those 2 laps, and it felt great.  And then Kim asked us to do one final lap.  What would it feel like, she asked, to give it all we had?  To turn the dial to 9 at some point, maybe just at the end.  How often do we get to ask ourselves to really dig deep.  She promised we would recover.  She promised no matter how much it would hurt, it would pass.  So on the last sprint lap, I bolted at the beginning, and around that second of three turns, when it started to HURT HURT HURT, the voice inside said, “You can pull up and slow now, Sue, because you’re not really a runner.  You don’t have it.”
The voice said, “You can stop.  It’s ok.”
But then I heard the hard breathing of someone coming up behind me, and damn if I didn’t want to give up.
If she could, whoever she was, I could.  So I kept going, even though it hurt so much.  And when I hit the straightaway and my breathing was all funky and raw, I gave it all I had left and turned it up to 9.  I crossed the line first.
I’m telling you, we are so much stronger than we think.  In all realms.
And today, Thursday the 29th of March, I can’t use the excuse that I’m not a runner.  Because now I am.  And I wonder where this new recording inside my head will take me.

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The Universe Speaks

Call it the law of attraction.  Or karma.  Or just a spectacular coincidence.

But what would you call it if you had a conversation with your mentor about how you really really should think about speaking to others about your topic of passion, and not just in a casual way but in a Stand-Up-Before-You-And-Get-Paid fashion.  Then you leave that person and stop at the library and check out a few books on public speaking before you pick up your son to go home.  And at home the little light on your answering machine is blinking.  And the nice lady who just left you a message says how she would like you to be the program speaker for her upcoming fundraising event.

I mean, what do you call that?  Other than ah-mazing.

I’ll take it, of course.  And ask for many more helpings, please.  If all I must do is focus on what I want to happen, which is sometimes harder to do than I would like, then I should get on that.

And so should you.

Maybe we should all sit down with a pen and pencil, and just focus in on a few things here this new year that we would like to happen.  Maybe say them out loud a few times.

That way, whomever is listening can get right on the job of making our dreams come true.

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No No

No.

I know no.

No, this can’t be happening.

No, I don’t want to lose my hair.

No, thank you, I’ll pass on daily radiation.

In truth, I couldn’t say no.  I had to figure out a way to square my new horrid reality. No matter how much I wanted to turn and flee, I had to face the music.

And yet.

Last weekend I had the chance to meet an array of women who have stomped on the word “no.”  I’ll tell you about two.

Rebecca Byrne, who along with me was chosen as a 2011 Pink Power Mom for her work as an advocate for breast cancer patients, was 13-weeks pregnant when she found out she had breast cancer.  Her doctor told her that no, she couldn’t continue her pregnancy.  She needed to terminate it immediately, and start radiation.

Rebecca pivoted out of that office and found another doctor, who allowed her to be treated for cancer while continuing her pregnancy.  Her daughter Emelia is now a happy 1-year-old, and not surprisingly, Rebecca used that same tenacity to start the We Will Not Lay Down 2 Cancer non-profit.

Karen Neblett, who heads up sales for Kids II, the company behind the Pink Power Mom program, has a different relationship to the word no.  Firstly, she doesn’t ever accept “no” as the final answer.  She likes to think of a “no” as meaning something more delightful, like “not at this moment in time.”  Things shift, she said.  Options open up.  At its essence, she said, a “no” simply means you must find another path.  The path to “yes”.

I am embracing this attitude.  Because life can be filled with people telling you “no” for a million reasons, but those who make things happen in this world simply pirouette past the word and sashay on.

So, here’s to staying nimble.  Let’s juke, jive, bob and weave around the negatives in life.

Remember, just like the Australian band Bomba said in their song “Busted”:

“Cursed is the walker who will never travel light.”

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