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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nine Seconds

"Time is the longest distance between two places." -- Tennessee Williams

 I'd like you to do me a favor.  

Get a watch with a second hand and count nine seconds.

I'll wait.

(tapping fingers on table, patiently waiting, whistling merrily)

All set?

Now, how long was that?  Not very long, right?

That is what kept me out of the 2012 Boston Marathon this year:  nine seconds.

Because of last year's Boston Marathon online enrollment fiasco, the BAA (Boston Athletic Association) instituted a rolling admission process for this year.  If you had a BQ (Boston Qualifier) 20 minutes or more FASTER than your standard, you could register on Monday, 9/12/11.  Those who were 10 minutes or more FASTER were eligible to do so on Wednesday, 9/14/11 and BQ'ers between 5-10 minutes got to pony up their dough on Friday of that same week.  Provided there was still space available, registration would be open to ALL who had met their qualifying standard from Monday, 9/19/11 through Friday, 9/23/11.  Because I will be (gasp) 40 years young on the day of the race, I had to have a time of 3:50:59 or faster in order to register.  I had run the 2010 Atlantic City Marathon in 3:48:55 last October, so this was the time I used.

Apparently, there was an abundance of fast females aged 40-44.  I received an email yesterday from the BAA that stated the following:   Regrettably, we are unable to accept your application due to field size limitations and the large number of applications we received from qualified runners.  Entries from applicants in your age group were accepted through and including the time 3:48:46.
To quote Agent 86, also known as Maxwell Smart, "missed it by that much".
I've done Boston three times already, once as a qualified runner and twice as a charity runner, so I wasn't really all that upset about it.  At least, I didn't think I was.
Until I pulled the rookie move of updating my status on facebook
Then, I became "bothered" by it.  I felt the need to justify, explain and candy coat the entire experience to my +/- 400 something friends who may or may not even give a s**t.  I clearly stated I wasn't upset about it and didn't want sympathy, "I'm sorry's" or the like.  I was just...telling people what was on my mind.  Those that responded were totally well meaning people with all the best intentions.  Of that I had no doubt.  But soon, it became clear to me:  this didn't feel good.  Sharing the news with the world at large made me go from happy to, well, not so happy.  Besides, when is the last time someone said , "oh you poor thing!" in the midst of a personal "tragedy" and it helped?  I mean, really.  You can't shore up another person's weaknesses with your strength.  You need to see them as already being strong enough.  Once I realized this, I thanked everyone who checked in and promptly deleted this thread so it could never be seen or heard from in cyberspace again.
So, what in the Sam Hill was my freaking issue anyway?
Before I go a little further, some background here:  my husband leaves tomorrow for FL on his annual guys trip.  As happy as I am that he is doing this, because no one works harder or is more deserving of fun in the sun than he, I confess I feel a little sad that he'll be gone for five days.  Couple that with my own impending travel plans to Chicago in 10 days for the marathon on 10/9, it's no wonder that I'm a little "emotional".  It would make sense that being slightly hypersensitive anyway, this might seem much worse than it actually was. 
Nice try, Cyndi, but no, that wasn't quite it.  You had those variables going on before reading the email and posting it on facebook.  You were laughing and joking like a five year old all day.
I decided to listen to a guided meditation hoping I'd get to the heart of what was troubling me.  I listened to one on letting go and still felt unsettled.  I found one on emotional healing (letting the emotions flow freely without judging or resisting).  Then, I had some wine and went to bed.
When I woke this morning, I realized why I was upset.  
Societal expectations and approval.
I "thought" I "should" want to run Boston every year as a qualified runner since I'm pretty committed to the sport and if I didn't have that aspiration, then I wouldn't be considered a "real marathoner".  After all, it's the oldest and "most prestigious" marathon in the world, right?  Finally, since I didn't have a time of 3:48:46 or faster (even though I DID qualify based on the standard), that must mean that I would be perceived as "less than" by anyone and everyone.
When I took the time to be still and let my consciousness relax, I disconnected from the "should haves, could haves and would haves", the "peanut gallery" and the "expectations", as I perceived them.  It came down to this simple question:  what do I want?
And this is the answer:  to enjoy my sport by running however, whenever and wherever I want while remembering that running a fast enough BQ time doesn't define who I am.  My worthiness and value is infinite, constant and doesn't hinge on external accomplishments or meeting the criteria of others, whether they be my peers or the BAA (who has every right, by the way, to run their marathon as they see fit and I have nothing but respect and support for them).
Did I REALLY want to run Boston for me?  Would it have been fun?  I'm sure it would have.  And, truly, if I was that hard over on it, I could definitely get a # through a charity.  There is more than one way to skin a cat, you know.
The truth is:  in all the ways that matter, it just isn't that big of a deal to me to run from Hopkinton to Boylston Street again, as legendary and magical as it can be.  Considering where I came from (smoking cigarettes and being overweight), I'm just happy to be in the mix.  Plus, I had already entered the lottery for the 2012 London Marathon, which is held six days after the Boston Marathon.  I'll find out before I leave for Chicago if I got in to that race.  
When one door closes, another one opens.  And if it's not London, it will be something else.  There are hundreds of marathons all over the place.  If that's really my pleasure, I will have absolutely no problem whatsoever satisfying it.  To paraphrase some wisdom I acquired from Abraham-Hicks, "if the Universe has inspired a desire within you, then it also has the wherewithal to deliver the goods".  In other words, if I want it, I can have it.  
All I have to do is ask and it is given. 
Pretty simple, isn't it?  
Life is supposed to be that way, you know.  We just insist on making it complicated.
"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness." -- Henry David Thoreau



Monday, September 26, 2011

Life is Good

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.  You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life." -- Albert Camus

I haven't blogged much lately.  

It's not because I don't have anything to say.  Lord knows that has NEVER been my problem.

I've just 

Living life.  And loving it.

I'm not pushing against the flow.  I'm not fighting reality.  I'm just putting one foot in front of the other.
I start my day by thinking of something to be thankful for.  And once I establish myself on firm footing, the day just seems to take care of itself.

I'm loving my sleep time, my awake time, my leisure time, my running time, my social time, my work time.

I'm just...enjoying.  
It's nice.

In other words, life is good.  Really, really good.
I decided I was going to be happy.

And I am.

Pretty cool, huh?

It really does work, if you work it.

I realized that I'm in control of how I react to anything and everything, all day, every day.  I choose what to expend my energy on.  I am the captain of my ship.

I am incredibly aware.  And empowered.

And we can all be this way, feel this way, live this way.

All it takes is the desire to be happy.

And so it is.

Are you going to choose happiness?  Are you going to create your own beautiful existence?

"The philosophy of mine earth can be summed up as this:  Sunshine creates happiness, and I create myself.  Nights are long and life is predominantly good.  Wind is refreshing.  Tea is wisdom.  Do the best you can, and be good to yourself so that you can above all be good to others." -- Jessi Lane Adams



Friday, September 16, 2011

365 days of Thanksgiving

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." -- Meister Eckhart

And, I'm not talking about turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie (although that sounds pretty freaking awesome).

I'm talking about being thankful.  Giving thanks.  Every day.  For an entire year.

Earlier this week, I thought to myself, "what better way to start your day off than by focusing on something that is good in your life?"  Some folks I know drag themselves out of bed, after hitting the snooze button at least three times, make their morning coffee and proceed to either read the morning paper or watch the news on television.

Then, they wonder why their day doesn't quite go the way they hoped it would.

Forgive me if you're an avid news watcher.  I don't diss you; I diss your choice of programming (in love, of course).  It's a simple case of "garbage in/garbage out".  What you focus on EXPANDS.  The more you give your attention to something, the more you'll get of that something, whether you want it or not.  If you keep talking about negative subjects, you'll get negativity.  That's one of the laws of the Universe.  It's just the way the system works.

So, how do you turn it around?

I start with the small stuff.  Abraham-Hicks suggests beginning with the things in your life that are already working.  Do you like your car?  Well, start with that.  How about your spouse, best friend, or job?

I know what you're thinking:  My car didn't start this morning, my spouse snores, my best friend talks about me behind my back and let's not even TALK about what my boss did to me the other day.

Then don't say ANYTHING about any of those subjects.  I mean nada, nothing, not a single word.  Didn't your mother ever use the old, "if you have nothing nice to say, than don't say it at all" phrase on you?  Granted, parents can come up with some pretty silly expressions, but that is not one of them.  It is much truer than you can imagine.

There is something, somewhere that is working for you.  Look for it.  Once you find it, emphasize THAT.  Give THAT your undivided attention and focus.  Before you know it, there will be something else that is working for you.  Then another thing...and another...and another...

Pretty soon, you have a veritable PLETHORA of things to appreciate (yeah, that's right, I said "plethora").

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 was New Years Day for me.  It was day one of giving thanks.  I'm on day four and I've already found several areas of my life that bring me happiness and joy.  I am more patient, relaxed, and friendly just by practicing this for less than a week.  I'm excited to see how things will be in the weeks and months to come.

You have 24 hours in each day.  There are so many blessings contained within that time period.  Some of them just require a little digging.  But, they are there.

So grab your shovel and get started!

What are YOU thankful for today?

"If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness.  It will change your life mightily." -- Gerald Good