My last blog post wasn’t exactly uplifting – but it was honest. We’ve been here in Tampa for a month and a half now. It’s amazing what you can learn about yourself. I think I may have learned my most important lessons for this year just recently. More about that in a minute.
I am in a much better place mentally, spiritually, and physically. After setting up camp, I think the first thing we did was start working on hitting 10k steps a day again. What a difference movement and exercise makes. I know this, and yet I forget. The first week was an uphill battle – my legs hurt, I didn’t want to make/take the time, it was hot and humid, the beach wasn’t Mayport, a thousand excuses… But thanks to Bill and remembering how it used to feel, we persisted. I think we’ve only missed 10k a day maybe 5 or 6 days since then. So, lesson 1 was really a remembering…exercise is a critical part of each day. And when it seems like it takes too much time, I set a goal and divide it in half. Instead of saying I will walk an hour, I decide to walk 30 minutes out. Obviously, I have to walk back home, but I am 30 minutes away (at least). Often this morphs into a longer excursion. My next goal is to add workouts/cross training back in. Lesson 2, related, is to not compare me now to what I used to do. In the past, I was doing cross training 5 or 6 days a week. Things change, I will not expect to jump right back at the same level. I will work up to that – or to what feels right for me now.
The first two lessons helped to ground me and reframe my attitude. Lesson 3 is to never take for granted or become arrogant about your physical ability. Thinking “I will always be physically active and never let myself be less than that” – you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Mentally and physically. Be grateful every day for the ability to move and exercise your body and your mind. Lesson 3 – gratitude for the amazing body and mind we are given and the responsibility to maintain it.
Lesson 4 – distance and perspective. When we left Michigan, there were a number of things that were just weighing me down. I lost perspective and gave in to feelings of being overwhelmed. Thanks to travel – which provided physical distance, and less “busy-ness”, I had time to reflect on each situation. One of the most troubling was our church. When a church becomes a building with conflict, church isn’t. There were other things that were troubling as well. In any case – it all just felt overwhelming. The farther away we traveled, it seemed that my focus on these items actually sharpened. I have a favorite saying – “be careful who you have in your boat – make sure they are rowing with you and not drilling holes to sink the ship if they can’t be the captain.” It’s interesting how much stepping back and looking at the whole situation helps you to see and be aware. You realize that the people you least expect might just be the ones with the drills. This is true of groups, organizations, and personal relationships. Don’t be fooled by first impressions (although they can give important clues), smooth talking, or lots of impressive words. Watch actions, sometimes they shout the truth.
Lesson 5 – trust your gut. If you doubt your feelings, lessons 1 and 4 might be helpful to clarify and confirm your concerns. Theories, book-smarts – they have their place – but trusting your gut and getting out of your head is a good thing.
As we enter this holiday season, I pray that you are taking care of yourself – making you a priority. It’s not selfish, you have the time, and you are so worth it! I also pray that you will take time to reflect on situations that may be weighing you down. Are you rowing with the crew, or drilling holes because you can’t be the captain (and I think most people, including me, have been there at least once)? I think that comes under serving the greater good versus serving yourself.
Lesson 1 – Exercise and move – outside if possible.
Lesson 2 – Don’t compare yourself with others – or with your former self.
Lesson 3 – Gratitude each and every day for your body and your mind.
Lesson 4 – Distance and Perspective
Lesson 5 – Trust your gut.
Time to move!