The year I turned fifty I decided that to celebrate this momentous occasion I would run fifty miles on my birthday. I knew it would be hard, knew it would be hot and knew it would take a long time. As I ran that day I just kept repeating to myself “just keep moving forward”. Around the forty mile mark I was done, I was toast. I had nothing left to give to this run. I began thinking that it had been a noble attempt but there was no way I could go another mile. And then something surged up within me, something I have no idea where it came from. I angrily yelled loudly to myself “Just do it Mike!!!” And then I just began moving forward again, one foot in front of the other. And as I stepped into my sister-in-law’s driveway at the end of fifty miles I wept. I had done something I never would have thought possible four years before when I began running and it was possible because I adopted a Just Do It attitude.
Waiting for the perfect situation will never allow us to transition well. There is no right time to transition, whether that be a new job or adjusting to an empty nest. There will never be the perfect boss, the perfect organization, the perfect church or even the perfect spouse. However, we can transition from one aspect of life to another gracefully if we always tell ourselves that there is no sense in waiting. When we decide that we have what it takes now and it is just a matter of stepping outside our comfort zone we can make our transitions more natural and allow ourselves a greater peace as we make these transitions. First though we must put aside the self-defeating thoughts and begin to think of life as something that we just do, we just reach out and decide to do something and then never allow ourselves to quit or give up.
Transition will be painful, almost as painful as a fifty or hundred mile run, but we do have everything we need to make these transitions inside us now. Unlocking this will force you to make a vow to move relentlessly forward with the decision to just do it, just move through the pain and do it.
I will never forget the day I was running a new trail and I came up this really steep ascent and as I came to the top the picture before me literally took my breath away. I was a bit in front of the person who was running with me and as I took in this sweeping body of water ringed with trees all around and the sweeping mountains in the background I was nearly in tears at the beauty. As I stood there in breathless wonderment all I could do is whisper to myself “Thank you, thank you, thank you God”. I am so thankful for times like these in the mountains and on the trails when I either run around a bend or come down into a canyon or top a hard ascent and I’m greeted with such incredible beauty and majesty just set right there for me to admire and be thankful for.
This characteristic hasn’t always been a part of my lifestyle. I grew up surrounded by incredible beauty, had the privilege of sailing around the world in the Navy, have visited some of the most stunning places all around the world and I missed the beauty. I missed the beauty not because I didn’t see it but because I was so busy expecting the beauty to do something for me. I have also, regretfully, missed the beauty of people around me because I was expecting them to notice me, promote me, help make me wealthy or make me feel important. I missed the beauty because I was jealously expecting something for myself instead of being thankful for the opportunity to experience such natural beauty and human beauty. I decided as I began running and losing weight that I would be thankful for everything around me, even when there are times when I’m not enjoying life or faced with a struggle that will be difficult.
Being thankful allows me to see people, nature and even traffic differently. I notice that as my attitude changes that situations change. I’m not wealthier, healthier or have more friends or prestige but I am at peace. Being thankful has brought me a peace that I could never have achieved trying to get people to notice me or promote me or think I’m awesome.
Thankfulness keeps propelling me relentlessly forward in this great adventure called life. I would love to see you join me on this adventure, with a thankful heart and attitude.#RelentlessForwardMovement
I’m taking a yoga class called Balance and Flex Together and it is all about building a stable core along with flexibility. I watch videos of ultra runners and they leap up and down mountain sides like gazelles. When I run I look like a buffalo and am content to just sort of crash through the turns, ascents and descents. My style of running doesn’t lend itself to great finishes and makes recovery even more difficult. So I began researching flexibility and balance and everything I read said yoga as a key. I put this off for over a year because every time I have watched a yoga video or talked to people doing yoga the instructor always seems like a weird spiritual creature that I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around. One day as a bunch of us were driving down the mountain after a run one of the gals started talking about a class she was teaching at the local YMCA. She said it was yoga to music but very much combined balance, stability and flexibility. Knowing this person was a pretty solid human being from our runs I decided to take a chance. To my ever wondering brain I am finding myself able to run trails less like a buffalo and more like a gazelle.
You’re probably wondering what that little story has to do with transitions. To transition well we all must become more flexible. To be more flexible often takes nothing more than a decision on our part. In today’s partisan, bickering world there is no flexibility. This leads to a rigid lifestyle where you aren’t able to see the beauty, the intelligence or the opportunity in others’ viewpoints. As we transition from point to point, it is important that to become flexible in the way we see ourselves and others around us. The world today is trying to convince us that we have to believe one way or another and I’m here to tell you that if we have a firm foundation then it is relatively easy to be flexible enough to steer our way around the obstacles and transitions of life without losing who we really are. My favorite definition of flexible is “able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances or conditions.”
The wonder of being flexible is how it allows you to interact with the world around us. Rather than just crashing through life like a buffalo on the trails, we can gracefully bound up and down mountains, saving our body, mind and spirit a lot of battering and bruises. In a life lived moving relentlessly forward there is no time for crashing through walls and mountains. #RelentlessForwardMovement
When I started running I kept reading about this strange concept of a strong core. At the time I was still pretty large so my immediate response wasn’t “build core”! No my immediate response was “I just want to see my toes past my stomach”. As I continued running I realized that as I lost weight and look down to introduce myself to my toes again, one of the keys to running injury free was to learn to foot strike under my core. This of course required a strong core so I could run more upright. As I took pressure off my legs, I found with a more upright posture it was easier to breathe and my legs didn’t get as sore.
Now if I could apply that to my every day life. What is my foundation based upon? If my foundation is built around the latest fads and trends, I would have a foundation constantly shifting and slouchy. A shifting foundation cannot be strong because it will shifts and molds to the latest “thing”. If I want to build a strong foundation, something upon which I can smoothly and gracefully make the transitions in life, I would have to find something constant and concrete in an ever-changing world. This means I must place less emphasis on my feelings and emotions, and be able to dig deep for the truth and build a strong core on truth.
To transition well in life, find and build upon a firm foundation or core. As core strengthens, relentless forward movement becomes a reality.