Today, I ponder how we can how we can find real power by transforming our critical and negative talk (both internal and external dialogue) into positive wishes.
Do you realize how often we resort to negative or critical statements? “I hate my body.” “My job sucks.” “I am tired.” “Don’t throw the ball in the house.” Even something silly like the phrases “no problem” or “I forgot.” This type of language is pervasive, yet it does not impact any real change.
What if, instead, you could transform that criticism into positive wishes? What if we tried:
- “I would like to weigh 10 pounds less.”
- “I would prefer to have a more interesting project at work.”
- “I will get to bed earlier because I need more rest tonight.”
- “I would like you to take the ball outside to play.”
- “I will set a reminder next time.”
Do you see how much more powerful these positive wishes are? Suddenly, you have goals. And instead of sitting around complaining, you can move into action and find real change.
Try catching yourself this week and flip negative statements around. If it works, or if it doesn’t, please share with me!
Do you know how a lotus grows? It roots in the mud of murky ponds. The stem is flexible, and very tough to break, as it pushes through the mud to reach the surface. When the lotus flower emerges from the mud and blooms, it is completely clean, despite the long struggle through the mud and murky water. This process happens every dawn. And, every evening, the lotus blossom closes and sinks beneath the mud.
To some, the lotus flower symbolizes enlightenment.
To me, the lotus is my life at the moment. Lots of mud. But also a lot of blooms! Maybe that is you, too? We push through the mud, through challenges and adversities. We are flexible as we move, embracing the suffering. We find pleasure and joy in the journey when we can, and sometimes we succumb to tears or fear. We take the next indicated step, always focused upward toward the sunlight (despite sometimes taking turns sideways or down). And, finally, we emerge and bloom – BLOOM – clean and beautiful.
Rise, bloom, sink, and repeat. That is life. Without the mud, there is no lotus blossom. Without the mud, we might not ever see the fullest expression of joy. The mud, like it or not, is essential to the bloom. As my favorite teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, says, “No mud, no lotus.”
In a pep talk for my race last weekend, my running coach told me:
“In the first half, don’t be an idiot. In the second half, don’t be wimp.”
These were the mantras I needed to get through fifty miles of tough stuff. In the beginning, I told myself to run within my ability, to not get too winded, dehydrated, or exhausted. Kept check on my breath and my body. Ran smooth and light. I ran smart. I was not an idiot. And once I hit the 25 mile mark, I told myself to not be a wimp. Feeling tired and hot? Don’t be a wimp. Glutes and quads screaming at you? Don’t be a wimp. Run into a rattlesnake that strikes at you (yes, it happened!)? Don’t be a wimp. Final two miles with zero juice left? Don’t be a wimp.
Here’s the thing: we are given exactly what we can handle. On Saturday, I was given fifty miles of beautiful Pacific Crest Trail, ridiculously hot weather, and a snake. And I was strong enough.
You, my friends, are strong enough, too. So what ever it is, remember: don’t be an idiot. And don’t be a wimp.
Today, I was inspired by a song a friend shared: Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind.”
I’m not usually a country fan, but this one spoke to me. And, so, today I want to chat about humility.
Sometimes, it is hard for me to be humble in a society that rewards greatness, competition, and winning. But what if I suggested that being humble might actually make us greater, more confident, and more competent? Humility may actually help us gain self-worth, learn more/be curious, hone listening skills, and have stronger personal and professional relationships.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself. Humility is thinking of yourself less.
What does humility look like? Studies show that humble people:
– Put other people first
– Are active listeners
– Focus on the greater good, rather than self-interest
– Are curious learners
– Ask for help
– Accept feedback
– Assume responsibility
– Appreciate others, and vocalize that appreciation often and loudly
– Have an “abundance mentality” (that is, your “win” doesn’t mean their “loss.” There is enough to go around!)
When was the last time you acted like a child? No, I don’t mean the last time you threw a tantrum because you were hungry and sleepy. I mean had curiosity, wonder, and adventure like a child. Rode a swing. Slid down a slide. Ran fast, wildly, until you were breathless. Laughed out loud without being self-conscious. Stopped mid-stride to check out a lady bug. Pondered the color of the sky. Picked your nose while sincerely talking to another person (just kidding — that is my kids!).
I challenge you to go out and act like a child, even if just for a minute. “Give yourself permission to act like a child, to view the world with wonder and excitement, to let your mind be free.”
Some days it is tough to get going. Your bed is comfy or your day has been long. You’re feeling tired and sluggish. Maybe life has thrown you a few curve balls, or you are feeling blue. Starting, let alone finishing, a workout is the last thing on your mind.
But think about how it feels when you are done. When you are sweaty and gulping down the last sips of water. Exhilarated. Refreshed. Blissful. Isn’t that the BEST FEELING?
So, friends, do it for the feeling you will have when you are done. I promise it will be worth it. It always is.
I am endlessly grateful for all of the encouragement and strength you all gave me for my race last Saturday. Thank you!! Despite ridiculous trail conditions in Malibu, I finished the 50k in 6:33, enough to snag me 6th place. Most importantly, I had FUN. I smiled from start to finish….
Except, my friends…
Did you know that I was scared? Yep. I was scared of the creek crossing at mile 2 (and again at mile 31) of the race. Due to the rains, a formerly trickling little creek was now knee-deep and 10 feet wide, complete with a safety line to cross. I am terrified of moving dark water. It took the encouragement of several people and some meditation to realize that I had to Face Everything and Rise. And so I waded straight into that river. I grabbed the line and moved forward.
What are you afraid of? And what could you do if you just FACED it? Powered through it? Rose above it?
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
I just learned that a good friend unexpectedly lost her partner today to a heart attack. My friend is devastated over this loss, but she is comforted by the fact that, before he left the house this morning, she told him that she loved him. She didn’t leave love unsaid today, didn’t let him make assumptions about her feelings.
I am not telling you this story to make you sad, my friends. I share it because it is a reminder that we should express our love, fully and authentically, every chance we get. When the moment strikes you, or even when it doesn’t, maybe tell the important people in your life exactly how you feel about them. Don’t let them assume how you feel, or assume that they know. Make it clear.
So, go spread some love today! Not because one day it might be “too late” or because “life is short.” But simply because you feel it and love is beautiful to share. And imagine the happiness you will bring! 🙂
I’m asking you to get grounded. No, not like your parents did when you were a rebellious teenager. I’m talking about being connected to your body, to the earth, and to your present, authentic self.
In this crazy buzz of life, we often forget how to be grounded. We are attached to our technology, spend less time outside in nature and sunlight (or, these days, rain!), eat processed foods and drink too much caffeine to fight our own body’s natural rhythm. This can make us feel spaced out, stressed, or frantic. We might have wild mood swings, depression, cravings for sugar, fat and stimulants.
In short, we aren’t living connected to our immediate environment.
If this isn’t you, amazing! Keep it up! If any of this sounds familiar, try getting grounded this weekend:
– Movement! Maybe a spin
class (hint, hint), maybe a yoga practice (here is a 10-minute grounding practice: https://youtu.be/4UHjh8g8pYA
), maybe just a walk away from your desk at work. Maybe you pick stairs, and find meditation in each step up. When you move, be very aware of your body: how it feels, the details of each motion, the breath.
– Get outside! Take a walk. Find a local trail and hike. Simply spend an extra moment to look up at the clouds when you are moving from Point A to Point B in your day. Inhale freshness.
– Unplug! Unplug from technology. Pick up an actual book (no, not your eBook). Stop reading news or Facebook or responding to emails for just 10 minutes (maybe…*gasp*…for a full morning? A full day?). Everything on your device(s) can WAIT. I promise.
See if this works for you. It has certainly helped me become a better, more focused person who can live in the present moment.
North Face has a new(ish) commercial that really spoke to me. I begins with a man saying, “It is weird, having people questioning your motivations, questioning your sanity…”
I have definitely had people question my sanity. Have you? When you say you wake up to hit the spin studio for an hour before dawn, do you get strange looks? Have you been called crazy for your dedication to fitness? Obsessed? Mad?
Some will say, “obsessed.” I say, “devoted.”
Some will say, “crazy.” I say, “calculated.”
Some say, “madness.” I say, “progress.”