How many of us are pushing, pushing, pushing to get things done? Driving our children to activities, rushing to a meeting (and sometimes we’re not even sure why we’re in attendance), up late getting last-minute projects completed, and feeling like we need to stay on the phone with a person who never gives us the opportunity to express how we feel? In the past, however, I’ve been guilty too, but I’ve managed to step off the merry-go-round. It’s been a gradual, but rewarding process of reclaiming my time and space so I can be truly present for myself, and most importantly for my children.
As many of you know already, earlier this year, I started running. For the first time in my life, I’m genuinely taking time to re-energize and nourish my soul—all without guilt that I “should be” doing something else, for someone else. I know with all my heart that I truly can’t be good to anyone else if I’m not healthy and strong. Running has become a way for me to strengthen my body and mind. One of the biggest surprises is how much stronger my mind actually is and how little my body has to do with running. When I started running, the thought of running a mile without stopping felt like a lot, forget about running a 5K or 10K. But I kept pushing myself and took the process one day at a time: I showed up and put the time in…and little by little, I can now run three miles without stopping and sometimes five!
From my experience with running, I’ve come to learn that much of what we do is a mind game. It’s all about perspective, thought and purpose. Problem is, most people have become too busy to even have the time to contemplate actions and decisions, which sadly puts us in a state of reaction. This incredibly dis-empowering. Moving from reaction to action can be accomplished. It means gaining a little self control and discipline, learning to say “no” to the negative and “yes” to the positive.
Life happens, but if you want to live purposefully, it’s necessary to be conscious of decisions and choices—all the time. Funny thing is, even when you’re not making a decision or choice (for example, procrastinating on not having your car serviced) you are actually making a choice—a choice to not do anything, which is fine, as long as you’re conscious of that. Understanding this can help a lot and free you from the guilt of procrastinating.
Happiness is another choice. It’s amazing how when I got this, it really didn’t matter what anyone else did any longer–I can still be happy and experience joy. Of course, there are unpleasant issues in life, but I don’t have to allow them to take center stage and suck the life out of me. One of my favorite questions when a problem, issue or challenge arises is: What’s the worst thing that could happen? Figure that out, then accept it and move on. If you’re truly grounded in the present, only what’s transpiring at this very moment is happening; everything else in our minds is imagined. Breathe and move through the day, being grateful for what you have!
I’ve learned too that what we focus on becomes bigger and more present in our lives. Therefore, I’ve made the effort to be more grateful, find joy, and focus on the positive. It doesn’t mean that the negative just magically disappeared, but somehow it no longer has the presence it once did.
We all have the ability to be exceptional! It’s a choice basically. Choosing happiness is a choice; allowing ourselves to be happy is a gift.
What do you have to be joyful and happy about today?