moved to North Carolina in 1986 my young neighbor invited me to walk with
her. I’d always been physically
active. I skated as a child, both ice
and roller. I climbed trees, jumped
rope, played ball and rode a bike to name just a few activities. As a young adult I played tennis but I had
never exercised for the sake of exercising.
This invitation was inviting me to try something new. She also wanted me to walk with her three
mornings a week at 5 AM. I love the
mornings and I’ve always risen at a fairly early hour but to get up when it was
still dark and to be dressed and out the door and walking the streets was for
me quite a challenge. We were to walk
several miles and initially I was not physically prepared. I needed to ice my shins after each walk
because of shin splints, sharp pains in the front of my calves. But, after a couple of weeks, the shin
splints disappeared and I started to look forward to our chats. After a short time, a few of the other
neighbors joined us and now we were not only exercising our bodies but building
our community. I moved from that
neighborhood in 1990 but walking has become an essential part of my quest to be
optimally healthy. I do not, however, walk at 5:30 AM. I now have the luxury of heading out after
the sun has risen. The decision to say “yes” to my young neighbor’s
invitation was a life-changing experience.
It not only opened my world to the importance of exercise but it
empowered me by allowing myself to see what I could accomplish if I decided to
unite my mind and my body.
outside of my comfort zone. It may seem
like a small step but for me, it was a giant leap. It was the beginning of a lifetime pursuit of
staying strong and healthy. It certainly
wasn’t the first time I had been outside my comfort zone. When I arrived here in NC I was already 40
years old. I’d moved many times, had 3
children and had taught for several years but somehow this was different. Accepting and meeting this challenge was life
changing. Perhaps, I didn’t think I
could make such a commitment, but I did and once I allowed myself to be proud
of this feat, I found myself wondering what else I was capable of. I guess, looking back on it, it was one of
the most empowering decisions of my life.
faced with decisions, small and large, important and trivial but each decision
shapes our lives and shapes our future.
Certainly, I can look back on my life and see how some choices enhanced
my life and I can see how if I had chosen differently how very different my
life would be today. Right now I’m
reading The Time In Between by Duenas.
It’s a marvelous example of how choice colors our life. We are not only charged with making choices
that will enhance our lives; we are then charged with making a conscious choice
to mentally frame that choice in a positive light, to make sure that the
consequences of that decision enhances our lives. It’s easy if it was a choice that easily led
to some perceived blessing but when the decision led to a struggle or perhaps
even a disaster, reframing it can prove to be extremely difficult but with
practice, it can be done even if it’s simply to use the experience as a lesson
which empowers us going forward.
of Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly is vulnerability. (The first focus was about shame and I wrote
about it in the blog, Shame on You!) When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable
we open ourselves up to making mistakes but we also open ourselves up to
opportunity and growth. One must walk
the fine line between humility and foolishness if one is to embrace the quality
of vulnerability. What Brene Brown is
talking about is the opportunity to live a full, rich life because we are not
afraid to try something that makes us uncomfortable, to try something at which
we might fail. That behavior not only
takes us outside of our comfort zone but it encourages the virtue of humility.
try if one wasn’t afraid to fail, if one was willing to be vulnerable? It’s not only what one might learn but who
one might become. I have some of the
most amazing friends. People who are not
just willing to try something new but look for opportunities to do so. My only concern is that sometimes they don’t
see what remarkable things they are doing.
They don’t or won’t take credit for their awesome spirits. Sure, there are historical accounts of people
whose humility changed the world, people
like Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi. I, however, love to look at those heroes who
are in my immediate life and relish their virtues. There are so very many.
writers who open up their lives to others.
The painters who display their work.
There are those who start their own businesses. I have friends who have done mission trips to
all different parts of the world. How
about those friends who begin a new career in their retirement years? Some of the most remarkable women I’ve ever
met are the ones who attend the Pink Ribbon Yoga Retreat every year especially
the ones who come knowing no one and without a clue of where they are going or
what they’ll be doing. I’m sure you can
think of many people in your life who step outside of their comfort zones. They may not initially think they can but
that doesn’t stop them; they do it anyway.
They know they might fail but they also know they might succeed. It doesn’t matter one way or the other
because just by saying “yes”, simply by being willing to be
vulnerable, to be humble, their lives will be richer and more rewarding.
Yes, it was a
small step to agree to walk at 5 AM three mornings a week. We need not take huge steps to initiate
change in our lives. The little
“yeses” are the beginning which empowers us to one day take a giant
step and maybe not only change our world but The world.