Saturday, March 9, 2013

thoughts on the journey…..03.09.2013 | Mtnrunner4478's Blog

I enjoy this kind of morning.
I was softly awakened by the sound of cars driving down a wet street….. looking through my own half asleep blurry eyed vision I see the softness of snow as it falls to this place we call earth. It was not an unexpected arrival, although it was 60 the other day. But to me it was like the arrival of an old friend who will be absent in the near future. I love the sounds and sights of seasons…. especially the darkness of the winter or a rain. To me they come as a blanket for my inner being. A moment of time that my mind expands in creative ways while my body coils up in a search for warmth.

It is the coming and going of the seasons that tells us so much about what we have and want to look forward to in life. Some of my friends decry these kinds of days…. where is the heat of a summer’s day they grumble. They want to feel the warmth of the sun on their skins. Those warm summer nights that bring to my community sounds of people enjoying the presences of others and food while being on their porches, decks or patios. The warm seasons give birth to the sound of children playing at the park….. birthday parties enjoyed outdoors…. the warming seasons carrying along with it the sounds of shoes on the cinder trails of my loved Wash Park….. the air is filled with the laughter and the encouragement of young adults playing in the center park that is engorged with rows of volleyball nets….. the barking of dogs as they encounter new four-legged friends and foes.

It is with the tidal shift of the seasons that we find another reason to look ahead. But today….. it is snowing. I live in a place that is known for having over 300 days of sunshine. We are known for our outdoor events….. musical, arts, balloon rides, sports, camping, hiking and so on. But today is a reminder that we do have a season that is meant for bundling up whether you are going to the slopes or staying inside. I have other friends that look forward to this season as well. However, soon, they will lament over the closure of a ski slope. They will pack away their skis and boards…. and start to count down to the opening of A-Basin.

It is the same with our own lives. We have seasons of change. Moments of time that causes us to act and other times to reflect. Both are needed and necessary. Just as we have day time we have a night-time and both must be lived in. We just are not sure what to do with the dark moments. We want to them to end and we fight against the natural events of life. It may be an illness. It may be the loss of a relationship. It may come at the loss of our identity because we have lost people, things and resources that we used as definitions of who we are. It is not that they really did define us but were more of a reflection. A reflection of who we either wanted to be or who we felt like we needed to be. Moments like these become like the tides of the ocean. They come in and wash over the sands of our thoughts….. the granular ideas that will be sifted… notions and dreams that will flow in and flow out….. These same tides also come in to wash against the rock of our values…..
Tides are measured out and predictable…. so are some of the events in our lives. The tides are predictable because we know that with the fluidity of life we will always have periods of cleansing….. times of building and rebuilding…. moments when we will watch from the safety of a shoreline distance or safely clinging to the top of a huge rock. A firm foundation of who we are and what we are beginning to believe. And it is during these times of darkness that we find the validity and the worthiness of our values because they gave us shelter.

What do we do with these moments of change and challenges? Do we fight against the normal tides of life? Do we build barriers in an expectation that the sand castles, that we built not on the stability of values but on a playground filled with loose ideas and false premises, will not be washed away?

Tides are a product of nature….. so are moments of time.

It is still snowing….. a day that is filled with a reminder of a season that is soon to end but a present moment gift of things still to come.

I can look at this moment and reflect on the past…. prepare for the tomorrow….. or embrace the changing tides of life. Not to hold it back at an arm’s length but to embrace it with a present moment acceptance and commitment. Allowing the thoughts… the emotions… the vision and the fears to move through this day….. not accepting the belief that I can’t but that I will. An acceptance of who I am in spite of the context of the space and time. Not to allow the voice of criticism to deny me who I am but to reveal to me what I am needing to work on. To be mindful of each word spoken…. of each step taken…. to be mindful to consume only what I need not just what I want…. to speak with a heart that reflects the value of who I am and the one that I am with…. There is no greater time than the one that I have at this very moment. Accept that within my own earthy being that the seeds of negativity are joint partners with the seed of hope. To make a commitment to learn that my own negativity is merely a sign of where I need to grow…..

My environment does not define me but it is here to challenge me.

Let it snow….. and know that it is preparing us for the warmth and heat of the new seasonal change.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

thoughts on the journey….. 03.03.2013 | Mtnrunner4478's Blog

Sitting in the coffee shop….. one of my favorite places to be. The warmth of the sun radiates through the window. Seeing couples out on the patios…. some talking… some just listening…. watching the traffic of conversations… the traffic of emotions…. the interaction of people.

I wonder how their lifes are going. Do they have the struggles of a normal day? Wondering how they will pay their bills. Wondering what to do with an unexpected bonus. Wondering if a relationship broken will be repaired. Maybe they are enjoying a new home…. or a new love…. a birth or the expectancy of an impending birth.

It is good seeing people out and about. The winterness of the year is coming to a close. Many are lamenting the ending of the ski season while others are excited to get their road bikes out so that they can ride them in the parks.

I also noticed that my little city is a pretty young community. Youthful in age as well as in activity. It is not an odd thing to see a geriatiric person rollerblading or a octgearian laced up and running.
It is nice to see couples walking hand in hand. For awhile I thought that went out of style.

Yes, it is a season of change. We all stand at a threshold of change.

I think that is why I am so against the poverty of thought. To think nothing will ever change just because it is not happening in what is our acceptable amount of time. And even more the thought that nothing should change. Are we that opposed to embrace the possibility that we walk away or even reject the idea that something new can be better?

My philosophies of what I believe are in constant flux. I am probably the least rigid person that you could ever meet but that doesn’t mean that I will not stand my ground in what I believe. I still have my belief in the Triune God. I have accepted that the gift of God’s love is based on desire not on expectations. My belief that as a christian my sole objective in life is to save a soul has been replaced by a belief that my true purpose is just to love and value another person. My choice of where I live is no longer hidden in my childhood fantasy of what is safe. My childhood heroes are no longer overpaid sports players. My body no longer craves what is unhealthy but it thrives on what will help me to attain my goals. My political belief is no longer in a system but it is in a hope that as a community of people we want a better country. My belief in the economic system that we have is not the same as it was a few years ago.

There is a difference in being open minded. close minded and no minded.

I think that I am in the midst of a collision…… but yet better known as a season of change. Hope springs eternal…. not just once every four years. Oh by the way, spring is almost here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

thoughts on the journey....02.28.2013

Another month is about to close…. just like another turning of a page in a book of time. The words and the experience of the days that we have passed and we have spoken are now in a journal. We cannot change the past nor should we carry it with us. Each movement of our lives brings with it emotions of things said or deeds done.

What if we took those emotions and learned from them.

What caused those emotions to be ones that we experienced?

What is about those words or actions that led to those particular sense of feelings?

I am wondering if life is nothing more than a series of junctures that expose either a sense of security or insecurity.

As I talk with other individuals that are either going through or have gone through life changing moments, I hear so many different words. Resolution. Fear. Resilience. Anger. Stubborness. Purpose. Weakness and strength.

The one that seems to overwhelm people is ‘fear”. The others can be short-lived because of the energy it takes to live in them. We can live in resolution and strength but we grow weary at times which just leads us to find a source to regain our resolve. We look to the external and find a reason to keep on going. We look to the internal to find something within that we believe so much that it causes us to push ahead. Positive energy is like a roller coaster. We all seem to experience the highs and lows of it. We are strong one day and weaken the next. It is that nothing is wrong it is just that physiologically we cannot sustain a heighten level of energy for more than an extended period of time. We do all that we can to increase the endorphine level to push us onward.

But fear….. it never seems to leave us. We have that voice of criticism that says we are not good enough. We hear from family and friends that mock us not realizing that they do. We see it in our past failures. We may have started something and quit it before it was completed… fear tells us it will happen again. We wear it like a coat….. or maybe like an undergarment. We meet someone that we are attracted to and it comes up in previous rejections so we are afraid to make ourselves vulnerable to the person we just met. It becomes our “wingman”. We carry it into transitions. We get the sense we have been here and attempted this before but somehow in some way we got tripped up. We fell flat on our face in an effort or we may not have even attempted the effort; so, it becomes just another fanciful dream to those that we share it with.

Fear. Fear of what? Rejection? Failure? Ridicule? Not being valued? Not meeting the needs or expectations of another person or group?

What if we turned those fears into challenges? What if we took them one at a time and made them a dare to ourselves? A game of acceptance instead of a life of avoidance? Accept the fact that yes we may get turned downed for a job or a date but that rejection is not our sole identity. Accept the fact that each journey is going to have struggle points; that we will stumble and may even fall but that we learn from them not live with them. Accept the fact that life is about the breath of the moment and that is what we write our own stories about. We will live a life much richer if we become vulnerable. Broken bones hurt and broken dreams suck but they both will mend and be remembered. Fear is nothing more than a voice of illogical negativity. It says we can’t when we dream that we can. However, fear is a natural emotion though. It is the voice of our insecurity. A voice that shouldn’t be nurtured or ignored but accepted in a way that says we are beginning to understand who we are and what makes us feel vulnerable. Fear cannot be shunned because all that does is repress a part of who we have been and who we are becoming.

So, I have my voices. And yes fear has caused me to procrastinate. It is like a pebble in my shoe that I just don’t take the time to remove. It causes my journey to be more painful with each step and sometimes it stops my journey even though I can still see the beauty of going forward.

There is a part of me that wants to take a step in a new direction. As part of my homework, I am learning why I have not taken the first step. My faithful and good teacher led me to a place of awareness. (She reminds me of something that I wrote recently that I will travel this journey listening to those that I trust.) As I walked home yesterday, I walked away from but not unaware of what negative emotions this next journey means to me. I chose not to deny or reject them for they are apart of my inner voice but I chose to listen to what they are truly saying to me. They are telling me that with each dream comes some darkness but those moments of darkness makes the moments of joy and accomplishment that much better. It is the mosaic of life. Darkness accents the light to make it more vivid and real. Fear makes accomplishments that much richer.

So, in one accord all that I am took the next step. We are about to set another book upon the shelves of time.

Friday, February 15, 2013

thoughts on the journey….02.15.2013

Waking up this morning I was struck with the realization…..
I am no longer tethered to a machine. I am no longer walking sleepy-eyed to the refrigerator to grab a pod of antibiotics to do my first of three daily infusions. I am no longer bound to my home waiting for a home care nurse to come and assist me with the removal of a filter that adheres to my wounds. I am no longer removing infection laden pads. I am no longer a carrier of cancer.
It has been 9 months since I was given the announcement of my cancer and the subsequent struggle with wound infection that had laid deep within my abdomen. The same time to give birth to a new life oddly enough.
It finally hit me that it was finally over. I had always wondered if this moment would come and here it is….. and it came like a whisper. Most of the journey was held in silence of my small home along with a occassional pulling of the curtains to give others a glimpse of the internal as I peered out to the external. It is my nature to hold things closely to myself. I think there was a time that I was more forthcoming in my struggles but most of the time I kept the private to myself. I hated my disease. I had moments that I cried why to the only One that could hear me as I dealt with my infections. Yet, there are moments that I am still pissed at the loss of the moments and the things that mattered so much to me. It took away my identity of health and the ability to join in with others who shared the joy of running. It took away my ability to take care of my beautiful four-legged friend which I eventually and reluctantly gave away to a friend. It stole from me the ability to truly enjoy a season that I look forward to the most. It took so much from me. I hated this cancer and infection with every fiber left in my being.
Still as much as I struggled with the recent past, I am somewhat scared of the present. It is not that I have not tried to learn and to be prepared for this day to come but I think that somewhere in the depth of my mind I wondered if this day would ever get here. In fact, I may not have only wondered… I may have even doubted.
I have realized along the way that as much as the cancer took away it also gave to me. It gave to me a way of living. A life that is open to possibilities. A possibility that a life, and for that matter a day, can be taken as much as it can be given. I have come to realize that there are a finite number of pages to the calendar. Also, health is more than just the ability to lace on a pair of running shoes to pound on the pavement. Health is a way of not just looking at life but it is also a way of sharing it and living it. To live a healthy life is not to ignore the inner voice of criticism but to identify it. To not embrace it with a smothering kind of parental love but hold it in a way that says you understand your own fears. To recognize the voice of self criticism as an insecurity that shouldn’t control you but allow it be one of your guides on your path to even more greater awareness. To recoginize that insecurities in our minds are not meant to be stop signs but to be a sign that tell us to slow down as we move forward. As we become aware of our own being, we will learn to hear our heart when it says stop…… and when it says to go.
This journey has helped me to know that the richness in dreams and visions is measured not in the vividness of each one but in the vitality in which it changes my life. It helped me to see that to stand naked in vulnerability is the truest form of honesty. Honesty with myself and with others.
This morning was so much different from the days before. Oh there weren’t any blue birds whistling on the window sill. The sun was not any brighter than the day before nor was the grass any greener. It was just different. The reflections of the recent struggles are now just that…. mere reflections. The past is not given to us to carry but to learn from. It is a book on the shelves of our hearts. A book to be open from time to time to remind us of where we have been and how it can be used to guide us when we seem to lose our way within the present and within ourselves.
Today is the present moment that I have and that is all that I am responsible for; to hold as a valuable chalice that I can pour my life into. I look to the future and prepare for it with a heart filled with desire but with no expectations. I am at peace with who I am and who I am becoming. I look back at a life that I once struggled with…. and even admitted to my teacher that I hated. A life that once was filled with regrets, mistakes and shame. I no longer hate it….. it serves as a reminder of what life could be if I do not become vulnerable.
So the “birthing pain” of the kidney stone is now coming to the end of its nine month journey. As a colt that wobbles with new legs, so I struggle to stand at this moment. I will take each day as guided by those that I trust….. guided by the lessons that I have learned….. guided by the One that loves me the deepest…..

Thursday, January 31, 2013

thoughts on the journey.... 01.31.2013

Ok, I have tried to start this off without some deep questioning process. I did it. No, not just starting without a deep question but I am sure that there will be a few hidden along the way. Sometimes deep questions are like rabbits…. you never really know how many there are and they seem to dart out of nowhere.
I did it. I walked over 2 miles yesterday. Now that may not seem to be like a lot. There is a part of me that is smiling at the accomplishment and it is also a stark reminder of where I am and how far I still have to go. It has been a long time since I laced up the Brooks and took a nice long run or even a short run for that matter. It will be a year this upcoming May. In fact, this time last year I was fueled by at least two things. I was preparing to run in a half marathon that I had wanted to do ever since I heard about the previous year. And secondly, I wanted to see if I could wear out my four legged running partner, Molly.
Neither happen.
I remember it all too well. As if it was yesterday. At 4:30 am I am waking up to go run a race that I had prepared for and was all ready to do mentally. Then it happen. A sharp pain in my mid back. At first, I thought I had a muscle cramp but could not think of what I had done to cause it. I had eaten well. I was hydrating myself during the course of my training. The pain led to more severe pain that eventually turned out to be a kidney stone. Not sure why they call them “stones” They are anything but a stone. A grain of sand is larger but felt like a boulder as it passed through. But during the course of xrays I was finally given news that I was neither prepared for nor have I fully accepted.
“Have you ever been told that you have a mass?”
Interesting question to be asked when you are least expecting it. Initially, you don’t think that you heard them right and to be honest with you I was pretty medicated for the kidney “stone”. It wasn’t until my oldest daughter asked me the same question while I settled into my hospital room that I fully heard the question.
That was May 20th, 2012.
My world….. my life….. my identity and all that it interlaced with it was about to be changed.
I am lucky. No, I am blessed. “Lucky” is what happens when you get a really good lotto or scratch card. My cancer was detected early enough to not progress into a more catastrophic state. I had just started to be covered by my insurance.
This cancer became in many ways my teacher and my tormentor. It taught me a lot about myself….. it taught me what suffering meant….. it taught me to think in the present…. it also tormented me with mortality….. the need to seek and grant forgiveness… to learn how to love better.
So, where am I on the timeline of getting healthy? To be honest I have no clue. If it were not for the fight with infection, I might have been able to run the 2.5 miles yesterday instead of walk it. I might be holding the leash of my four legged friend instead of just remembeing what it is like to see her tilt her head when I aked her if she wanted to take a run. I lost more than some body organs….. I lost much more than that.
So, what is this writing all about? It is more than a “campfire gathering” remembering the events and losses of the past. It is a celebration of the ability to actually know that walking 2.5 miles is always a posssability. To know that health is not just measured by physical capabilities but also from how you heal from within. It is the “gathering up the pieces….. let nothing go to waste”. It is an acknowledgement that something is not “quite right” and not ignoring it.
I have an amazing friend that is on a “pull up” kick. I am amazed at how many SHE can do…… right now I am on a mental and spiritual pull up kick. I am sure someone said this once before but I know it to be true.
“It is not how many times that you get knocked down that really counts. It is how many times you get up that really matters.” – anonymous
So, the purpose of writing is simple.
  • If my journey encourages others, then not only is it worth it but I am being a good messenger.
  • To learn the lessons that healing comes from within.
  • To share lessons learned and to be honest enough to admit those that were missed.
So, here it is. It is January 31st, 2013. Almost a year since this journey began and it is still evolving. I have had 5 surgeries now. To move forward means to be in the present. To accept that each moment of struggle means a new birth. I am lacing up my shoes not quite ready to run but willing to take each necessary step to move forward.