Don't forget to celebrate the downhills

downhill When I was a girl, my mom used to take naps on the sofa under the big picture window in our living room.

One day, she had a dream she was a girl again, running down a big hill with her hands waving, shouting "Whee!" I heard her shouting, and asked her about it when she woke up.

My mom is gone now. But when I have hills, my mom still runs with me. I try to remember to raise my hands in the air and celebrate the downhills when they come.

Don't forget to celebrate the good stuff.

Change is slow

inchworm In marathon training, runners are told to add no more than 10% to their distance per week, a technique called progressive overload. More than that, and you risk injury.

It's easy to get impatient. The slow, incremental changes that come with both the habit of daily mileage and the gradual increase in miles can seem to take forever.

Change is slow. Focus on the step in front of you.

And you will learn about yourself. You will have slow change. You will help yourself and others through this change. You will find out what it’s really like when you put in the effort. You will find happiness in each step, in the learning you experience along the way.

Change is worth the effort, and the results aren’t what you fantasize about — they’re much better, if you pay attention.

http://zenhabits.net/slowchange/

Unpredictable

Who "makes it through" tragedy and difficulty? bent treeA talented web dev colleague of mine, Eric Meyer, has been writing through the unspeakable tragedy of the loss of their six year old daughter. I am grateful for the gift of his beautiful writing in the midst of this wretched time.

Extreme events place immense, sometimes overwhelming stress on relationships. There isn't really a formula for who makes it through. "It isn’t strength that keeps a couple together in the face of crisis. It’s having the luck to remain compatible under the most extreme pressures. Like any complex interaction between two complex systems, the outcome is fundamentally unpredictable."

Start where you are

With all the messy stuff, no matter how messy it is, just start where you are -- not tomorrow, not later, not yesterday when you were feeling better -- but now. Start now, just as you are. -- Pema Chodron

Fox River TrailTime to begin.

In graduate school I became familiar with several works dealing with what Jean Pierre de Caussade called the "sacrament of the present moment". The reality of where each of us are, the place, body, and circumstances we inhabit in this moment form and inform our paths in life. This is what we can shape. It's a reality both entirely ordinary and very special, made just for us, even when it is messy, less than ideal, and terrible.

This year I'm running my first marathon, and I'm scared.

In the past I've found that one of the best ways to cope with fear is to team up with someone else. So that's what I'm doing. I'm dedicating my running this year and teaming up with a fantastic local charity, Lazarus House, just a few blocks from my house. Lazarus House provides shelter, meals, and transitional support to people in my community who don't have a home. LH helps people no matter how messy their circumstances to start right where they are and begin again. They are a tremendous force for good in our community.

As I move along my path this year, I hope to share some of what I experience where I am, and hope it will inspire (or at least amuse) you. If it inspires you a good deal, I encourage you to reach out and team up with Lazarus House yourself by making a donation. If you do, let me know so I can give you a shout out, a spot on my marathon shirt, and (if you're local) a big hug.

Let us begin again, for up to now we have done nothing. -- Saint Francis of Assisi

Run on.

Lazarus House, St. Charles, Illinois