Each day soon after you get up (or even while you're still in bed), ask yourself this question "What's important in life?" Whatever the answer is, you should then live that day with that one goal in mind.
This doesn't mean you will only accomplish one thing that day. It means that your thoughts and actions will be aimed in that direction.
For instance, if you decide that what's important is love, then all your "work" that day would revolve around love. At work if there are people who normally make you mad or aggravate you, look at them with love no matter what they do or say. You don't have to do anything different externally. This is usually more powerful if you are experiencing it internally. Of course, these thoughts of love toward those people will most likely change your interaction with them. Your day will change. I guarantee it. And the more you do it, the better your workplace will be and the more you'll enjoy it.
If traffic bothers you and you have decided that love is what's important, put out thoughts of love to those in cars around you. Maybe that person who just cut you off is having a really bad day or maybe they are trying to get home quickly because of family problems. Even though you don't know them, you can still profess love for them and remember to always "declare it good" (as an aside, I did that on my flight yesterday when I realized there were a million kids on the plane and lo and behold I got the most well behaved little girl sitting next to me). Traffic will ease. Try this with traffic lights too and see how you respond. Express love for that red light and be grateful for the safety features it provides.
Perhaps you have decided this morning that understanding is what's important. Then you'll go through the day aiming to understand everyone and everything in your surroundings. Start with yourself though - aim to understand what you are doing and why.
If you find yourself saying something like "making money" is important, you might want to examine that and see if it's really important. If you still conclude that it is, then ask yourself why it's important. It might be that you need to make the money because things are tight and you want to make sure that you're able to take care of your family, etc.
The whole point of this is to examine your beliefs and live to them. We have to break them down into daily tasks or we most likely won't do anything about them. It does no good to proclaim that you want to love everyone but then go and yell or get frustrated because of x, y, or z.
Live to what's important and do it today. Tomorrow may be too late.
This past week has gone by in such slow motion. Even slower than I run (or walk). It's been like trying to navigate through molasses. As I was thinking about it, though, I realized that although I have not gone through all the phases of grief, I've experienced changes that are similar to what I go through in an Ultramarathon (which by definition is any race greater than 26.2 miles which is a marathon).
First there was disbelief and shock that my friend had gone to another existence - one which was out of reach of all those who loved her. There were abundant tears and hope that the phone would ring and I would find out there was an error or something just as incredulous. The disbelief part (not the tears usually) is equivalent to the start line of a race that you've been preparing for and waiting for all year long - since you hit the finish line (or not) in last year's race. Now you can't believe it's actually here.
The next day I was able to make it through the day because of all the distractions at work - keeping me busy and interacting with others whom I care about. This was my way to block out the fact that I have a long road ahead of me until I can really accept that she's gone forever. At the start line of a race and early on before people leave you in their wake, you have lots of distractions. You are busy tying your shoes, getting your water bottle right and talking to everyone around - some of whom you might not have seen in a long time - simply distractions so you don't have to worry about the road ahead and how tough it might be.
But then I came home. The distractions were gone. Life was back to what it was yesterday - empty. I see everything around me that reminds me of her. The void cannot be filled. This is like being out on the road (or trail) after everyone has left you and you're on your own without anyone to help you through the pain that's up ahead. After awhile there's no new distractions and you're alone with your thoughts.
This emptiness and low mood continues for who knows how long. I don't want it to continue and something inside of me tells me that I will get better but I can't see that any time soon. I don't know how I will get over this. On the road of an ultramarathon, it's not uncommon to wonder if the race will ever end. I need others around me to help me through it. But there aren't others. I am alone on the road and in my life and in my grieving.
There will be a finish line but as with all of my slow running I have absolutely no idea when I might reach it. It's heartbreaking, discouraging and although aid stations (or road angels) help lift the mood, I know it's only tempoary.
I can't believe how much I miss my friend. And of course you all know that this is right on top of the loss of my ability to do the 314 mile race across Tennessee this year because of my post-shingles pain.
My very best friend has moved on to a better existence and given that she is in a much better place and free of all the suffering, I am grateful. I only pray that I gave to her as much as she gave to me during her life. We should ask ourselves that question every night - "What did I give to others today?" This should be followed by "Was it enough? What can I do better tomorrow?" I am going to put these quotes up all around my house and make sure I ask myself every night.
Why do we wait to write tributes to people until after they are gone? We should write tributes to the ones we love or know whenever we think about it.
My friend was phenomenal. She endured two years of treatment for her cancer and never missed a day of work or a day as a pastor. Right up until the end, she was caring for others and thinking only of the people she served every day. I wish I were that devoted to others as she was. It's still so hard to believe that she's gone (it's been a few hours) and that I'll never hear her voice again.
Memories are good but they are also painful. Almost everything I hear, everywhere I look, and everything I think about reminds me of her and the times we shared. Even though we were 1500 miles apart, we talked all the time and shared everything. She was always there. Now there is just empty space and a pang in my heart.
She is with her family and other friends while many of her friends remain here on earth mourning her passing. I don't want to have to mourn her. I want to embrace her greatness and if I could, I would shout it from the rooftops. I have been so blessed to have her in my life.
I have to also praise another amazing woman - her business partner. This woman has been by her side every step of the way and has pent hours in the hospital with her. She has had courage and strength that I've never seen before. She has remained calm and has always been there for my friend and for me too - communicating with me all the time about what was happening. As a friend and business partner her loss is double ours. My heart goes out to her.
Rest in peace, my friend. You are missed so much already. Thank you for being in my life.
One of the best has passed from her prison here on earth. Pat Summitt was the winningest coach in college basketball (men and women alike). She took her teams to championships every year even if they didn't reach the championship game officially. The championships she created for her students started at the beginning of a Lady Vol's first season and never ended.
As the quote says, cows don't take a day off so work every day. She instilled that in her students and once they learned that, success was a given. She was a hard master on the court but someone that everyone loved off the court. For her to repeat success year after year the way she did is remarkable.
I offer this to everyone who is reading this. Find out more about her and her upbringing (as well as all the hardship she endured during her outstanding career and how she handled that) and see how you can apply it to yousrelf and your life. I will be writing more about her in the coming weeks because I think we can learn so much from her and how she handled things.
I do know that you HAVE to look for the bright spots and the positives in every situation that may not be turning out the way you want. Believe me I know that and am trying every day to find good things in my life right now.
I'm glad to be back.
"There are no happier people on this planet than those who decide that they want something, define what they want, get hold of the feeling of it even before it's manifestation and then joyously watch the unfolding as, piece by piece by piece, it begins to unfold. That's the feeling of your hands in the clay."
Excerpted from: San Francisco, CA on August 18, 2001
This is something I'm trying to do now. I am visualizing my nerve and it's origin being bathed in golden, healing light and energy. Then I visualize this particular race I want to do in September (since I can't do the one in July). I see myself running happily around the loop and almost jumping up and down because I'm able to do anything with complete health. That feels so good and I'm then working to embody this feeling. It's the feeling that really matters. I have to feel as if I'm there and doing all this.
How can this work in your life?