Sunday, March 27, 2016

Project Begin Again. Day 1

"We are constantly invited to be who we are. ...I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve
and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts." -Henry David Thoreau.

No better time to begin again than Easter.  The other day, one of my dear blogger friends, Petra, posted this:  Begin Again. As I was reading, I felt that familiar resonation and inner "Yes". Her words often do this for me.  She's so real.  Her post caused lots to stir within this head and heart of mine.  She was talking about beginning again with her running, what running means to her, and not comparing herself to her past self.  Her words went so much deeper than simply starting again with running.  They reminded me yet again just how much we are a work in progress.  How life continues to unfold and change and we are allowed to change too.  And how things we love can take a different form than they once were.  Her words also reminded me of how hard it can be to begin again with something that once took such big space in our life.

I'm not beginning again with running.  In fact, I'm only a short stretch away from running a trail 50k (May 7th) so I've been running plenty (maybe not enough).  However, I am in a very different place with running than I once was.  I hardly ever carry a watch or Garmin unless I don't know a route or I'm trying to get a feel for where I am with speed.  I don't follow a strict plan.  I run much slower.  I'm ok with skipping days or even weeks.  It can be hard not to compare my present self with my past self sometimes.  Hard to accept that I am still just as much of a runner as I was when I was sticking to a dedicated plan, writing about my training and shooting for that 3:15/3:20 marathon.  I'm still a runner and running is still the gift it always has been.  My zen.  Running has been less and less about a specific goal and more and more about what it does for my soul.  I run because it brings me more life.  With each mile on the trails, my life is richer and my soul awakens.  As Petra says: "Running is how I understand myself in life."

What Petra's post made me think of first, before running, was writing.  Her post made me want to blog again.  I've felt this pull off and on over the last year but I haven't known where to start or how to continue once I do start.  Typing on here feels strange.  I get caught into the trap of comparing myself to my old self.  I'm so different.  So much has changed.  But I'm making it way too complicated here....

We can always Begin Again!  From where we are.  As we are.  Without comparison.

Why write on my blog anymore?  Why not just a journal?  You know, I've asked myself this question lots.  But the truth is, journaling has been way harder for me lately...hard to find my flow.  Something about typing on my blog (even if only for an audience of one or two or none besides my imagination) motivates me.  The discipline of writing ...especially daily gratitude and intentions... helps my entire flow and focus with everything else! The practice of daily writing is ENERGIZING and gives way to so so much more than I realize.

So, here's how this will go.

  1. I will write something on here every day for 38 days because that is how many days until my 50k.  
  2. I will keep in simple!!! Some days will consist of three sentences if that's all I have.   
  3. I will write for me.  
  4. I will try very hard NOT to compare my old Runninghood self to the Amanda typing today.  
  5. I will keep my posts to daily gratitude, intentions and.... because how can we not feel sad, heavy hearted and powerless at so much happening in our world...I will include at least one small way I can or have done something to make the world a better place (this can be as simple and powerful as helping my child learn a lesson about love and kindness).  
  6. Why am I doing this?  To Begin Again.  Just as with training for a marathon when we put in our daily workouts, I want to get into the habit of focusing on the things that make me happy and my intentions for making my life what I want. Writing helps me with this.  

Day 1:

  • Go downstairs after writing this and be entirely present with my family over dinner.  
  • Acknowledge at least one positive thing I noticed about each of my kids this week.  
  • Celebrate as a family all we have to be thankful for and our highlights of Spring Break.  
  • A road trip with my kids to sunny California to see family.  
  • Our stop in the Redwood Forest.  Majestic soul food.
  • My 20 mile run on trails (so much time on feet) with my husband today (he's also running the 50k).  
  • Seeing my children grow into such beautiful versions of themselves. Well, I don't always notice this. ;) But if I step back and really see the big picture... 
  • I could go on and on but the goal was to keep these entries simple so I'll save more for tomorrow.  
How have I, or can I continue to play even a small part in making the world a better place (Be the Change):  
  • This week, on my long drive back from SoCal to Oregon, I had a moment with my kids where I was simply and clearly NOT my best self.  Instead, I let my sleep deprived self take over and react to my tired fighting kids in a way that did NOT model grace or love or patience.  I was like a roaring LION.  I hated the feeling that came after I screamed.  I definitely had those familiar feelings of shame and guilt washing over me.  But I let my kids see ME have GRACE and love with myself and I offered the same to them.  I showed them that even when we act in ways we aren't proud of, we can still apologize and offer ourselves and each other GRACE!! I showed them what it looks like to start fresh and forgive.  I think that by modeling self love and grace and love and grace for others, and letting them see that they can make mistakes without letting their mistakes turn into shame and negative self talk and feeling stuck, I am helping them grow up to be loving, kind, and full of grace people...with themselves and others.  At least I hope so. 
That's about all for today.  Here's to beginning again... and continuing.  Life is beautiful.



  1. Good to see you again! I have missed your words!

  2. I LOVE that you're back and beginning again. I've missed your words and insights and thought-provoking posts and am really looking forward to reading your posts in this challenge. Set yourself free my lovely friend, from all the expectations you put upon yourself, and just enjoy your body and your mind.

  3. You are lovely Amanda. Cheers to new beginnings!

  4. You are lovely Amanda. Cheers to new beginnings!

  5. You are lovely Amanda. Cheers to new beginnings!

  6. Yay!! A blog post from Amanda! Yes, it is always a good day to start fresh and begin again. You may not be as "fast" as the old Amanda right now but speed does not equal better. You have more experience and knowledge and bring much more to the table than your old self. Welcome back!!

  7. Ah, you've started blogging again just as I have! I have a new one now (this is Lauren Q... I blogged years ago at A Duck on the Run and we were FB friends for a stretch as well) :)

  8. I saw a post from you in my inbox and got so excited. I love this post... how running has changed for you.... how blogging can be so different than journaling even if only one person reads it.... I'll be reading for the next 38 days, and hopefully beyond that if you continue to write.

  9. I'm going to break a rule here and write a second comment, because I love quotes and I just came across the best quote that is EVERYTHING: "All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know." Ernest Hemingway

  10. It's nice to see you blogging again!

  11. Welcome back! The way I see it, every day is in many ways, day 1. Loving reading your blogs this week and hoping to infuse some of your joy and gratefulness into my own life!

  12. I love this! Resonates with me too, as I have been doing WAY too much comparison to the runner I used to be. I feel like I forget to enjoy it for what it is now because I so desperately want to get back to where I used to be as if I have to prove something... Anyway, I'll be keeping up with your posts!