Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Be Still, Listen, and Enjoy the Stuff in the Middle

I suppose this writing probably belongs in my journal.  Some pretty unprocessed thoughts here but I'm going to give it a go and try to work through some of them.  I've found that usually when I'm feeling this way...filled with such an overwhelming call to
                                                  LISTEN and BE STILL
there is something big that I'm supposed to be hearing or processing and it usually comes at the end of something like this.  I might as well do my thinking right here.

Marathon training
        Best Shape of my life
Focusing on a GOAL for 24 weeks,
        half a year!
Didn't cut it.  Or so I felt. The list is long and I didn't realize that I was keeping record with myself:
*  took off too fast?
*  didn't know the course
*  should have thought about different fuel options
*  why didn't you think of music
*  3:30:17....17 seconds??!
*  what were you thinking here? here? and here?

Yep, I have chalked my marathon up to a learning experience but I've been keeping up quite the facade with you, you, and ME.  Apparently I have not really believed that it was all "good enough" because as with many things in life.....

I'm already on to the NEXT thing!  I've already been planning my next big chance to "prove myself".  The next big mountain to climb.  The next big goal to reach.  Something else to work towards.  And Why?!  What am I scared of?  
Not having a big goal?
Being seen as weak?  
Losing myself in something?
Losing all the fitness I've worked towards?

This morning, after some really strange and vivid dreams (even a nightmare), I woke up a little before 5:30 a.m. and decided to try out some early morning running since I have book club tonight and won't have another chance to workout.  Those of you that know me, know that I AM NOT an early morning runner.  Getting out of bed this early wasn't much of a choice.  It was a given.  I was up and I felt almost pulled and guided out the door.  

But when I got outside into the cold, dripping and grey morning, I didn't run.  I tried.  But the message to me was so LOUD and so CLEAR that I knew why I was up this early.  Early enough to not be distracted by the demands of my three kids.  Early enough to where my to-do list didn't completely take over my brain. Early enough to really LISTEN.  And the message to me was to 
Give yourself a break
Stop trying to be in control 
Enjoy life without always feeling like you need to be hurdling to the next big thing!
It's OKAY to not be "training" for something!
Let it GO! 
Let your body have a BREAK!
Have fun.
Be Still.

I've always been the type of person to have a goal in mind.  This is good.  Goals are good.  But so is slowing down to enjoy the stuff in between the big goals.  The filling of the Oreo.  The stuff that will be missed out on if 

My goals for being still and not having too big of a GOAL right now? Yes, they are goals but smaller ones...the gently guiding ones and not the BIG climbing ones.  
  • As my friend Jenn mentioned yesterday, I am not going to let my marathon experience "define" me.  It is what it is and  I need to let it go.  I thought I had let it go but after reflection this morning, I realize that I have been storing it away until I can do it "right" the next time. 
  • Stop to smell the roses!  It's that time for me to NOT be training for something!!  At least today, tomorrow and the rest of this week!  Time to just enjoy being with my kids, giving my body rest, drinking some wine, and letting my mind shut off its "What's NEXT?!" thinking.  
  • Be Okay with not having any other goal except to live a healthy, happy life in the present moment!
  • ENJOY my children.  Get down on their level and really hear what they have to say....what they're thinking about the world.  And let them lead the day....because I CAN do this.  
I've got nothing to do but ENJOY LIFE TODAY, and the next day, and the next.  What a gift!  

I'm letting myself off the hook!  Today is my day to shut my mind off to its normal "What's Next?!" thoughts, let myself do what I feel like doing without "pushing or climbing", enjoy the "stuff in between", and Just "Make the Moment Last".

So glad I let the morning speak to me.  So glad I truly LISTENED to God's voice. Life I love you! I'm ready to BE STILL.


  1. I love that song! It was the first (and maybe last?) song I learned to play on the guitar.

    Take it easy today. ENJOY today. Sometimes I have to remind myself to just sit back and remember that today is the day the Lord has made, let me rejoice and be glad in it.

  2. I think you're awesome. You were able to view your early morning for what it was (a positive and needed time of meditation and listening to God) and not what it wasn't (a missed run). And you are not a 3:30 - you are an amazing mother and wife, and inspirational blogger, and so much more! As always, I always enjoy your journal posts!
    Change of subject - did you do your midweek long runs in the evening? I'm about to start BT next week for the next 24 weeks, and am curious how 10-12 mile run midweek would look like in the eve. I have a long time before I get there, but just curious about your experience.

  3. Been struggling with the same....taking time to listen to the whispers amidst the noise is a challenge but worth it!

  4. I really thought that "Enjoy the Stufff in the middle" was about Oreos, and, sure enough...

  5. I love just relaxing in the early morning when the rest of the world is still quiet. It's so peaceful. Enjoy your day and appreciate your mindset.

  6. What a great moment in your morning before the day starts. You are always so good to listen to what you need to hear in the day.
    I know how you feel about a race that didn't go as planned. But there will be plenty of races down the road and life goes on in the meantime.
    I read in my book yesterday something that reminds me of this. It says, "Life is not an emergency. Life is brief and it is fleeting but it is not an emergency...Emergencies are sudden, unexpected events - but is anything under the sun unexpected to God? An all powerful God has all these things under control. Life is dessert, too brief to hurry."
    You are an amazing woman. Enjoy your day!

  7. This is really nice to read this morning. I am feeling like I am trapping myself up a bit in my own goals here and your words are almost like a sigh of relief.

    Yes the middle of the Oreo is the best part, and this is a great way to think about the little tasty blessing that we have during the in between moments of life.

    3:30 doesn't define you, numbers are just numbers...but why is this so hard to remember?!

  8. Thank you for your posts, they always get me thinking about my own life. I needed this post today!

  9. this is such a GREAT post Amanda!!! and once again, I can relate:):) This is exactly where i'm at too! No big goals right now...just super excited to and have FUN!! I have felt so incredibly peaceful the last week since I've made this decision so I know it is the right one. I have YEARS to chase big dreams, but I MUST take breaks in between to just enjoy running without trying to tackle huge goals. I LOVE that you are happy and peaceful with this too. I can't wait to start running again just so I can enjoy running and not stressing over my miles or my workouts is going to be GREAT! now get over here and do some aqua jogging with me..should also be tonnes of FUN:) I truly adore you and think you are amazing. oh and one more thing....early glorious and ALWAYS when I feel the CLOSEST to my Father in Heaven. I love the early mornings for just that reason...a time to be alone before the kids are up before my overflowing inbox is staring me in the face...It is just me and God and always the perfect way to start the day. I hope you have the BEST day ever today and feel refreshed and renewed and excited for your GLORIOUS future! much love to you. You are a marvelous woman!!. thanks for sharing. xxx

  10. What a wonderful post. As always - SUCH a reminder. And speaking from my personal experience - please rest up after your marathon, your body takes more of a beating than you think it does.

  11. You are amazing! You have brought me to tears yet again. Enjoy the stilness and take this time for yourself. Know that you touch so many and are truly appreciated! Thank you for sharing your journey.

  12. I am so glad you decided to share this post because it totally spoke to me. I love everything you said and am so thankful you shared it. I can relate 100%. I feel like if I'm not reaching for a goal I am useless and unhappy. But it is important to embrace everyday.

    Thanks again for sharing. You have inspired me.

  13. I am glad you worked through your thoughts here. Beautiful!

    I have learned that while I find peace through running and all of that movement, I need to work on finding peace in stillness. In this moment. In my breath. Yoga has helped me with this. While there is movement, it all prepares you for that period of stillness, Savasana. Or, it prepares me for meditation. It's great to move your body and even better that we happen to LOVE it, but I think stillness is something a lot of runners struggle with.

    The other day, when I was bedridden, I was feeling extremely anxious. I was asking myself the typical 20-something questions. "What am I DOING with my life? Where am I headed? I NEED TO KNOW!" This causes me a lot of stress. So I whipped out my journal and put my flurry of thoughts onto paper. By the end, I not only felt a huge sense of relief, but I also worked though those thoughts and figured things out. I think I even wrote at one point, "WOW! This has really helped!"

    It was brave to share your semi-private thoughts, thanks for sharing that with us. :)

  14. Absolutely! Time to be still... enjoy these moments while you are in them... love your life and learn from it all. You are, as always, a wonderful provoker of thoughts for me :) Thank you for this!

  15. Being still is so hard isn't it...but when we are pulled to it there is a reason. Enjoy your peace right now. Enjoy your kiddos and your summer. I think that we embrace training and goals and times because we are looking for something to define us. I struggle with this all of the time. For me it is that I don't want to just be Siri, Ben, Andy and Izzie's mom and I am looking for more, but when I really sit down and think about it what could be more important? I will never have these chances again. You will get there my friend and Julie said it best....this is the day that the Lord has made....xoxoxo!!

  16. Loved this post! Sometimes, it is so tough to step back, let go, and not be so focused on training, setting a goal, or reaching a pr. I think our society tends to focus a lot on accomplishing, doing, acheiving, but there is something very worthwhile in taking a step back to sit, reflect, and think about where we are and where we are going. It is so tough with little ones and our busy lives, but thanks for reminding me that sometimes we just need to step back and rest.

  17. finally catching up on your blog. I've missed too much lately. 1st Congrats! I know the marathon did not end as you planned, but you DID run a great race. After MANY years of struggling in the heat, I STILL find myself going into races being naive about the effects of heat. Somehow I always seem to think my "hard training" will help ME overcome the heat this time. Not true!

    You learned so many valuable lessons - keep those fresh in your mind. Yes, you can achieve your goal of 3:15, if you want it.

    Yes, take a break and enjoy the moment. Most of the time, I take 2 wks off of running, post marathon. For me, it's so beneficial - physically, as well as, mentally. It's my way of honoring my body for letting me do what I do.

  18. WOW!! I NEEDED THIS!! Really, there is nothing better than being by yourself, early in the morning and just thinking with beautiful scenery around you!! I dwell on previous races too but you are right, you just have to LET GO!! Such a beautiful post, you really are such a talented writer!!! LOVE YOU!! Enjoy those kiddos!

  19. Amanda you have such a talent with words. I have not been on the computer much lately and just got caught up on your blog. My goodness you are one fit mama! Your legs are my dream legs! I hope you have a wonderful week.

  20. I read alot of stuff about how the "end" of a marathon can be such a loss and can really be a big let down because no longer is marathon training part of your daily ritual, so we're unsure what to do with that time. No, that race didn't "define" you, but running and training and goals are embedded in our DNA :) and we just enjoy it too much and dangit, we do want to prove that something we KNOW we're capable of is obtainable. I personally think you need to do another....not immediately but eventually, so that you don't sit there thinking "if only I tried..." when you're 90 and in a nursing home eating oatmeal by the mean old nurse b/c your children don't want you drooling on their nice, new carpet :). But until you're ready...enjoy the view and smell the fresh air!

  21. Ahhhhh. The EARLY morning run is my SANITY. I am even doing them here at Disneyland. I hope they grow on you, Amanda.

    Love the title of your post. I'm trying to enjoy the stuff in the middle too. And by that, I mean my *middle* child. He is a challenge. Wow. Trying to really celebrate those small moments/victories with him.

  22. Oh wait. Crap. I got so excited to see that you were pulled out the door that I stopped to comment before I finished reading. Never mind! HA!

    (But maybe they'll eventually grow on you??)

  23. I hope you continue to enjoy riding that bike and continue to appreciate all you have done.

    Your friend that was told to slow it down on the bike riding may have a history of heart disease or other biomarkers that indicate she needs to keep her heart rate under a certain setpoint, particularly during the first trimester.

  24. I've really enjoyed this marathon recovery period this time because I have been spending a lot more time on my mysore rug (just sitting and meditating) than I normally do because I usually use that time for running. It can be hard to remember to make time to be still, but it is so rewarding to enjoy that stillness.

  25. Beautiful post. And yes... it is so easy to get caught up in goals and the 'what-ifs' if you don't accomplish those goals... it becomes a vicious cycle.

    So glad you hear you had such an inspiring morning!

  26. Great post! "Slow down, be still" reminds me of this song

  27. Being still sounds like a great goal to me. I really enjoyed your post today because I'm a little like you - one thing finishes and I don't feel complete until I have the next to work towards. Sometimes we just have to sit back and enjoy where the current takes us.

  28. This was so great to read- I find it so difficult to enjoy the moment when I kept thinking "if I had only done THIS" or "if I had trained one more time THIS way". A 3:30 marathon is SOOOO amazing!!! But I totally, completely do the same thing... you run a PB and it always seems like you could have done more. Thanks for the honest post- we need more "off" days! And you definitely deserve it :)

  29. This is good stuff Amanda. REALLY good just have such a gift of expressing your thoughts and letting us feel them.....I could never express enough how much I think you have a future in writing-THIS type of writing.

    I understand EVERYTHING here. I've felt almost EVERYTHING here. The next big thing, proving yourself, losing fitness, being seen as weak....Oh, do I understand this.

    Enjoying life EVERYDAY-absolutely a gift. The middle of the Oreo, essential and NOT to be missed!! You have a beautiful life, one you MUST take time to just appreciate which I KNOW you will!! Simple no pressure down time definitely deserved!! I have a lot more to say especially regarding this morning-I know shocking! I'm going to send it out via email since my comment is already the longest and I've barely started-ha!!

    Hope you're having fun at bookclub:)

  30. This is good stuff, Amanda. I had that same feeling this year. I tried to force another marathon this year because I felt like I needed it, wanted another goal, something to prove myself with...but I soon realized I wasn't going to get anywhere trying to 'force' it. I've recently become content with where I'm at and where I'm headed. Those big goals will come...yes, there is a time to smell the roses. Enjoy those roses!! Love how you process. I need to take the time to process like you do. Need to make the time. Thanks.

  31. this is just the post I needed today. Making time to "be still" is so important and I am horrible at it. God is always with us....sometimes we just have to slow down and soak up his love and peace. Thanks for sharing!

  32. I just can't express what i am thinking as well as I'd like. I am jaut glad that you poseted this, Amanda.
    Hugs XO

  33. Heck, I can't even spell, either!

  34. love this post, its so true.

  35. I needed this post so much right at this moment, Thank you!

  36. Don't sweat the music thing too much -- no headphones allowed at Newport! I wanted to run it last year but decided against it when I found out about that policy. It takes me twice as long as you to finish a marathon; I can't run in silence for that long!!

  37. Every year I do a week long retreat at a Buddhist Monastery and live with the Monks. Talk about being still. You would love it. They actually have them for families and your whole fam would love it. Cheap too.

    I also hate getting up early, but seems I'm gonna have to soon as my miles are gonna start to ramp up and that's the only way for me to get them in. Ugggghhhhh

  38. TOTALLY relate with this post, so touching, so honest! I think that there are seasons in our lives when we identify more with the things that we love to do but you have too many wonderful things in your life to let a marathon really define you. What you do and how you do it merely enhances your life...we seem to learn from everything and it makes us better, richer, more blessed because we tried and learned!
    It's great to have some listening time and be still. Enjoy. Thank you...

  39. Hi!
    I so agree. I love what the morning has to say to me each day. It's my mantra I attempt to keep w/me throughout the day...

    and you are a fabulous writer;)

  40. Wow girl. Reading this again. This really was your best post EVER....