Like I do every year, I set an intention for myself. “Drishti”, “view”, or “sight” as some call it. A la Kristin Armstrong, my running-life guru, this intention-setting has proven to be an integral part of my growth and development.
When we set our sights on something, is is more than just our gaze driving us forward. It is our hearts.
This year, my word is/was “believe”, a follow-up from the previous years word of “brave”. As I look back on the year, I am taken aback by the journey I encountered. New job, coaching girls basketball, intense therapy, running almost the whole year anemic, copper-poisoning, getting engaged, weddings, etc. And before I get to my evaluation of my word “believe”, let’s review the year.
It has been a difficult year in the running sphere. Professionally and personally, this year could not have gone better. Mitch and I got closer than ever (ummm we got engaged!), I developed even deeper friendships, I have a great job, and I bought a home, a car, and a puppy. Amazing! But, like that parable of the woman with the lost coin, if one thing is lost, all we can focus on is that one coin. That has been running for me.
I couldn’t figure out why, but I had a revelation after CIM and seeing lots of people achieve their dreams. I felt this incredible sense of loss and shame, and I couldn’t figure out why. The entire year, I had berated myself for poor performance, lack of motivation, and seeing my physical body slip down into the mud. Any dream I had for running, whether it be a time, a place, or a feeling, I could feel myself loosen the grip on – not in a healthy way, where we are separated from the outcome, but in a way of defeat. It wasn’t until my birthday 10k that I realized that it isn’t me anymore, and that I needed to go see a doctor. I found out my ferritin was at an 11, and looking back at my running log, I suspect it had been there for quite some time.
But for 9 months, I had come to believe I didn’t deserve success because I had an eating disorder at one point in my life. That for making mistakes with my body and for putting my self worth in running, I didn’t deserve nice things. That I sealed my fate and I was bad and undeserving. Mentally, I gave up on my dreams and myself.
Professionally and personally, my confidence is at an all time high – how could I go into my office or life space with this giant self-esteem, and then crumble in running? It comes down to a lot of things – certain individuals shaming me, abuse from the past, and my insecurity in the running world as a newbie. But belief is developed, not inherited, and this year, professionally, personally, and now I can say, in my running, my belief in myself is at a high.
My fiance coached me through one of the physically toughest summers of my life and I found joy in workouts and training again. Despite horrible racing results, I went into each race hungry and with belief that I could do better. I don’t know how I operated as long as I did, with the physical body I had then. It must have been belief. At a time, it may not have been belief in my abilities, but it was belief that it gets better. That somewhere around the corner, there is a new day.
This year I wanted to believe in the process rather than the outcome, and I think I nailed that. Though giving up completely on my dreams is never the solution, the practice of loosening my grip on them and focusing on getting what I can get done, one day at a time, was extremely important. It wasn’t easy seeing paces for mile repeats, at a pace I used to do easy runs; but I was invested in getting better THAT day, not getting back to anything. That helped me move forward.
This year I wanted to believe in the power of difference and change, and that mistakes don’t condemn us. I nailed this. It took me a year, but I nailed it. My big dreams, the scary-no one should talk about them dreams, are still in my thoughts and my heart. And I know now that having mistakes and a past does not expel me from the possibility of a happy and dream-fulfilling life. I learned that I can’t control people and that the best thing I can contribute to this world, is to be myself.
This year I wanted to believe in God and trust that I don’t need to prove myself to him. That faith is really doing what we love, and that is why we are alive. I nailed this. I developed a deeper relationship with God; maybe not in the “go to Church every Sunday” sense (need to work on that) but in the sense that I no longer fear Him or need to prove myself to Him. I learned that God loves me, my whole heart, and gave me fire to use, not hide. I can’t wait to deepen my relationship with Him even further, because I feel like I am jusssttt scratching the surface. And of course, deepen my relationship with God, as a team with Mitch, my best friend and soon to be husband.
This year, my word is “heart”. I thought “heart” back in October and it stuck with me ever since. I especially love “heart” because it is so fitting, as Mitch and I are getting married this year. My basketball coach, Coach Mudd, always hit this point home with us- that we need to play with heart. I feel that one of my strongest skills/talents is my heart. However, this year I feel like I got a bit disheartened, and I would like to focus on using my talents to my advantage. So, what do I mean by heart?
Heart means “courage or enthusiasm”; this year, I want to tackle everything in front of me with the courage and enthusiasm that I know burns in my heart. I want to look at a start line, a tough conversation, or a scary change with a face of joy and a go-getter attitude. I want to use my heart as my fuel, knowing that the pure fire that burns inside of me is the best source of energy I can ask for. I want a heart on fire.
Heart means “love or compassion”; this year, I want to become more compassionate and more open to opening up. I want to look at my relationships and approach places of conflict with a tender heart, rather than a defensive one. I want to be smart, keeping up boundaries where boundaries should be, but I also want to use compassion and love as my guide on where to build the wall. I want a heart with softer edges.
Heart means “the central or innermost part of something”; this year, I want to remember the important things. I want to remember that win or lose, the important things are my character and my love. I want to remember that allowing ourselves to accept joy and self-love into our hearts, is the toughest form of self-compassion there is to accomplish, and therefore, the most important. I want to remember to look around at the little things, to be grateful, and to pray. I want my heart to be where my feet are, being happy with who I am right now, what I have this moment, and the time I have been given this second. I want to remember that when our hearts are full, the spill-over from our fullness runs into our loved ones. That the inception of external love, is that of internal love. God starts in our hearts, after-all. I want my heart where my treasure is, and my treasure will forever and always be love. Doing it all for love, with love, and through the love God gave me. I want a heart that is centered.
This year my intention is “heart”.
What about you?