Practice before the race…

by | Oct 26, 2015 | Mindfulness

If you stay ready you don’t have to get ready.

—Will Smith

No matter how optimistic, focused, centered; no matter how high I generally fly on the emotional scale, eventually I hit a pothole in the road or sometimes I get engulfed by sinkhole. What I share here are the things I do so I can deal with the not so good, withstand the bad and face the ugly.

That is what came to mind when a week or so ago a friend of mine took a quick look here for the first time. Her response was, “Your site is so optimistic.” What I heard was, “It’s so wildly optimistic.” Funny, I never thought of my writing as optimistic. Everything here is about what I do to “stay ready.”

  • When I talk about making peace, my golden rules are what make moving forward despite circumstances.
  • When I embrace the idea that I am the fiction of my own creation, I free myself to live whatever story pleases me.
  • When I allow myself to dream about doing what I love, I break down the barriers in my head (that have never proven to be actually real, by the way) that block me from imagining the possibilities.

Of course it’s easy to be good or whatever when everything is going my way. But the real miracles of these approaches emerge when life sucks—after I face something that rocks my world, when I feel threatened or unsure. Remember my “Thinking yourself happy” piece? It sounds light, uplifting or even fluffy—now. But then, then I was so sad. There was nothing bright in the depth of my despair. And it was the middle of winter. One rainy, cold, cloudy day trailed another. There were no flowers to smell. No one to tell me that everything was going to be alright. No nothin’ outside of myself. My level of motivation was zero. But… I kept pushing in a positive way because I had ideas, tools, strategies to lean on.

Leveraging the little glimmers of hope provided by TedTalks, books and YouTube videos cuts through my internal, external and imagined pressures and helped me focus on what truly matters to me. It helped me concentrate on the fact that I determine how I feel. With that encouragement combined with my own wanting, I was able to launch authentic wishes for things I do want.

I remembered to do things that I always loved and always wanted to try because despite everything that was going on, I had one thing that I never had before, the luxury of time. I could have focused on what was wrong, but all that would have done was made what was wrong seem bigger and I would never have been able to see a solution. Instead I found things that consoled me and that opened the door to my finding a little bit of happiness.

I’m clearly not always happy about whatever it is that’s bugging me. But now I accept it all a process. And I actually started writing here during that time, so I would remember the tools that I was learning to navigate difficult times. (I won’t be the first or the last to say that I write to remember.) I consider the lessons I’ve learned as little serendipities that create my path forward. They are like gifts that keeps on giving because I can pull them out of pocket again and again and again.

From that perspective what I write here isn’t optimistic at all. It’s just plain practical: it’s knowing what I want, staying in alignment with it and recognizing opportunity when it presents itself. This is part of my practice before I race, before the rubber hits the road, before I need it help. It’s about grasping fundamental truths that both free me to be who I am and to pursue my dreams unfettered by circumstances that often really don’t matter, aren’t my problems to solve or are just none of my business.

Circumstances do not determine my happiness. From time to time I have to remind myself of that fact, but that’s just another one of those tools in my toolkit. It is so easy for me to get distracted by stuff completely out of my control. But with my adaptable and ever growing toolkit, I have strategies and tactics to support me. I’m constantly positioning and repositioning myself to find the clues that lead to other clues that lead me to all of the things I want and the fullness of life’s potential. So being ready is fundamental to all I do.

How do you climb over obstacles?

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