goal setting

Meditation In Motion

Meditation has become a part of my daily routine. While this word may freak some people out, to me, meditation is simply taking the time to focus on my breathing and find inner peace and calm.  It allows me to create a space in which I’m able to be completely present, surrounded by gratitude, bliss and awareness.

I’ve deemed running as my “meditation in motion.”  I’m able to get lost in my own running world as I become aware of the sights and sounds around me.  It’s an absolutely beautiful experience.  However, it’s beauty is only prevalent if I’m in the right place mentally.

Since announcing my audacious goal of 13.1×10, people have shown a huge amount of support. (Which I am entirely grateful for, and my heart is so full!) A major question I find myself being asked is “Which will you actually race.”  And I respond honestly with, “I haven’t thought about it!”  I began exploring this question deeper: which ones should I run at race pace?  On yesterdays 13 mile run, I found my answer:

None of them.

As soon as I start to think about that phrase, “race pace,” I lose sight of the meditation and running just becomes a motion.  Narratives get created in my mind and I find myself surrounded with self judgement and criticism.  I recognized these thoughts surrounded me as I found myself looking down on my run yesterday.  The pavement (and therefore the run) seemed never ending.  Right away, I knew this is not how I want to feel on this run, or any other run whether it’s a mile long or 20 miles long.  So, I took a deep breath in and looked up.

 Now, rather than endless, my run seemed limitless. 

So, I let go of all those thoughts consumed with self doubt and criticism.  People say the only person you should be in competition with is yourself, but I respectfully disagree.  I don’t want to compete with myself from the past, creating these beliefs of how I should and could be running.  So,  I stopped.  No more reflecting on my run history from the past or creating narratives for the future.  It’s time to focus on the now and realize how perfect and beautiful this run, and any run, truly is.

PRs will come without a doubt.  Some races will be better than others.  I’ll be forced to face the heat, the hills, some wind and rain, too.  But, with my focus being meditation in motion, I’ll be able to love each and every moment, and the awareness it brings me.

I’ve found my soulmate pace: my pace in which I’m able to push myself but still have control and awareness of my breath and my surroundings.  For me, keeping a solid 8 minute pace allows me to stay in a meditative state.  There’s moments where I get lost in the run and naturally pick up the pace.  But, for me and for this goal, it’s not about pushing the pace.  It’s about staying in a place of gratitude, bliss and presence as my body carries me down a new path.  It’s about finding balance and persevering mentally.  It’s about showing my students that goal setting comes in different shapes and sizes, each ambition unique to the individual.  It’s about keeping my runs limitless.  It’s about meditation in motion.

Am I still nervous?  Of course.  Mindfulness is a practice.  Each course will bring it’s own set of challenges, it’s own way of trying to take me from mindful to mindless.  I’m confident, though, that with my purpose and students in my mind, I can and will persevere, enjoying each most steps I take.

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What does meditation in motion mean to you?  How do you use motion to create a space of presence and bliss?

13.1 x 10

So, I just set a goal.

A very audacious goal.

I’m running 10 half marathons during the 2015-2016 school year; one each month.

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Each one will be dedicated to a pair of my students.

My relationship with running has recently evolved.  While running used to be my escape, it is now my me time.  When I lace up and hit the trail, I’m given the opportunity to build my awareness.  I grow mindful of my breath, of my surroundings, of all that I have to be grateful for.  I’m amazed at how this relationship has changed and how movement can be so meditative.

Why 13.1? 

Goals are meant to challenge you.  For me, personally, the distance of a half marathon will allow me to both mentally and physically challenge myself.  By no means is the plan to PR each and every race.  In fact, most races will not be ran at race pace.  While I’m destined to gain at least 1 PR from this (since I’ve never ran one before…automatic PR woohoo!), my ultimate goal is to focus on my breath, soak up my surroundings and smile at the opportunity on the paved paths ahead. And, yes, I’ve heard…races are expensive. But, not with proper budgeting! Rather than placing extra money in my “spending money” category for movies, dinners and drinks, some of that cash will be dedicated to the newly installed “race” category.  While I focus on leading a life with a balanced body and mind, balanced finances are important too. It’s a win-win in my eyes when my money goes to investing in that balance.

Student Dedications

Goal setting and mindfulness is a major part of the curriculum I teach in my classroom.  I’m excited to share my journey with my students, to provide them with an example of goal setting, perseverance and healthful living.

2015 Races

Here’s a list of Halves I am committed to:

August 23: Hotlanta Half Marathon (signed up!)

September 19: Race 13.1 Raleigh Fall Half Marathon

October 17: Bull City Race Fest
November 15: Raleigh Rocks the Green Way
December 5: Winston Salem Mistletoe Haf Marathon
The plan is to keep the races local, a way to give back to the community.  The first and last half will be the only ones not ran locally…a way to celebrate the beginning and end of this journey!
Cheers to a happy, healthy body and mind!

Why I Tossed My Life Check List

Being twenty-something, there are a lot of expectations I feel used to feel like I had to meet.

Oh, you know, just the usual:

1. start your successful career

2. get married

3. have babies

Basically, have an epic life change before the age of 30.  And while doing all of these things in your twenties is wonderful, it’s also wonderful for them to not happen. Because…well…to each their own.

Being a Type-A lady who is overly organized and is OCD about planning, I had my life laid out since I was little.  Finish high school, go to college, become a teacher, get married, have babies, continue teaching for 50 years.

As the years went by I was able to check these things off my life list:

finish high school…check!

go to college…check!

teach….check!

live happily ever after…cue screeching breaks here.

You see, when I reached the teaching part of my “life check list,” it didn’t go the way I had planned. The 12+ hours day, the exhaustion, the lack of a social life, the lack of insanity all proved to be too much.  I knew teaching would be hard (duh), but when I looked back on my year of teaching a daunting feeling came over me: I have to do all of that again? I felt trapped. It just wasn’t for me.

It was at this point I realized I needed to stop focusing on my “Life Check List” and start focusing on me.

Here’s how I did it:

1. Embracing The Unexpected: let’s be real…you (probably) can’t predict the future.  I know I can’t.  I thought being in a classroom was my purpose.  Maybe it is.  But right now, it’s not. You have no idea if what you’re doing, or planning on doing, is going to make you happy.  And you know what? That’s totally okay.  Give it a try.  I gave teaching a try, and realized that right now it wasn’t for me.  Embrace the unexpected, enjoy the journey.  It’s all about creating who you are.

2. Focusing On Me: A big part of enjoying the journey is building a relationship with yourself. Rather than focusing on what you should be doing, focus on your growth.  Does it make you happy?  Are you feeling inspired?  Is your inner light shining?  When I was teaching, I felt out of relationship with myself.  My light was dimmed. I wasn’t inspired.  And, therefore, I wasn’t happy.

3. Set Goals Instead: Rather than set up a long list of things to accomplish, set goals.  Visualize how you are living your life in 10+ years.  What do you need to do to get there?  What do you need to accomplish? What gets you excited?  If your life doesn’t excite you…what’s the point? (Side note: your goals will change…again…embrace the unexpected). This really did it for me.  I looked ahead 10 years and realized I didn’t want every year to look like this one. It was time for a change.

Do I know exactly where I’m going? Not quite.  But there is one thing I do know: I’m happy. My inner light is shining and, right now, I feel so in-tune with myself.  I know my purpose is to inspire others.  I can’t do that if I’m not inspiring myself.  How did I start inspiring myself?

By tossing my life check list.