Friday, February 6, 2009

Finding My Pace

Someone asked me to write an article for a local women’s journal on how to get started running. Oddly enough, I never considered myself a “runner.” Races for me are pure pleasure for sharing the energy of people you run with… and for hearing the families on the sides encouraging you along. Who wouldn’t want to race? It’s not every day I hear people cheering me on!

But like I said, for years, I never ran, only walked. Running made me feel inadequate, out of shape (and breath), and feeling like garbage at the end.

Many years ago, my then-boyfriend encouraged me to try a run… slowly. Not at the greyhound pace at which I loved to start. I agreed. And started out slowly… still kind of out of breath. But I felt much better. So we did more runs together, until that fateful day when he whistled while I ran. Whistled. The shock.

So we began to run separately. Me at my own pace. And I learned to give myself credit for getting out there. I stopped comparing myself to “where I should be.” My boyfriend became my greatest cheerleader, and still is after 11 years of marriage.

Then came the first 5 mile race! I was so nervous. But I made it. Slow as molasses, but made it! A few years later, I did what I thought was previously impossible – I signed up for the Rock N’Roll Marathon in San Diego. To get there, I teamed up with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and trained with a fabulous group of people. And what I discovered was no matter the mileage, no matter how freezing cold the weather (we lived in Boston), I enjoyed our runs together with the group … because I could talk to people while I ran.

So the mantra for my long runs became this:

Number 1. Find people to run with if I can – who share the same “talking” pace.
Number 2. I don’t beat myself up. When I do, I recognize it as “Let me beat myself up a little more...”
Number 3. When I go on solo runs, keep it slow and steady, and remember how good I will feel when I’m done.

For my article Running: How To Get Started Without Tripping Over Your Laces, see .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Cry

This is beautiful. Had to post it.

"When all the things we want beyond our reach move slowly within our reach, it is easy to feel good about life. But if our sense of well-being becomes dependent on the constant delivery of goods to our door, we experience a sense of loss when the supply suddenly dries up, or we no longer perceive it has the same value. At this point, we are thrown back on ourselves and must live on what we find there. In a way, we are finally forced to rely on the one thing already within the compass of our grasp – our soul’s natural entanglement in the world. This entanglement is often perceived for the first time through a sense of loss. It is as if we first stumble into our belonging by realizing how desperately out of place we feel. This sense of loss has a natural way of drawing us inside ourself. We might at first label the body’s simple need to focus inward depression. But as we practice going inward, we come to realize that much of it is not depression in the least; it is a cry for something else, often the physical body’s simple need for rest, for contemplation, and for a kind of forgotten courage, one difficult to hear, demanding not a raise, but another life."

-David Whyte
The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of Soul in Corporate America

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A New Year's Resolution

“Peace comes when we stop pretending to be something other than our true selves.”
-Debbie Ford

“You were born to manifest the glory of God that is within you. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-Marianne Williamson

So it’s almost mid-January… and I found myself wondering… what is it that I want for this New Year? I have a picture in my head of how my life, my business was supposed to be last year… And that wasn’t exactly how it turned out. But the thing is: It was a great year. There was tremendous growth. My business took off. I became certified in coaching. I got out of my comfort zone a zillion times, fell flat on my tush a plenty, and was…okay! And boy – did I learn what I needed to know. I am blessed to have the most amazing clients, who give me the opportunity to walk their journeys with them. I learned so much from them. I am collaborating with some pretty neat individuals to bring coaching to people who are in transition at their jobs and careers.

So what’s my hesitation this year? What’s still unresolved? Whose measurements are still hanging over me?

The fact is it’s all made up. How we’re doing, how we perceive ourselves. I know very well from the work I do that we have free will and a choice how we might view a topic. So if I find myself beating myself up, then what is it really I need to make peace with? What part of me have I not loved or accepted?

So this year I step out of that comfort zone again – a zillion times – to hold myself as a child of God, just as I am.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

An Act of Surrender

“Places in the wild draw many of us to experience a vitality greater than our own, but it may take an act of surrender to let the gates give way between ourselves and nature.”

-Rosamund and Benjamin Zander, The Art of Possibility

Experiencing something greater than ourselves: are we up for it? What would it be if we could do this and be okay? Be open for a better world, for stewardship, for voices to be heard, for peace, for that which moves us … and be okay? Crazy some might say. Isn’t possible, others counter. No money, no time, just a pipe dream, how am I going to live on that… But again, suspend all of that just for a moment: what if we could experience that which we all may have experienced at one time? What if we dared to look at it? What would we see?

I ask these questions because I believe too often we shut ourselves down before letting ourselves really entertain possibility. What happens to us as we grow older? We encourage our kids to go for their dreams, no matter how big. In fact, we don’t ask them to think about it, but to dream what’s possible and to go for it. Why?! Because it’s our fervent hope that they’ll do it.

So what does it take to move from the place of fear to the place of possibility? It’s first and foremost a willingness. A willingness to look there and suspend your reality for a moment. Then it’s simply a choice - an act of surrender. A letting go of the outcome to let come.

Easier said than done? Nah. Just practice.

Try it with the smallest thing. Your husband’s way he folds the laundry. Your child’s way of making the bed. Practice letting go little by little, so that when you’re ready, experiencing a vitality greater than our own is a simply a matter of being open to the possibility.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Electing Community

Whatever way you swung in the elections, what’s clear is this: No one person can do it alone. Community – a support network – is essential. Any mom would vouch.

It’s so easy to operate in our own little worlds, going about out days, doing our things, interacting with people for brief social moments. But when something BIG happens, usually a calamity, that’s when we peek outside of our little boxes and really take a look around.

So what the heck does being part of a community mean? What does it mean to have community?

It strikes me that community brings our hearts together. Just take a look at the elections and see how people were moved to do something in their hometowns, stretched themselves because they believe something better was possible. I know I canvassed for the first time in my life! When we know we share a common purpose with our neighbor, our spirits lift and we creatively discover what might actually be possible.

This is true for us everywhere: personally, in our businesses and places of work, in our schools, in our public places and forums.

It’s in times like these, for better or worse, that we feel part of something much larger. Consider that having community doesn’t hinge on what our bottom line is, but what we contribute to the larger whole.

So peek out. Become aware. What’s fires you up? Where do you fit in? Who might you talk to? And dare I say it, how can you shape your future?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Learning Good Judgment

“How does one learn good judgment? Experience. And how does one gain experience? Bad judgment.”

-Adam Kahane; Solving Tough Problems

As painful as it is true, I can’t help but smile at this statement. It’s no wonder most of us would rather not relive our teenage years.

Too often I find my clients beating themselves up. Too often I find that we link our mistakes too easily with being “a failure,” and all of the negative pictures that our minds draw for us. We don’t forgive ourselves. We become stuck, down, and unable to move in any meaningful way. Man! What a drag.

This thought is especially important for those who are trying something different, or new in their businesses, careers, or responsibilities. A reframe around gaining experience – as painful as it may be – is crucial.

Here are three questions I use with my clients to help with the reframing process:

1.What is the ultimate take away here? How did this experience serve me?
2.What would your wisest, inner-knowing self say about what happened? What guidance would you ask him or her for?
3.Reread acknowledgments you have received from your clients, co-workers, and mentors. What is it specifically that they see? Remind yourself of your greatest, natural talents.

Then take another step. It is only by learning – and making HUGE mistakes! – that we can really know what it is we need to know. And the more we do it, the more we’ve learned to love ourselves in the process.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


“I don’t want to talk about dying. I want to talk about living.”
-Madeline R. , 5 years old

I just received this message from Madeline’s parents in their Caring Bridge journal. Last year, Madeline was diagnosed with pleural pulmonary blastoma, a rare childhood cancer. It has now invaded her brain in the form of a growing tumor.

How is it that children, like Madeline, get it? We read her statement and say “Yes! That’s the spirit!” And secretly: “Man, is she brave!” “Would I do that?” “Could I do that?”

Because let’s face it, friends. We all talk about dying. Dying not just physically, but in our careers, our relationships, our businesses and our busy-ness, our financial pictures of late. It’s dreary business.

What is particularly interesting is that Madeline makes a conscious choice. She would rather focus on living while she is alive. Madeline loves swimming and baking cookies with her friend, Marcus. Can you imagine if we would greet our days with: “How do I want to live today?” “What is important to me?” “What would make me feel alive?” Imagine creating from a place of “what brings me joy.”

I know it’s a choice, and some days are so much better than others. So here’s how I choose today. Catching up with an old friend, especially ones I haven’t talked to in a long time, brings me immense joy. Going for a run because it’s a beautiful fall day. Writing an email to an old colleague of mine. And hugging my kids a little closer.

Pray for our friend, Madeline. She is wise beyond her years.