It Changed Me

26.2 miles. Sunshine. Music. Runners. Posters. American Flags. Helicopters. Marines. Family. Strangers. Cheers. Clapping. So much inspiration.

It. Changed. Me.

For the first time in my life, I was PRESENT for it all. Immersed in all of the experience. The energy melted into my being. Like being transported to another place, another capacity of time, I was completely in it. And it felt amazing. My legs held me strong, propelling me forward. My lungs happily exchanging air. My breath so rhythmic, it was calming. “I’m doing it,” I smiled, high-fiving my brother at mile 18.

This was beyond a runner’s high. This was a transformation.

The disabled war veterans competing, the hundreds of marines lining the fuel stations, the race course and greeting all at the finish line with a medal was humbling and inspirational. Gratitude doesn’t quite capture what I feel for all servicemen and servicewomen.

This race was a test for me. A test of my mental capacity and ability to push through. I needed to do this. I needed to get to the other side. And the relative ease in which I accomplished this feat, was exhilarating. More than a race, it was a marker for me of where I am beyond any physical measure.

Running and completing a marathon requires dedication, commitment, perseverance, flexibility, desire. Running in the Marine Corps Marathon requires all of it…but then humbles you in a way that is uplifting and motivational.

Well, I think I just might be a runner!

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Some days

Some days I just want to cry

and some days, I just do

Some days I roll all the windows down in the car and sing loudly to the music playing on the radio

and some days, I hide behind my sunglasses and retreat into my head

Some days I run with strength and energy and confidence

and some days, I feel like my legs are made of stone

Some days I feel so clear, so ready for the future

and some days, I am so scared and confused

Some days I look out the window and smile

and some days, I wipe the tears feeling overwhelmed

Some days I feel so accomplished at work

and some days, I feel like my brain is useless

Some days I hold my breath waiting for something good

and some days, I hold my breath fearing something bad

Some days I can’t help but feel happy

and some days, I am filled with anger

Some days I long for what was

and some days, I long for what will be

Some days, I am reminded of all that is positive

and some days, I am faced with only negative

It will all balance, it will all be right, it will all be okay

Someday

Steps

Are you overcome with joy? With anger? With guilt? Resentment? Happiness? Anxiety? Panic? Contentment? Gratitude? What is it that holds you so tightly? Is it strangling your very being or is it giving you much needed breath? Does it enable you to grow or does it stifle your dreams? Does it look you in the face and lie or does it hold truth in all its spoken and unspoken words?

On the contrary, maybe you have overcome hurt, pain, illness. Maybe you have overcome a life full of shadows, emptiness, and dead-ends. Maybe you have overcome being weak. Maybe you have softened the hard edges of your untrusting self. But maybe you are still waiting to overcome that day when your knees buckled beneath you.

All of the emotions are a kaleidoscope creating colors so bright that some offend your very eyes while others offer a soothing break. With each emotion know you are taking steps. Steps. Some may be forward and some backward. But it’s movement. And such is better than standing still.

Messages

I once wrote about wishing I could go forward in time to see my boys okay – as a way of giving me peace today. Having a knowledge that in the end, it will all be okay. Lately, I have been having discussions with T, in response to his observations about his father, about life really and people. Truthfully, I have found it somewhat difficult walking a fine line between speaking negatively about his father’s actions/words and providing some clarification and lessons. As T gets older and starts to understand more I’d like to be able to offer positive words to ignite a knowingness in T that he does not have to follow his father’s path. And I speak specifically of T simply because of his recent conversations with me, but hope D hears me as well. At the moment D is muddled in between being a 17 year old, stubborn, on-the-verge-of-fleeing-the-nest-but-keeping-one-foot-cautiously-in-the-door, defiant, and yet loving and happy young man. He knows his father, but he so desperately wants his father – on the surface I don’t think D is even aware of this feeling – consciously anyway. I, as his mom, am left in a challenging corner that I have been arduously working to maneuver. Which leads me to the purpose of this post. There have been so many messages I have hoped my boys receive from me and understand and keep with them as they grow.

  1. Always hold the door open for others – not just women, but everyone. A small gesture of kindness truly can spark a light of hope in someone’s day.
  2. Be unselfish in your life. The world is bigger than you and I. Know when you do for others, you actually benefit just as much.
  3. But..remember to take care of your self. When you grow your being in a positive light, when you feed your own soul, when you treat your mind, body, and spirit as the temple it is, you will evoke happy energy.
  4. Your past does not define your future. Every single day you have a choice.
  5. Exercise. It not only strengthens your muscles, it strengthens your mind.
  6. Volunteer. Give to charity. Make a difference. And don’t forget the Starfish Story.
  7. Respect your partner. Take a deep breath and please think before you speak. Words can’t be taken back. YOU own your actions and your words.
  8. Family. Don’t ever give up on family.
  9. Truth. In your life, be truth. Speak it, show it, and model it.
  10. Be kind. Remember you have no idea what someone has gone through, what they have endured or experienced.
  11. Don’t forget to respect others and yourself. We are all human beings existing in a shared space.
  12. Don’t get caught up in the small details so much so that you lose sight of the bigger picture.
  13. Someday if you have you own children, relish in each moment, every stage of their life, plant seeds of confidence, and self-worth, and love in their hearts with your words and your actions.
  14. Go to bed every night saying “Good Night, I love You” to at least one person.

I am sure I could add more to this list and maybe someday I will. But know my beautiful boys, I love you with all my heart. Everything I am and everything I do, is because of both of you. You are my heart. You are my soul. You are my breath. Please forgive me for the mistakes I have made as your mom, but know I have tried and will always try to do and be my best for you. You are my reason.

Here

drifting in and out

seeing, only briefly

feeling, minutes

there’s hope..look

it passes by

i reach, but too late

or maybe it was just a shadow

the pain festers

it holds tight..and maybe it needs to

the salty ocean in my eyes

creates waves down my face

and my breath, i catch it sometimes

it helps to plant my feet..on the cold ground

and the dreams, the dreams mock me

i wish

for not too much right?

i hold a present, of love

and it sits waiting, waiting for you

to open

my heart patiently beats

while my lungs hold so much air

and my body tightens

that open field?

yes, that one

please meet me there

Changing

 

I read an article a few days ago offering advice to respond to situations in a new light. Change old habits of impulse reactions, particularly ones that involve anger, negativity, resentment. Note the usual reaction, stop, and try a new way. Changing thought patterns. Clearing a new path. I like it. I like the suggestion. It feels, I don’t know, hopeful? I actually  practiced it the other night. As I lay thinking about a friend who has hurt me on so many levels, I found my anger rising, my body tightening, and then….I stopped. I acknowledged this almost habitual response and decided to consciously process my response differently. In a more constructive or at least less negative-feeling way. What I have noticed is when I start to feel this anger and hurt, it snowballs. My body and mind pay the price. So in this moment I took a deep breath, placed one hand on my stomach, my center, and one hand on my heart and I let it go. Did it make it hurt any less? Not so much. But what it provided was a place where that hurt could no longer control and weaken me. It was a safe haven of sorts. And I did’t have to physically go anywhere.

It is all here – within me.

Breathe

” There will be dozens of people who will take your breath away but the one who reminds you to breathe is the one you should keep.”

-original author unknown