There are only five more sleeps until I run my first marathon and I am starting to think that this adventure might take the cake in the ‘in over my head‘ category. In fact I noticed today that whenever the topic came up, my tendency was to make very unsure comments about my ability to even complete the race, let alone cross the finish line in one piece.
So what is this all about?
I guess I could easily blame my negative thoughts on my lack of training, which could be blamed on all the things that keep me busy; or I could say that these thoughts are caused by other people’s reaction when I tell them what I am doing this weekend, “that’s crazy…I can’t even run 3 km, let alone 42;” or I could blame all the negativity on simple garden variety doubt because I have never run a marathon before, so how do I know I can?
In reality, this all stems from fear. Fear that my body isn’t strong enough to support me through this, fear that my time to complete will be hopelessly embarrassing; and at the root of all that, a simple fear that I am not good enough to do this. Silly, right?
The good news is tonight, during a very gentle yoga class and an amazing breathing exercise; that I will share another day, I resolved to battle my fear by focusing on my greatest source of comfort and peace; gratitude. Specifically, gratitude for my body and all the things it can do and carry me through. The yoga teacher stated it as an eloquent intention for our practice;
Tonight I want you to focus on the pleasure you experience from movement.
It is a simple, but subtle shift that we can all make. We may not love and appreciate all the physical attributes of our bodies, but few people can deny that our bodies are miraculous organisms that allow us so much freedom and so many experiences that we often take for granted. Our bodies walk, talk, hear, hug, swim, hike, bike, and pleasure. They cool us, warm us, sense danger, comfort others, play games, pet animals, listen to others, build things, breathe, and of course, run. Now these are worth appreciating.
While you may never have felt the desire to take on such a challenging physical goal, I am sure you have agreed to participate in something and then wondered, ‘why the hell did I sign up for this?’ Of course you have, which is why I wanted to share this experience with you. In case you are also facing a situation where you are afraid that you can’t see something through. It might not be a physical venture, but perhaps you have a difficult decision you need to make, a tough presentation to deliver at work, an uncomfortable conversation with a loved one, or a social engagement you aren’t sure you will survive. Regardless of the situation, I know you can have the same shift in your perspective by doing two simple things.
First, take a moment and look for something in the process or experience that you can be grateful for and second, draw your attention and focus to your gratitude each time you become aware of the fearful thoughts.
You may need to affirm it to yourself a few times before it feels true or you could try writing it down and posting it somewhere that you will see it often. However you choose to shift your attention, I promise that if you appreciate even one element of the process or a potential positive outcome that could bring you more joy, it will shift your feelings from fear to love. The only thing you have to lose by trying is your fear.
As for the marathon; it may take me longer than I like and I know it will be challenging, but I am determined to love and appreciate every kilometer these legs will take me.
With love and gratitude,
PS – If you want to follow my marathong journey on Sunday I will do my best to tweet along the way. You can find me on twitter @prettynewshoes
Use the comment section below to share any shifts you make with your fearful thoughts. What did you find in your experience to be grateful for?