"What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives? What if the whole world shifted from the undisciplined pursuit of more to the disciplined pursuit of less, only better?
I have a vision of people everywhere having the courage to live a life true to themselves instead of life others expect of them"
- George McKeown, Essentialism
A field day for your mind, body and soul. Community instead of competition. Running my first mindful 5k with a mindful mind set. Sounds easy right?
Well for me, the one with the high competitive edge at all times, it proved to be quite difficult. The funny thing behind it was that I was actually excited at the idea leading up.
I immediately thought how easy, nice and awesome it would be.
I can walk, I can lightly jog, I can stop and take photos, listen to my body, zone out on my thoughts, etc. Just do my thing and cross the finish line at some point. Well, ever heard the term “easier said then done? “ That was me, as I started making my way to the starting line for the pre-race stretch.
A large amount of people had already gathered by the time I got there...a much larger group than I was expecting so I was near the middle-back of the crowd.
Then I felt myself start inching towards the starting line.
A stretch here or there and then I would move through a few people, stretch, move through, stretch, etc. Until I realized what am I doing? It doesn’t matter where in the line I am because it doesn’t matter when I cross the finish line, just as long as I enjoy the journey to get there.
The crowd jittered and twitched waiting to begin their beautiful field day…finally MC Yogi announced that we were off! Slowly the crowd made it through the “Wanderlust” wooden arch and into the streets of Tampa, FL. As with any run/walk, it is a bit of a game to get through the crowds and find your pace.
A constant game of dodging others or being dodged.
As I got into my rhythm, I felt really good. I started putting my legs to the test, feeling the adrenaline blasting through me. I was in the zone, ready to run and get ahead of the next person ahead of me…and then the next and then the next…then up behind me came a woman with a fast and strong pace. I decided I would follow her.
“Wow, it is a hot one today.” I was already sweating but feeling great as I continued to push myself. I notice some small “wanderlust” signage up ahead.
-This competition is not to beat each other- (sign 1)
-But to be with one another- (sign 2)
That was not the exact verbiage but you get the jist… And So. Did. I.
I had done it again. I let my competitive mindset take over and totally forgot my intention for the day.
As some say a sign is not a sign until it is a sign.
Well I saw my sign – literally.
“SLOW DOWN, RELAX. This is not a race but a run to be with those around you.”
Suddenly, I noticed all the beautiful people around me. Of all shapes, sizes, races, and ages. Wow, this is great. So I slowed down, took my time, enjoyed the scenery and started paying attention to how my body felt vs. what my ego wanted my body to do.
“My breath is heavy. Really heavy. Wow my sports bar is making it hard to breathe. Damn my thighs are rubbing together…I will make sure to barely eat anything on Monday & Tuesday. My feet are getting blisters…ow my feet hurt. There goes my left calf….geez this is painful. Ah a twitch in my back…so much sweat.”
And so you have it when I wasn’t focusing on beating the person ahead of me, I got sucked into the more negative or obvious aspects of my thoughts.
“If I could only quiet my mind…well at least I’m not thinking about work, that’s a plus.”
The difference I slowly realized was that I can walk if I want to. And in every other race I’ve ever run I could have walked then to. This is my run, my pace, my life.
So I slowed down....but not for long until my competitive mindset took over and then I tried to quiet it but to which I then zoned in everything that didn’t feel right.
And so it went like that until I turned my thoughts to my music and running to the beat, listening to my breath. Before I knew it I was done.
“Hello wooden arch, nice to see you again!”
I completed my first mindful 5k. Well, I attempted to at least. Who would have thought that would have been so much more mentally challenging than anticipated?
And what did this exact situation remind me of…my first time attempting meditation. Ha! Funny coincidence? I think not.
And yes, I did participate and truly participate in a complete meditation later that afternoon.
Life always has a way of smiling back and laughing with us. And what should we do? Smile right along with it.
Namaste my friends,
Ps. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in this event, PLEASE DO.
It was one of the cooler things I’ve done.
Run. Dance. Yoga. Meditate. Music. Good Vibes. www.wanderlust.com
Beautiful crowd hands photo at the top is from the Instragram: @bridgeandbloom
Music: Petit Biscuit: Sunset Lover
Check out: MC Yogi & Sol Rising if you’re not already familiar
The last time I posted, I was taking off to a new part of the world. A part of the world that brought more actualization and a calming security to my life than I can describe. I will share my journey in the "Travels" section in just a few days.
However, something special happened this afternoon and its not the first special moment that has happened this year. But it was a moment that I came to terms with the day prior but only truly realized that the decision belonged to me (and solely me) this afternoon.
One of the greatest parts of life is when you inspire someone without the intention of inspiring them. Life can be pretty humorously sweet sometimes can’t it?
To have your own mom (who I will always look up to and love more than life itself) tell you that your younger brother called you his “role model and hopes to love a girl with your same values and outlook on life one day,” is probably one of the most fulfilling feelings in the world.
It was one of the proudest moments of my life so far. Like a proud mama bear watching her young take on the world. The serendipitous part of the story was the day, time and current state of my own life in which I learned this news.
We aren’t always able to give a reason to everything but we can shout out a huge THANK YOU after the fact.
It’s a beautiful feeling to think that while I am figuring out my own life (spoiler alert: I still have a long way to go), I am also unconsciously inspiring someone around me. My own “learned” words, actions and philosophies on living an amazing life, inspired someone else’s life. And not just anyone, but the one in my life to which it is my duty to lead and guide through life; my younger brother.
Taking the situation one step further, is identifying the circumstance of the situation. For this information came into my life during a time when I was experiencing my own self-doubt. Now that is what I like to call cause and effect, serendipity, love and just living a fluid life.
Being true myself, digging deep and trying to understand what tugs at my heart vs. what sends me down a dark spiraling hole in life, was a process that my younger brother was watching and taking notes on. It left him feeling inspired with the notion to push forward and strive for the things he wants in life. And in return his acceptance and acknowledgement turned right back around and pushed me forward; bringing immense clarity to a moment in life that I was deeply struggling with. That is what I like to call a spiritual win- win.
And no I don’t think Stephen Covey talked about “spiritual win-wins” in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but I do believe they exist.
What is even more special about this win-win situation was that the situation occurred without either person trying to make it occur. It simply happened.
The beauty of life will forever be enchanting and a constant lesson and revelation. Once you can welcome the unexpected, have faith in the people, reasons, seasons and circumstances in life; you too can breath and move further down the road your soul is meant to find. The greater gift is that your adventure is in return, inspiring and bringing light to those around you…making the world a better place.
And at the end of it all, remember to stay grateful and shout THANK YOU out into the world around you.
We all get so caught up in our day-to-day routines, actions and mindsets that we often forget to appreciate all the beauty in life around us. I fall victim to it all the time, we all do – we are human after all. We hit snooze 4 times to then rush out of bed, rush through our morning routine, rush to get our coffee and wait not so patiently for that jolt of caffeine to finally take over the brain. Then we rush through traffic and through the door of the workplace to then dedicate the next 8 hours to the needs of a hundred other people. Topping it off with rushing back home to repeat it again the next day and the day after that one too. That can’t be the purpose of living life is it?
Letting your most “peaceful” time of day be the extra 30 minutes that you hit snooze every 5 minutes until you finally pull yourself out of bed? Whatever happened to the gratitude for yourself and the life around you? The appreciation that you are an able bodied person who is able to rise freely from your bed for a job that allows you to meet the basic necessities? That’s right, in the midst of the all the pain and energy that it takes to rise from bed, did you ever consider that you are already more fortunate than some people on our planet? That the fact that you are already so fortunate because you are able to wake up, get out of bed on your own, with a purpose? When you look at it that way maybe getting up out of bed isn’t so bad after all. Do you really want to set the intention that you would rather be a sleeping body than someone capable of celebrating life?
Instead of wallowing in the small pitfalls of life or the times of “struggle,” instead try to remember how fortunate you truly are. You have to wake up because you have a job. Some people will never experience that in their entire lifetime. We can’t always justify our lives and sometimes we are dealt a hand of cards that we may not agree with. However, if you embrace what you have and find gratitude for the smallest amount that you have been given; you will not only begin to live a life of happiness (in whatever form that may be) but you will begin to slowly radiate that joy out into the world. If we were all able to use our time and gifts in positive ways, we have the power to make the world a better place. As Rumi once said, “what you seek is seeking you.”
So here is a challenge for each and every one of you today, do something good for someone else as a token of gratitude for the life that you have been given. Not only will you transform someone else’s day (even if it is just for 1 minute, that is still 1 minute of love that may not have existed otherwise), but you will transform your own day because nothing feels better than knowing that you made someone else smile. It’s fun! And after a while it can actually be addicting and the unexpected gifts and positive moments that follow are the most unexpected and beautiful times of all. The power of positivity works, I promise.
For those of you who don’t believe or feel lost or don’t know how to introduce the sense of “fluid moment” into life, take a moment to follow my Tuesday morning (after all you’ve already read this far).
I woke up to a “freezing cold” bedroom because believe it or not the temperatures in Florida have actually dropped into the 40s. However, upon laying in bed snuggled under the covers, debating on getting out, I realized this time last year I was training to run a half-marathon in the dead of the New York winter. I was out running in the early morning darkness in temperatures far colder than a minor 40 degrees. And on top of that I have my adorable dog laying curled up beside me and my best friend getting ready to start her day in the room next to mine. I’m actually pretty lucky right? So we get up to go for a morning walk, and lucky for us we were some of the only folks on the street and were able to catch the last glimpses of the beautiful starry sky above us. There is something about staring up at the vast, dark, twinkling sky that gives off that endless sense of hope. We continue on through our morning routine and head into the car for our 45 minute commute into work.
The commute consisted of a beautiful sunrise, paired with the wise words of Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons. Nothing energizes my spirit more than watching the sun break through the clouds and slowly engulf the darkness above. I was feeling inspired and my mind began to turn with new ideas, the excitement of tackling my to-do list and the energy for life and how fortunate I am to be back working in an industry that speaks so closely to my heart. Not too mention an organization that has already changed my life in the most unexpected and beautiful ways. (Stay tuned for my 2015 recap, life is absolutely amazing).
I pulled off the road to go to my drive-thru Starbucks and grab my morning cup of coffee. Please note this is a habit I have been trying to break for the past 2 months, something I realistically should not be spending the extra $3 a day on, yet it also makes me happy. And you have to ask yourself, if it makes you happy and it is my choice to partake in the activity is it really all that bad? You have to feed your soul somehow right?
Today was a different day for me at Starbucks because I decided to buy the person’s coffee who was behind me in line. Keep in mind this is a drive-thru so I had no idea what they ordered, who they were, etc. Before I told the woman at the window that I wanted to pick up the tab for the person behind me, I suddenly got so tickled at the thought of how that person would react upon knowing that a stranger bought their coffee. It would change their morning! I could almost feel that level of surprise, a bubbling of the heart, and the smile that would take over them internally and externally. However, what happened next was something I could not have predicted. Upon telling the Starbucks barista that I wanted to pick up the tab for the car behind me, I watched a euphoric grin take over her face. A genuine smile came out, the 20 empty cups behind her disappeared, the beeping oven went silent, the hustle and bustle of the morning was completely gone. You would have thought I had given her a gift. And in exchange, I unknowingly gave her the gift of hope, happiness and good in the world.
That my friends is the magic of life.
The way one event leads to the next, the beauty of the unexpected and the force of cause and effect.
I took it upon myself to cheer up the morning of one person, in return for my current state of life. Instead my one act ended up changing the morning of two completely different people, and I can only hope that the ripple effect continued on after that. Maybe the barista went on to do something for someone that day, maybe the car behind me ended up picking up the tab for the car behind them and so forth. Who knows how many people might have received an unexpected gift of love this morning.
And it doesn’t matter for the number of souls touched is insignificant. What is significant is that if we will take a moment to pause, enjoy our current state of being and use our time (that we are so fortunate to have) productively, we can all make this world a better place.
So I challenge you today to place happiness and love into someone else’s life. It can be someone near to your heart, a stranger, an enemy, it doesn’t matter who it is. Whether you do something like giving them a monetary gift, a smile, a “have a great day,” or the squeeze of a hand; you have impacted someone else’s life. The magic behind it all is that sometimes we don’t know how much the smallest gesture can impact one’s current life or state of being. And we aren’t meant to know, for it is performing an act of greatness from the bottom of our hearts, expecting the unexpected that creates the fluid moment of our lives.
Never forget to say “Thank You” and may something wonderful happen to you today.
Author: Britt Olson
Working to love my soul more and more with every day that passes. Incorporating mindful intention, gratitude, and a relationship with the Universe and Mother Nature's healing properties.