did you ever have one of those days where everything just felt off?
where you just want to go home and crawl back under the covers and shut the world out?
where almost nothing you do can get you out of your head and back in the present moment?
it’s interesting to me because my two favorite fitness activities, running and yoga, help me in such drastically different ways to deal with these types of days on the mental and emotional level. running helps me to think clearly about what is going on in my life, to sort through problems or issues…to better see the possible solutions. yoga helps me to clear out the noise completely and not think about anything. to escape. to just turn myself over to someone else for 90 minutes to find complete peace and silence.
i’ve been working really hard over the past few years on ‘me’….whatever that means, right? without going into the long, boring details, self-improvement is always a goal…both mind and body. but it’s one of those goals that i can never really accomplish because there is always going to be something i can do to improve. regardless, i feel like i’ve come a really long way. but there are still days where i feel like i’ve lived a good part of my life in a bubble.
sheltered. protected. safe.
these seem like ok words, right? i mean, feeling like you always have a home… a place and people that help make you feel secure and whole…who doesn’t want that in their lives??? i’m lucky. i’ve never wanted for anything. i have a great family. beautiful friends. i really can’t complain.
it’s just that lately i’ve been thinking that that ‘bubble’ that was present in my life for so long was perhaps more restrictive than it was protective. ‘protected and safe’ can be interpreted (and have been for me at least) as ‘guarded and cold or naive’ by others. it wasn’t until i started breaking that bubble, opening myself up to others and truly began chipping away at my walls that i really began to learn some true life lessons. thought i’d share…with the caveat that none of them are really earth shattering- lol 😉 they aren’t really ‘news’ to anyone. but i guess i didn’t really (really) understand them until i was going through them on my own.
- get by with a little help from your friends. the stubborn introvert in me often shies away from activities with people i don’t know very well or from difficult conversations. i’ve been that way since i was a little girl and this is STILL the thing i probably struggle with the most to change. ‘i can do it myself’…’i don’t want to bother you with my problems’…’i can’t show you how i really feel…my hurt/pain/what have you’. but any goal that’s bigger than you will require help. some of the best runs i’ve had have been with a fantastic group of women i met through my gym. we would chat and laugh and create games for ourselves to help make the run fly by. their company and encouragement made many a ten-mile run feel like a walk in the park (looking at you Natalie, Ali, Danielle, Brittany, Ang…). never underestimate your support system. they are there to both help and challenge you. to open your eyes to the world outside of your bubble.
- if you want to get better, pain is unavoidable. don’t shy away from it. i don’t really know anyone who has never been hurt in their life. pain is generated by loss. a loss of confidence, loss of affection, loss of hope. every time you experience a big disappointment, you’re losing a dream (in a way). and it hurts. but, losing parts of ourselves is natural. it’s how we grow. we lose our ignorance and become knowledgeable. we lose our inhibitions and become free. every time we lose something, we’re forced to put something in its place. create something new. become someone new. you grow faster when you have all that work to do. fill in the gaps. be there. do things.
- break the bubble. take a chance and everything can change. eight years ago, this girl who’s soccer coaches used to call “slo-mo” took one small step and signed up for her first distance race. i ‘became a runner’, and it encouraged me to seek out more new and unique opportunities to grow and expand myself. it’s kind of like being Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, i had the power all along to change my circumstances…i just didn’t realize it.
- people who do things better than you are your teachers, not your competition. it’s not an exaggeration to say that a teacher can change your life. i’ve learned so much from people that i might not have initially ‘connected’ with…mostly because i was constantly comparing myself to them. that’s no way to live. compare yourself…sure…but not to beat yourself up over what you’re doing ‘wrong’ and how they are ‘better than you’….compare to inspire you. to guide you. to motivate you. competition is a part of life- but let it be a healthy part of yours. let it be the kind that lets you feel like you earned your successes and learned from your ‘failures’.
- follow your heart, but don’t forget to take your brain with you. ‘follow your heart’ or ‘follow your gut’…perhaps cliched…but if you’re like me, you may have found at some point in your life that following what you thought was your heart got you into trouble. your mind can easily confuse an emotional pull for heart intuition, and we follow that temptation instead. i often thought i was following my heart (my ‘gut’) only to discover i was really just following my desire. i was missing other pieces of information by doing so. the heart tends to speak to us quietly and with common sense. the mind tends to rationalize or make excuses for our desires and reactions. in my opinion you kind of need both. follow your heart, yes. but be smart about it. things are always going to happen that may seem unfair or unkind and cause painful feelings, but i choose how i’m going to handle my emotions. i choose. and my choices (for myself) make all the difference.
so yeah. i’m still working my way out of the bubble. but it feels good.