where courage lives

It has been said that we learn from our experiences in life, but I think it is more accurate to say that we learn from the experiences we choose to learn from.

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Our mistakes, our regrets and our injuries, are our greatest teachers — if we let them be.

If we are open to seeing what they have to show us, to owning our part in where our journey has taken us, to allowing the failures and the pain to help us grow.

A lot of us avoid it, because it hurts to open ourselves up to that.

But I think the same lessons keep showing up in our lives, in one way or another, until we finally surrender to them. They crack us open a little, maybe eventually they even break us.

I have felt that way. Broken. Shattered and unsure how to put myself back together.

For a long time, I thought the years that I chased my running dreams to qualify for Boston and beyond were the years that revealed to me my toughest, strongest and bravest self. That those years and accomplishments would be the things I would be most proud of as an athlete and really even as a person. It was hard work. I had to be disciplined with my workouts and with my diet. After having my third baby, I pushed myself to my limits and well passed them with my running. I wanted to know how far I could go, how strong I could be, how fast I could run. I wanted to show myself, and everyone else, that a mom of three in her late 30s who ran her first marathon in almost 6 hours could qualify for Boston, could win races, could become a competitive endurance athlete. And I did.

And maybe all of that was brave.

But it wasn’t the bravest thing.

It wasn’t the strongest thing.

And it sure isn’t what I am most proud of as a runner.

In some ways, I see it now as a pretty weak and cowardly time in my life. I had tunnel vision and I went to extremes to accomplish those goals because I really didn’t know of another way, and because it seemed to be working.

I no longer think of extremes as where courage lives. I think it takes a whole lot more bravery and self discipline for me, and probably for many of us in this sport, to choose moderation. That is what inspires me.

I’m discovering that my best self, my bravest and my strongest self, doesn’t involve being “all in” or “all out.” I have found that I can do those extremes very well, but so much is lost when I go there. I am not being completely true to who I am and to all that matters to me when I go there. I miss out on the real depth of my life when I stay on the edges.

Just like the deepest parts of the ocean aren’t on the shores, I think that the same is true for our hearts.

So that is where I am choosing to go now. Into the middle. No more extremes. No more staying on the edges of my shores.

Because that is where I am my most brave. Where I feel my strongest.

And that is where I am most proud.

12 thoughts on “where courage lives

  1. I love this. It is so easy to get lost in performance that we lose aspects of running such as joy. I know I certainly have.

  2. Beautifully written. We all walk a journey and as we age and mature the optic changes- the desires change- the goals change. Me as a mom at 36 is not the mom I am at 53 when an empty nest looms, however, I have always been true to keeping fit and healthy and now this is rubbing off on my 29, 24, 21 & 18 year old children😊 After 1.5 years of training and learning I am now a certified Les Mills Bodypump instructor- a goal I went for. Stay the middle coarse – find those goals that jazz you, love your family ( they will love you forever) life is precious- enjoy it- as the motto of Onelife Fitness (where I coach Bodypump) You have one life- don’t do it alone😊

    • oh allison i love your story and your perspective! you are such an inspiration to me. so happy you followed that dream and i am sure you are an incredible teacher! wish i could come take one of your classes 🙂 thank you for your comment! xxoo

  3. I’ve been in the middle for a long time and wasn’t exactly sure how to express my feelings about it and now you have done it and done it in a way that feels like a weight has been lifted. Courage IS staying in the middle, and yet we as a society praise, follow and “like” the edges and that can make staying in the center even more challenging. You have such a gift with words. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    • thank you so much for your comment, lisa. i have been thinking a lot about this, and about how moderation just isn’t “cool” in our world. you are so right – unhealthy obsessions and taking things to extremes are what get praise and attention most often – on social media and kind of everywhere we look it seems. and i think it causes many people to feel that in order to be successful or “liked” they need to follow that same path of extremes, too. i want to dispell this because i think in the end it is a myth! maybe short term we can have success when we go to extremes, but it catches up or if not it is at a very high price of anxiety and losing out on other rich aspects of life. i don’t know … lots of thoughts here. anyway thank you for your comment and for sharing! maybe together we can start making moderation something more will feel proud to share and practice!! xxoo hugs to you my friend!!

    • thank you so much, amanda! i think you were wise to recognize that it was stealing your joy. you continually inspire me! hope we can have another adventure together some day xxxxoooo

  4. Pingback: High Five Friday – In Makati

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