It was cold.
It was early.
If you’d asked me twelve months ago if I thought I could do this, I would have laughed.
As we walked, our breath froze in the air before us. (Did I mention it was cold?)
Yet there I was striding along all geared up, trusty pup and kind friend ambling alongside. My heart was racing as my bladder nudged me for one more trip to the loo. Maybe I should find a tissue in case my nose started running…
Then it was time.
Yesterday was a big day. I did something I was convinced I couldn’t do. And I felt like Wonder Woman because I NAILED IT. WE nailed it.
For the first time in 15 years I laced up my trainers and ran 5km. All the way to the end. And I didn’t die from the exertion.
You may be a runner, so 5km may be a warm-up to you, in which case I salute you deeply. But in these parts running 5km without stopping or dying or even complaining is a B-I-G deal! I’m so tickled that I may stay this shade of pink for a while.
I won’t lie: it’s been a heck of a journey to get here. The actual running wasn’t the toughest part. Want to know what was? Getting over, around and through my own mental crap about what I could and should and couldn’t do.
A brief sampling of the (completely bogus) reasons I couldn’t run anymore (like I had briefly done in my 20s):
- My husband was away a lot, so I couldn’t train when the girls were at home;
- I had to cook dinner;
- I should be working;
- The house was a mess: I should clean up the boxes that had been there for years;
- I was too out of shape;
- My heart rate went too high;
- Any time I had to exercise should be spent in the gym, where I was paying for a membership;
- My asthma might kick up again; and mostly this…
- I was so ashamed of being SO out of shape.
Last November something clicked, and I downloaded the Couch to 5K app. It’s supposed to get you running 5km in nine weeks. HA!! In my world of excuses and busy-ness and occasional illness it took a year of on-again, off-again running to get there.
But yesterday did it. I busted through a whole bunch of nasty mental barriers about what’s possible. And I can’t wait to do it again with my friend next Saturday when we join tens of thousands of people to run for the sheer joy of it.
What do you think is impossible? Why do you think that? What are those nasty mental gremlins telling you about your abilities and power? What if they were wrong?
I’d love to know. Tell me in the comments box below and let’s slay those mental gremlins.
Here’s to you lacing up (or whatever floats your boat) and DOING the things you dream of.
It really does feel amazing.
She looked up from the page, blinking away unexpected tears.
There it was.
The cracking open.
Naomi* had just caught a glimpse of herself and it took her breath away.
You see, Naomi pours her soul into raising her twins. She does everything to keep her family healthy, happy and fulfilled. She juggles work and home and relationships and duty. She navigates social expectations, cultural norms and all the unspoken (and spoken) “shoulds.”
She pours every iota of her mental, physical and emotional energy into her family, slotting in the rest whenever she can. To the outside world it looks like she’s ok.
Hell, Naomi looks like Super Woman.
Except inside? In her real being? She’s exhausted.
And in that moment, gazing at the sketch she’d made of her family, she realised she’d left out the most important person of all: herself.
It happens every time. Whenever exquisite, intelligent, motivated mamas meet and share vulnerably from the heart, they realise that somewhere along their mothering journey they’ve lost themselves.
Back to Naomi. That day I’d asked her and a group of mamas to place themselves, each of their children, their partner, work, parents, friends, pets and hobbies on a page covered by a big bull’s-eye. The aim was to see what was in the centre of their lives and – most importantly – where they placed themselves.
Without fail, they were somewhere outside the middle. Usually WAY outside the middle. And Naomi, like the other mamas around her, was stunned to realise just how far down her priority list she – and her needs – had fallen.
When the tears come (and they do for all of us), they offer sweet release. Recognition that something precious is being neglected and a deep knowing that it’s not right.
That to survive (never mind thrive) we must unapologetically reclaim time and space for our wants, needs, dreams and desires. Not instead of our family’s needs, dreams and desires, but alongside them.
It’s vital that we get a piece of the pie too. Not just the crumbs at the bottom of the plate when everyone’s been served, or the last bite little Jana didn’t finish (that we eat even though she has a giant cold and it’s full of germs).
A big, juicy, delicious piece of the pie. Guilt-free, comment-free and with no strings attached.
That cracking open moment is so important. It clears the way for reclaiming yourself as a whole woman and gently shifts family dynamics to a healthier space. Because you’re starting to deeply, lovingly care for yourself.
Want to give it a try? Here’s one thing you can do to start the process of (gently) cracking open:
- On a blank piece of paper, draw four or five concentric circles.
- Then place your kids, partner, job, parents, siblings, friends, pets, hobbies and self on the circular map (no editing or judging yourself.)
- Close your eyes, put down your pen and take a deep breath.
- Look at where you placed each person or aspect of your life. How do you feel about that? Where do you rank? Do you want any of that to change?
- Finally, write one tiny thing that you will do to bring yourself closer to the middle, and tell me in the comments below. If you don’t want to share publicly, email me at email@example.com to chat about it! I’d love to hear from you.
If you’d like to go deeper with me as your guide you can book a one-hour “Nurture Session” and we’ll spend an hour talking about YOU and one situation you’d like to shift in your life. You’ll walk away with straight-forward steps you can start to take to get things moving in the right direction.
If you’d like to uncover even more and are craving being seen as the whole, beautiful person you are, book a “See You Session” in which I’ll get to know you and your beautiful inner world. After our 90-minute call I’ll send you a written portrait of the gorgeous woman I see, as well as personalised affirmations you can repeat for yourself and a guide to creating easy rituals to support your transformation.
I’d love to guide you through the magic of cracking open. Get in touch if you’d like to chat. And in the meantime, have a beautiful day.
PS: If you liked this blog post, please comment below or write to me via email here. I’d love to hear from you!
PPS: If you’re wondering about the image… I am too!! I wanted to include the most amazing image of the most breathtaking art that says ALL of this in one glorious sculpture, but I’m still waiting for the artist’s ok. In the meantime, you can see it here. It’s called Expansion, and you can see her here. Meanwhile, enjoy this gorgeous locally-made delicious heart-bread. We all need nourishing, right? MamaFuel at its best.
*names and identifying details have been changed