Thursday, December 22, 2011

Drinking the passion-flavored kool aid (or why I am going to work for Back on My Feet)

“If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived?  Find your passion, whatever it may be.  Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you, BECAUSE of you”
T.  Alan Armstrong

Ten years ago I found myself living on the adrenaline of chaos.   The musician/teacher me who found energy by making learning fun had hit the road, and was replaced by the drained and weary “mommy me”.  My conversations with friends focused on poop, puke, sleeplessness and tears; fun stuff.  I lost all sense of self by pouring every ounce of energy that I had into my 20 month old and new baby. 

Your life changes when you find your passion.  At first running was a way to lose weight and escape from Babyville, but it soon became my meditation and healing.  I got faster, ran farther and became fearless.  I was hanging out with strong and confident people, and soon I was drinking that Kool-aid.   It was after my first 100 mile race that I learned about Anne Mahlum of Back on My Feet.

 I was approached with the idea of having a few residents of The Bridge; a local homeless shelter, join the Run On! classes.  I must admit that at first I was skeptical, but feeling invincible after  breaking 24 hours at Rocky Raccoon 100, I agreed.  I certainly did not realize at the time that the universe was offering up another gift to me. 

My heart was opened from the very first “fitting day”.  The team members trained for 6 weeks, and when we all crossed the 5K finish line with big, goofy smiles on our faces, I knew that we needed Back on my Feet in Dallas.  A year and a half later, I found myself circled up at Main Street Park for the first mile run of BOMF-DFW. 

Back on My Feet gives hugs, not handouts.  We work as a team and community to support, love, and help each other.  We are strong and confident people, changing perceptions and building trusting relationships.   

I joined Back on My Feet to share my love for running, but found what my spirit yearns for most is to love people-all different kinds of people.    I am so thankful that running has taken me where I needed to be most.  I’m not getting faster, or running farther…but I’ve found a life changing passion. 
Are you ready to drink the Kool-aid? 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

“I just want to feel today, feel today, feel today
I just want to feel something today.
I just want to know the day, know the day, know the day,
Know maybe that I will be ok.”
Ingrid Michaelson

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run mindlessly around White Rock Lake, paying more attention to my Garmin or the mileage I've covered than the actual charm of the lake itself.
Today I chose to be an observer. 

The run started off like any other, I started my watch and headed counterclockwise from the boathouse to “loop the lake” for an easy training run, but as my legs grew heavy only 30 minutes into the run, I turned off my watch and as Sonia Choquette says, decided to “pay attention to what’s in front of me, and live life on its deepest level”. 

I stopped at the shaky bridge, and was mesmerized as I stared at the water falling from the spillway.  In the distance, white pelicans with black tipped wings scattered across the still, glassy lake.
I stopped at a short pier near Winfrey point where “let love find you” was written in perfect cursive with white chalk.  The fishermen lamented that they had only caught one catfish, but we agreed that the outside temperature was perfect.   Cyclists rode by rhythmically and assertively, with stoic faces. 
Lake Highlands Drive is dappled with quirky cottages, glass castles and classic colonial homes, and the path from there took me through tall trees with fat-cheeked squirrels hiding in the tree trunks.  Very few people visited the lake today; mostly white haired retirees bundled up with scarves and caps.  The dog park was empty, and the runners were few.
As I finished up on the west side of the lake, I couldn’t help but to notice how impeccably clean it was, and whispered a thank you to the unknown angels that keep it that way.

I rounded the final corner toward the playground and ran into an old friend who moved to Houston a year ago.  With teary eyes and a shaky voice, he confessed to me that he was just diagnosed with cancer.   My heart was heavy as I trudged through dry leaves back to my car, and my heavy legs didn’t seem like such a big deal anymore.  A sheet of dark clouds now covered the sky, and I drove off in the rain.