7.21.2017

Just think healthy

After hearing Patrick Madrid on Immaculate Heart Radio recap the findings from Standford University that positive thinking can extend your lifespan by 71% darling daughter told me, "Just think healthy, mom."

This opened a beautiful conversation and I am constantly awed by her depth of thought. I responded that yes, I do feel I exercise more than people my age. She agreed and was proud of me but I also confessed that I struggle with perceiving myself as a slow runner. A battle that I have been struggling with years and a mental game I know I need to overcome. Thinking slow thoughts won't help my performance and ironically this morning during my prayer run I focused on this thought process. It is just a sign of negative forces taking over and trying to pull me away from the good that I can do and the who I am.

I love conversations like this with my 9 year old and hope that one day when she is facing negative self talk our moments will come into her mind. I told her I need to change my way of thinking. That I need to say I am a runner and take the speed description out of it. By golly, I am a marathon runner! She eagerly agreed that yes, I am a runner and yes, yes! I am a marathon runner. These descriptions she approved of....and so do I.

But that was not the end of it. She reminded me that I am shorter than others and won't run as fast as those taller than me. She went on to elaborate that Jamaicans are tall and run everywhere. All they do is run. I will never beat a Jamaican. Never. I am short. No sugar coating on her part.

There is some truth in that and it brought me back to a similar discussion we had just last night after her horse lesson. I have short legs. I do. Not only am I on the short side, my torso is long. I have short legs. Little pony legs. Not horse legs. All things kept equal, a pony is not going to run faster than a horse. The pony's gait is shorter. It is just how it is. I have seen this for years as I watch her and other girls ride their ponies and horses around the arena and the horses lap the ponies time after time. It is just a matter of design and function.

I can also attest to the power of healthy thinking. When I am sick if I think and tell myself I am sick, I seem to stay sick longer, but as soon as I tell myself I am fine and getting better, I start to get better as long as I have all the things I need to get better. I am not saying positive thinking will take the place of doctor's advice and antibiotics, etc. when the doctor prescribes them. That is why we have doctors just like horses have farriers to take care of their hooves and caretakers to ensure they are healthy and in good form. Anything else would be negligent.

So if thinking you are healthy and more active can prolong your life expectancy can thinking you are strong and fast increase your running pace?

I do not see why not. I am ready to try and focus on the power word I chose for 2017.

Fortitude.

Fortitude, courage in pain or adversity. One of the seven spiritual gifts along with wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. Normally when I think of fortitude I think of what martyrs face and endure but believe we all have our times of adversity in life. Times when we need to have the courage to do something even if it may be painful, scary, or hard.

Seeking help when I realized I was drifting back into a black hole of depression is one such moment and I am beyond happy I did. I was able to talk about those dark, deep secrets and hidden scars and sorrows inside. I was able to admit I have PTSD/PASS and that I hated myself for the choices I made but then by going through this process I realized that it is okay to hate my choices but not me. I would hate no one else who made the choices I made. I would embrace them with love and understanding and learned it was time I treated myself the same way.

But I still struggle with that negative self talk on a different level by telling myself daily that my run wasn't fast enough, long enough, strong enough. Seriously?! Where is the fun in that? If someone else ran the speed and length I did I would congratulate them and tell them job well done and I would mean it. In all reality, it is often the runners in the back of the pack that impress me the most because they spend more time on the course enduring the elements especially when we are talking about the heat of a marathon. So why is my pace and runs not good enough, fast enough, long enough?

This reminds me of the mercy and forgiveness I was unwilling, and maybe unable, to give myself for so long about making a bad choice. I have come to accept I made the best choice I could at that time, even if it isn't the choice I love today. So each day I need to accept I ran the best I could run that day and celebrate. After all, today represents day 2,031 of my running streak and that in itself is worth celebrating, don't you think?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my daughter, our talks, and my short little pony legs.

Daily Bible Verse: He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. ~ Titus 3:5

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