Sunday, February 22, 2009

Living Well

I've missed writing these. My commitments are excessive, and I need to make this a priority anyway.

On Valentine's Day, we lost someone unexpectedly. Tom Otto, my brother in law, died unexpectedly while visiting Arkansas. His funeral was last Tuesday, and it still seems surreal to imagine him gone. I spoke with Denise, his wife, on Saturday, and in her voice I could hear how unreal it still feels, despite the fact that she is now home. She was telling me of several other calamities, and one other death, and we both laughed a bit ruefully - it's enough, already. Tom's humor and his stubbornness, his chuckle and his wry humor when dealing with things that frustrated him, those are the things I will remember. His smile was contagious. He lived well and raised a beautiful daughter who will make him proud forever. He leaves a big hole, and the world a better place for his having passed through it. And though I know the adult in me made the right decision in not racing to Arkansas for a whirlwind trip, I wish heartily that I could hug Denise, and Katie. Denise in a crisis reminded me of the many strong, capable, get-it-done women I love so much. The ones who just take care of business and then make potato salad for 30, because it needs done.

There are two things that I want to write about tonight, thinking of this. One is that we never know when we will be taken, and so we all need to live without regrets, and especially without delay. Do not delay your life until it is a more convenient time, a "better time" - do it now. Do it now, not out of fear that you may not have the chance, but out of pure hungry desire to live every day fully. Not out of fear, though. Never from fear. Follow your heart, make space for what makes your heart sing. Don't wait for the world to arrange itself so that you can, just make it happen.

The other thing I want to write about is the act of facing a fear. I've been on a bit of a journey the last few years, on a mission to face down the things that I avoid out of fear. Most of those things, in my little head, are physical. I've long trusted my brain, my ability to speak well and easily, to argue effectively, to make others laugh, to solve difficult problems. My fears are around physical things - dancing "with intention" as I do when I bellydance is one fear I'm facing. It is also mixed up with the fear of being judged for the way I look. And another is running. I'm all good with hiking, walking, biking and now with bellydancing (though NOT yet with performing). But was off my list. I was too uhm...curvy. Too heavy and too curvy and my knee might get hurt and I'm not the athletic one and....yeah.

So when I realized my stock statement about running ("I'm just not built for it.") was actually a copout, since I have never actually tried to run, I decided it had to go on the blasted list. Dammit. So I started this program called the Couch to 5K. I'm not a couch person. I've been walking 3.5-4 miles a day most days since...a long time. But this program is very gradual. It mixes running segments with walking segments, gradually increasing the time you spend running until, by the end of the 9th week, you are running 5K, or 30 minutes. Yay! I'm not going to make it in 9 weeks, let's just get comfy with that reality right now. I'm running, though. A tiny bit, but I didn't give up even when my knees hurt and I really wanted to give up. So I'm on my third iteration of week 1, and I think by next Saturday I'll be ready for Week 2. It turns out I need more walking and much more stretching before the walking/running segments.

How is this important enough to be in the same post as losing Tom? Easy - this is one less missed opportunity on my lifebook, and one less fear standing between me and the clarity I'm trying to find.

Be well, and make some space this week to let your heart sing.