Running Too Fast

Life is seriously a process of progression and learning. It is a beautiful kaliedoscope of change. And the amazing thing is that it is specifically tailored to each person.

Sometimes I wonder if I am a little slow to learn the lessons life is trying to teach me through change and challenge. It seems like I go through different challenges and reactions over and over before I am open enough to receive direction or understanding. Yet, the older I get, the more I realize that some lessons take a lot of time and layers to learn.

For a long time I have had a tightening in my chest, making it difficult to breathe. I knew deep down that it wasn’t anything physically serious. I knew it had to do with my emotions and perceptions of life at the time. Yet, I couldnt truly nail it down to a source to gain the control I needed. These tightenings always correlate with high stress moments in my life (not a surprise there). Even knowing this….I still could not figure out the roots.

This week life presented a nice basket of stress-inducing challenges. The basket contained every element of struggle that I have been working on overcoming, with a little bit more tossed in for ‘fun’. Low and behold, I couldn’t breathe. I found that I was struggling with finding enough time to do everything I wanted to do, answer all of the questions that were looming and meet the needs of my family. I truly felt overwhelmed and less than.

Once I recognized this little oppression filled bundle and identified it for what it was, I prayed to understand.

We are taught in quiet moments.

I was in short supply of them as my mind was racing.

Yet, it was as if the answer was waiting for that brief moment when my mind and heart settled. Waiting for that little break to enter and show me what I was looking for.

When that moment came, the answer started off like this:

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that man should run faster than he has strength.   ~Mosiah 4:27

I have spent the past years trying to run faster than what my body, soul, mind and heart could handle. I was trying to receive answers to questions that I was not ready for. I was trying to fix everything that seemed broken, but really wasn’t. I was trying to bend life to my mold and not allow myself to be molded and shaped by the lessons life was teaching me.

I truly was running faster than what life was ready to teach me.

In that moment I began to breathe. I began to see how life truly molds us, how our paths are designed to grant us strength, knowledge and compassion. I began to understand that my path is mine. I began to slow down a little.

I have found that  it is easier for my heart to let go of the binding rules that have held it tight for so long. Slowing down has allowed me to become more by letting go.

Learning From Moroni

I love how life works. I believe if, at our core, we are willing to be taught, there will be lessons in abundance. Most times, however, the lessons that will truly shape us are the ones that are not so obvious in the beginning (and sometimes middle and end). 

Most of the time my life lessons unfold for me when I am on the trail. It is my time away from the world and there is something cathartic about pushing myself physically. There is usually an opening within my heart and soul. Today was no different.

Let me back up a bit.

For the past few months I have been struggling spiritually, mentally and physically. It is as though there have been very specific attacks made on each level. Spiritually I have had more questions about where I stand before God, within my religion and my relationship with Jesus Christ. Mentally the struggles have been with clarity of mind (or the lack thereof), desires to move forward, and the strength to meet the challenges each day presents. Physically presented with sheer exhaustion and lack of strength to accomplish things that have been pretty doable.

The relentless attacks have definitely done a number on me.

Questions within my heart have surfaced. Questions like: what am I doing wrong? am I making so many bad choices that I am left unto myself? what is wrong with me? and am I really strong enough to do this?

Monday night our family was sharing some spiritual discussions, led by my 16 year-old son. He shared two verses of scriptures that he had been pondering and found an incredible tie between the two.

  1. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27)
  2. “But behold, to their astonishment, the city of Noah, which had hitherto been a weak place, had now, by the means of Moroni, become strong, yea, even to exceed the strength of the city Ammonihah.” (Alma 49:14)

Moroni is a true hero in my eyes. This man was a spiritual giant, military genius and an overall warrior. His ability to see, prepare, strengthen, and fortify saved a nation.

As I was running on the trail today, my mind was pondering these two verses of scripture. I asked myself how od they relate to me right now? If I could have a sit down chat with Moroni, what would he teach me in this moment?

The answer came.

How did Moroni know that the city of Noah was a weak place? It had been attacked before. Just like this city, there are certain aspects of me that have taken some pretty brutal, specific attacks recently. The more I look at them, the more I want to shed them like a snake sheds its skin. These qualities are not strength, in fact they are weak and ugly, yet they are a part of me at this point in my life.

I needed to be acutely aware of these weaknesses, because, according to the Lord, they are opportunities to come to Him.

I have to be brutally honest here, this is not something that comes natural to the mortal part of me. Overcoming deep weaknesses is terrifying at a certain level. It is scary to give up fear when it feels like a crutch or let my heart open to love when I am not sure I want to. Yet, these weaknesses (and many more that I have discovered) are keeping me from becoming more.

Moroni taught me that in order to strengthen a weakness I have to be aware of it through attacks. He taught me that paying attention to this will allow me to develop strength within myself that I had never imagined I could have. He taught me that diligence and faith are far more powerful than any attack that is launched to bring me down.

Today, I am learning. I am repenting. I am overcoming.

 

 

 

 

My Mountain

It has been far too long.

Each time I set foot in my mountain, I write in my heart.

Unfortunately, that is where my writings have stayed.

I have felt over and over again that I need to record the beautiful lessons I have been taught as I run the trails. Yet, words have not come so easy.

As I sat in Stake Conference this past weekend, one of the speakers shared a poignant, life changing thought. He said that every time he writes down a feeling or thought that comes, that feeling or thought becomes more permanent in his soul.

I want the gifts I have received in my mountain to become more permanent in my soul.

Almost three years ago we moved to the home where we live. It is located right next to the mountains. An amazing friend took me into the mountains and showed me the unique beauty therein. I have never been the same.

In this mountain I have learned that fear is nothing more than the adversary keeping us from our true potential. I have learned that God has not given us this spirit of fear, but of love, power, strength, peace and a sound mind. Time and time again I have leaned upon this knowledge to overcome something that is holding me back.

The mountain has taught me that falling down is scary and exhilarating all at the same time. The day I fell on the trail, I realized that the initial shock of losing control can be quickly followed by a wonderful sensation of freedom, only to be squelched by the rapid onset of rocks and dirt. Getting up from the ground, dusting myself off and finishing my run was a bit empowering. Sometimes we need to fall to understand that we are not defined by a tumble, but by our reaction.

I have learned that some days I conquer the trail with strength and energy and other days the trail conquers me. What matters the most is that I am on the trail. The same holds true in life. Some days there is nothing that I cannot accomplish and other days it is all I can do to get dressed. What matters most is that I am moving forward.

The greatest gift that I have received from the mountain is the unadulterated time I have with Heavenly Father in prayer and pondering. The rhythmic pounding of my feet on the ground allows my mind to relax and find that place of openness and reception. Inspiration has come bringing answers to questions and prayers. Peace has filled my troubled heart. Hope and faith have been restored. Time with Him in the mountain is a treasure.

I am forever grateful for my mountain. I love the way it smells, the beauty it shows me each day I am there and the sounds of the water cascading down. The blessings that I have received there are priceless. I hope to make them more permanent to my soul.

Healing My Limitations

healingAt one point in my life I was a runner. I loved the freedom I felt as I found a steady rhythm that match my music and soul. Not only did I find strength in my body, but I found strength in my mind as I would let go.

One day I experienced a pain like no other pain I had felt. It seemed like there was a knife cutting through the side of my knee. No matter how much I worked at it, I could not run through this pain. 

I spent many years trying different types of shoes, thinking there was a magical pair that would heal my knee. I worked at stretching, interval running, strengthening and so forth. There never was a long term solution, so I simply ‘accepted’ the fact that I was not to run anymore.

My heart has wanted to run so many times, especially now that we live in an area where it is safe to run. Not only is it safe, it is incredibly beautiful.

I have been pondering this knee pain and the limitation I felt it had put in my life. I decided last week that I would return to running, one way or another, I would run again.

It is amazing how Heavenly Father orchestrates our lives. When we have a desire in our hearts, it seems as though life aligns to realize it.

I am now one belt away from earning my black belt in karate. This is has been a journey in and of itself. One of the requirements is running. When I heard this my heart dropped and my body went into ‘you can’t because of your knee’ mode. I felt it so profoundly in every part of me. I felt the power the limitation had over me.

With a background in Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, I ran through all of the scenarios in my mind of this chronic knee pain. I couldn’t find a solution that would work for me. I hate that more than anything, because I feel so trapped.

Today I decided I would get on the treadmill, no matter what. I am not going to let this win. My husband started to challenge my thoughts of being limited by ‘knee pain’. He wouldn’t let me make any excuses or allow anything that resembled limited thinking. He knows just the right buttons to push to get me thinking and moving forward (I will say that as I stepped on the treadmill I had a growl in my head).

As I began to run, I focused my thoughts on healing and strength. I found a gait that was so comfortable, a pace that was perfect and a rhythm that spoke to my soul. I could feel fearful knee pain thoughts creeping in. I decided not to allow them access to my mind, body and soul. As I fought them off, I felt myself relax and enjoy the little journey I was on.

That short little run was one of the most healing experiences I have had. My self-imposed limitations had affected my body to such a degree that I was not able to do something that I truly love. Healing that limitation and turning it into a freedom was so powerful to my mind, body and soul.

Our minds are a gift from Heavenly Father. There is so much power that lies within them…power to become incredible or nothing at all. It is all in how we choose to exercise this power. Today I chose to let it heal me.

Countdown

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of my most favorite words when I am working out are…. “from 5,4,3,2,1 and that is it!!!!! ” It is music to my ears to hear that the challenge is over and I have succeeded one more time. Not only is it magical at the end of the workout, it is amazing in the middle when a particularly sweat/pain inducing set is almost over. Time running out gets me through.Continue reading “Countdown”

Out Of Breath

file8851274473595I am sure we have all experienced days when we feel like we are out of breath the entire day. We run and run and can’t seem to catch up on what we are ‘trying’ to accomplish that day.

For the past few weeks I have experienced this more often than not. It is as though there is something or someone sitting on my chest, making breathing as difficult as humanly possible. I get it, but I don’t like it.

With everything that life hands to us to accomplish, grow from and experience it is very understandable that overwhelmed pokes its head into the windows of our souls. This little guest is just there. Sometimes I find myself shutting down when it comes, other times I find myself in sprint mode….working like mad to get everything accomplished, taken care of, folded, cleaned, shopped for, dressed, showered, exercised, listened to, worked through, and maintained. Continue reading “Out Of Breath”

Running Free

Yesterday file1391339639463I wanted to change up my workout routine. For the first time in years I was able to go for a good run without feeling fear. The city we recently moved from is known for the not so safe environment. Now that we are in an area where safety is a reality, I wanted to take advantage of it and just run.Continue reading “Running Free”

Running Uphill

Sunrise HillsThis morning was the first morning I walked the kids to school. Going to school is the easy part…it is downhill the entire way. We killed it on the amount of time it took us to get there. As I turned from them at the crosswalk (I love it when they tell me they love me as I leave them for the day) I looked at what it was going to take to get home. If you walk downhill one way, it is going to be uphill for the return trip. With my hamstrings, hips, quads and calf muscles burning from an amazing karate workout last night, I was not too excited to tackle the hills.Continue reading “Running Uphill”