The Marathon – Three Thoughts for Thursday – May 2023

A race or a journey?

On Monday, April 17th, I ran the Boston Marathon. This was my second Boston Marathon, the first I ran in 2018. Many of you will recall I set out to qualify for Boston this year as a way to celebrate and commemorate the 5th anniversary of the stroke I had just six weeks before running in 2018. Qualifying and running Boston this year was my way of really stepping back into running, paying homage to the growth and work of the last five years, choosing to live without fear, closing a chapter on my stroke, taking forward lessons that have helped me to live bigger and build back stronger.
The weather defined the 2018 marathon; some of the worst weather in the history of the Boston Marathon, cold winds, and icy rain ran with us the whole way. This year what defined Boston for me was the ability to soak in and revel in the experience, the sights and sounds, and high fives from the incredible crowd that lined the entire route to support us and cheer us on. What defined Boston for me this year was the choice I made to experience the journey and not simply focus on the finish line.
I have found myself pondering the meaning I am making from this experience and thinking about the choices we have in creating meaning from our experiences, the choices we have and choose to make as the authors of our lives. I have been mulling over my ability to rewrite and reinvent the meaning I make with the passage of time and the collection of new learnings and experiences in life that allow me to see the past differently. In the moments and days since crossing the finish line, I have found myself teetering between feelings and sensations of joy, contentment, pride, and accomplishment, as well as disappointment, loss, sadness, and emptiness now that the marathon is over. You can read more about this journey in my blog post, “The Creator of YOUR Story.” 
For now, here in this Three Thoughts or Thursday, as I reflect and choose this story of joy and accomplishment, I offer these questions and reflections to you.  What experiences have shaped you? How do you see them differently now than you did at the moment? How have you noticed the shifts in your perceptions of the events as time has passed?  How did they shape you then, and how do the same events shape you now? How might others tell your story?  How would you like your story to be told? How might you choose to rewrite your story that might better serve you and the person you would like to become?
In the days after the marathon, and today, I am choosing to write the story of the joy, the celebration, the accomplishment, and the shift that took place that allowed me to savor the run and cross the finish line with a smile, ready to embrace the day ahead. This isn’t to disregard the other side of the story, but I’m allowing joy to take its place on the front page of the paper if you will.

Quote I’m pondering:

“Every experience we have reveals to us a word in the language of our own wisdom which we are here to discover one experience at a time. And when we resist that we can’t understand our experience, we can’t understand each other.  Suffer means to feel keenly. To feel joy, we have to feel keenly.”

~ Mark Nepo ~

What I’m listening to:
The Good Life ProjectMore than Enough with Elaine Welteroth
June 21, 2020
Hosted by Jonathan Fields
Elaine Welteroth is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist and a producer and judge on the new Project Runway. She is known for her groundbreaking work at the helm of Teen Vogue, where she was appointed the youngest ever Editor-in-Chief at a Conde Nast publication in 2017, transforming the magazine into a platform for advocacy and social activism. She’s now a leading expert and advocate for the next generation of change-makers. Welteroth was recently appointed Cultural Ambassador for Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote initiative. Her writing appears in The New York Times, British Vogue, and The Hollywood Reporter. She has written for the hit show Grown-ish and has appeared on-camera for a range of media outlets including ABC News and Netflix. Welteroth released her first book More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are No Matter What They Say in June 2019. Her debut literary work became an immediate New York Times bestseller and was the recipient of the 2020 NAACP Image award for Outstanding Literary Work.
You can find Elaine Welteroth at: Book | Instagram

What I’m reading:

Coming Alive: 4 Tools to Defeat Your Inner Enemy, Ignite Creative Expression & Unleash Your Soul’s Potential 
By Barry Michels and Phil Stutz

I have heard CTI (Coach Training Institute) coaches refer to the two parts of ourselves as the Sage and the Saboteur, the Inner Mentor, and the Inner Critic, essentially the voice that is for us and the voice that is against us.  In this book, Michels and Stutz immediately call out that “[h]idden behind each problem is a force working to make sure you don’t solve it. When you can’t overcome an emotional problem, you feel powerless, and getting what you want from life feels impossible. This sense of possibility keeps spreading – a poison in your soul. Eventually, you give up on expressing who you really are, on living the way you suspect you could.”  I refer to this in my own life as following the “shoulds”, allowing myself to live for others, by the rules of others and what I perceive as the demands of the world.

Michels and Stutz go on to offer that “…concepts and theories won’t give you access to the Life Force” (that place where you know who you are and what you are made for).  “You can’t think yourself back to life. To free yourself, you need to feel the forces of life as they flow through you.”

Whether you think of the negative voices in your head as the inner enemy, inner critic, or saboteur, here are some new tools to allow you to hear the other side of the argument again, to hear the inner mentor, the voice that is for you, in order to become the truest and best version of you.

What Amazon has to say:

“The tools Barry and Phil teach in Coming Alive gave me the courage and clarity to align myself with the truth—no matter how hard or painful it seemed at the time.”—Gwyneth Paltrow

Tap into the Life Force with this critical and contemporary guide to unlocking our most powerful selves—from the bestselling authors of The Tools (and goop’s resident shrinks).

Phil Stutz and Barry Michels’s tools are featured in Stutz, a Netflix original documentary directed by Jonah Hill and co-produced by Joaquin Phoenix

In The Tools, Michels and Stutz revolutionized the world of personal growth. Now, in Coming Alive, they guide readers toward a wellspring of positive energy: the source of creativity, renewal, and engagement. The first step in gaining mastery over one’s life—in deepening both emotional and spiritual experiences—is identifying the enemy within, which Michels and Stutz have named Part X. This formidable adversary is a shape-shifter: it may be the voice in your head that is a torrent of negativity; it may take the form of outside forces that conspire against you. In whatever guise it appears, Part X aims to derail your progress, keep you small and stuck, and defeat hope.

The four vital tools in Coming Alive help you connect to the Life Force—a wellspring of positive energy that is the source of creativity, renewal, confidence, and engagement—and harness the energy and will to combat Part X. Drawing insights from their decades of psychotherapeutic practice, their lived experience, and their moving and generous understanding of our interconnectedness, Michels and Stutz have created a paradigm-shifting guide to achieving optimal mental health and spiritual well-being.

You can sign up to receive my Three Thoughts for Thursday post as an email on the third Thursday of every month by clicking here.  If you’ve missed any of my Three Thoughts, you can find them all on my blog.  If you enjoyed this post, take a look at March’s Three Thoughts.
If you are interested or know someone who may be interested, I also offer leadership and emotional intelligence coaching and workshops. You can find more information on my website, or you can use this link to set up a free 30-minute introduction to coaching session.
I recently celebrated the 5th anniversary of my stroke with the writing of this commemorative post, a training run, flowers, pie and special time with my kids.  I continued the celebration and ran the Boston Marathon last month, five years after I ran the course for the first time. Please join me in celebrating these milestones by taking time to celebrate your own milestones, and by fully embracing the opportunities in front of you, the value in the little things, and the beauty that surrounds you in this wonderful, messy life.
In September, I hosted my first local, in-person event here in the Seattle area, Savor the Sweetness.  It was a fulfilling experience and event, and I look forward to hosting quarterly events for local women in 2023 – stay tuned and contact me for more information or to join the invite list!
I have the privilege of hosting the Emotional Intelligence Special Interest Group for ICFLA.  Please join me for another year of EI learning and growth as a part of these sessions.  You do not need to be a coach or a member of ICFLA to attend.
If you are interested in joining and co-creating these learning communities, please use the links above to find out more about ICFLA’s Emotional Intelligence Special Interest Group and the Yoga, EQ & WooWoo Workshops. I hope you will come along for the journey!
I’m always looking for new inspiration, new books to read, and new podcasts to listen to, so please send your suggestions my way or comment on this post to offer some new recommendations!
As always, thank you for your continued support and readership! Stay strong, stay brave, stay true to you!
Wishing you a season of powerful authorship, of taking creative charge of your life and writing the story you dream of living!