I have been talking and thinking about my mind quite a bit lately, and you’ve been reading some of my thoughts about how we have the ability to choose what we focus on. Today, I need to be reminded of some of those ideas about how I am able to rise above and change my outlook, so I re-read one of my favorite posts by Kristin Armstrong from her book, Mile Markers. (She blogs here: http://milemarkers.runnersworld.com/) And since I am not really flowing with words today, I thought I would just share hers with you.
I started yesterday off on the wrong foot.
My alarm didn’t go off, somehow I switched the am and pm on my phone so we got up 12 minutes late and our mornings are timed to precision, the kids were arguing non-stop, Luke wouldn’t eat his granola because Isabelle coughed somewhere in the vicinity and it was deemed contaminated, Isabelle ripped out her ponytails twice because she said I made them uneven, my coffee got cold while I was packing lunches and when I reheated it in the microwave it burnt my tongue rendering the remainder of my day tasteless, Isabelle decided now was a good time to change the rabbit cage, Grace was taking a stand against oral hygiene despite her dragon breath, and Charlie (our Cavalier King Charles puppy) lifted his leg and peed on the corner of the kitchen island.
We made it to school with seconds to spare and I hate rushing my mornings and parting in a scramble, especially the mornings before the kids have a Daddy weekend. I called the vet and made an appointment for the leg-lifter to get snipped. I took big dog Mercy for a run, hoping that some hills and her steady company would restore my equilibrium, but I walked back into my house under the same cloud. I tried to write but my desk was too littered with bills and mail to welcome creative thought, so I wasted the rest of my morning idea-less, excavating stacks of paper.
And then, out of nowhere, it hit me. The only way I was going to snap out of my sour was with a serious intervention. With sudden clarity, I knew that if I did not flood my poisonous mood with the anti-venom, my day and I were going down. For those of you who watch less Animal Planet than I do or who did not win the science fair in high school (I really did), let me explain that anti-venom is created when a tiny bit of venom is introduced into a subject, creating an immune response that generates antibodies that fight the venom. These antibodies can be harvested and used on behalf of others. In my particular moody case, the anti-venom would consist of the antibodies of kindness,specifically the unspoken kind. What I mean is, the thoughts or gestures we think about but don’t make time to say or do. I got quiet with my grumpy self and thought about the previous few days, combing my existence for the things that struck me but were quickly dismissed. I wrote them down. I started to feel a wee bit better. Then I took action.
1. I called the groomer who had taken care of our old dog Boone the day before. Boone is impossible to groom. He’s over 12, and many moons ago he once fell off our deck in France so he’s a bit off, somewhat contorted and stiff, almost palsied. I told her that when I drove Boone over the previous day, I was close to tears noticing his old age and overall bad state. But after her tenderness and magic, he looked so much better, even had a newfound bit of spunk that I attributed to his fresh-do. I told her that I understood how difficult and time-consuming it must be to work with him, but that I really appreciated her effort and I thought he looked beautiful. She was quiet for a minute before she told me I made her week.
2. I have a dear friend Dawn who can’t stand being cold. A mother of a cold front is blowing outside my office window as I type, and we all knew it was coming. So yesterday I finished the scarf I had been knitting for her since before Christmas and dropped it on her doorstep with a note telling her to stay warm and I love her.
3. My coach and friend, Cassie, hates to be sick (we all hate it but she HATES it with narrowed eyes and spite) and has a nasty sinus infection. I thought about this on Wednesday, the way that she summons her energy for her clients and friends, even when she ends up with none left to spare for herself. I left her a message to tell her how much that meant to me. She left word later on my voice mail that I had saved her day.
4. I wrote a note to the librarian who hosted Luke’s scout den earlier this week for our monthly meeting. She gave us a tour of her library, making books and reference materials totally interesting to a group of ten year old boys. She finished with a scavenger hunt, which was a giant hit as you can imagine. She has a tremendous gift in her way with children, the kind of gift that makes you stop what you’re doing and pay attention. She has probably heard this countless times, but I wanted her to hear it from me, in pen, on my stationary. I mailed that.
And before I realized it had taken place, my day, my mood, my sense of humor, perspective, and appreciation had all been restored. I am not sharing this in an,”Aw, Look How Sweet I Am” kind of way. I’m sharing this in a, “Holy Crap Was I Sour” kind of way. I wonder how often we make a swift mental note of something or someone meaningful and it slides into oblivion because we are in such a blasted hurry all the time.
I want to encourage you, no I flat out dare you, to try this infusion of light the next time your mood goes dark. It was the fastest road I have ever taken to getting back on track, so from one runner to another, I share the route with you.
So, what kind of anti-venom do you need to infuse into your life today?