Think for yourself

I am one of those parents that reads parenting books and then does my best to put their strategies into action. I am at heart a very eclectic person and this is reflected in my parenting and the way I read. I pull pieces from here and there and connect them together in ever changing ways. I have an ability to see connections, patterns and interactions in a never ending spiral. The conversations my DH has to contend with as my brain sparks, oh my.

I have taken parenting strategies from Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthal, in particular, understanding that children need to undergo a bit of hardship, and how to introduce them to meditation in a way that they can understand. Also, Before Your Kids Drive You Crazy – Read This! by Nigel Latta, with his magnificent Ladder of Doom. And right now I am reading Raising Children Who Think for Themselves by Elisa Medus. It is brilliant. And more than any book, I am going to have really look at and change my behaviour.

At the moment, I am in a reflection stage. I am putting in place some changes but more than anything I am reflecting on my own behaviour and language with the children and considering ‘What is the message they are getting from what I am saying?’ ‘What behaviours are my behaviours reinforcing?’

One of the basic premises of the book is that we generally raise our children to rely on external indicators in order to understand their success or what they should be doing. For example, we tell them that they have done a beautiful drawing. Drawing on my philosophy background and post-modernism, it seems that the drawing is only beautiful because the viewer deems it so – if it wasn’t looked at it, would it still be beautiful? The child needs to be able to recognise that they did a beautiful drawing without the external recognition. They need to be able to think for themselves.

This extends into so many areas. I catch myself all the time saying to my son, it is going to be cold today you had better get yourself a hoodie rather than letting him know it will be cold and leaving it at that. He can work the rest out for himself (or not). He can think for himself.

It is not the marks that they get at school that should be celebrated but the hard work and effort they put in to get those marks. I now ask my children how they feel about what they have done before, or instead of, telling them what I think. Encouraging them to think for themselves, develop their own internal barometer.

Lucky I run. While I am out running I am able to decide which particular “thing” I am going to focus on for the day in terms of being a better parent. I desperately would like my children to think for themselves, don’t go with the crowd, and have their moral compass pointed in the right direction. I would like them to be resilient and self assured.

I think we all know this comes from the inside.

 

News Flash

I am announcing my decision to merge my blogs. I am finding that I only write spasmodically because I have so many ideas and don’t want to sully my running blog with my other thoughts about life, parenthood in particular.

I had the realisation that runsisterrun is all about me as a mother runner so my parenting thoughts can have a place here. And so they shall….

In the coming days I shall move my blogs from Buddhism for Mothers from there to here and so you will begin to see more of me as a multi-faceted person, as we all are. No more compartmentalising…. I am a blurry, merged, mess of a person and so shall be my blog.

Happy trails and happy thoughts to you all.

🙂

Running Slump – where’s my mojo?

No good. Don’t really want to admit this but I am going to because we all have these times. I am in a running slump. My running mojo is gone…. lost it somewhere in the week following the marathon last October. Perhaps its hiding behind the cushion on the couch.

I have been trying really hard to manage this slump I am in. I have been mixing it up with speedwork and hills, runs with friends, running in different locations, planning different routes. I even started my barefoot running exercises. Now, they were fun. It hasn’t been all bad. I have had some good runs, I have had some average runs but I just kept saying, at least you are out there running.

However, I am still waking up most mornings, groaning and dragging myself out of bed and into my sneakers. I force myself out the door and am lumbering for the first km. Definitely a Frankenstein moment. I seem to be able to pick up the pace in the next few km’s but nowhere near where I want to be or have been.

Admittedly, I am not fuelling particularly well. This festive season has been full of much joy and I have been enjoying it a little too much!

As always, I think about what I am learning from this experience. Do I really need a race to help my running? I know the answer is ‘no’ as I enjoy not having the pressure of “training”.
Could it just be lower energy levels? Quite possibly.
Do I need to take some time to work on my mental state? Definitely.

I really need to find peace and get my mind focussed. Ah, this might have to wait until after school holidays and I have some space. Until then I think I might just have to embrace the Frankenstein.

What do you do when you lose your running mojo?

Tangling Up Happiness Just Delays It

Just read a beautiful tweet from Angie Mozilo who can be found at @azmomofmanyhats and www.azmomofmanyhats.blogspot.com.au. She started off with talking about simplifying our hearts and minds which I just had to reply to and then followed up with the great comment, “tangling up happiness just delays it”. We were both wondering why we do this to ourselves.

I then found myself quickly evaluating my mind set in relation to my recent running exploits. Despite mentally saying to myself over and over in the last two months (since my first marathon) that it is ok that I have lost my running mojo and just to go with it, I haven’t actually been listening to myself.

Part of me has been tormenting myself with the fact that it doesn’t always feel easy to run anymore, that I feel so consciously aware of my body and my mind has not been free to wander as has been the case for most of my running life. I have been frustrated with my lack of consistency, lack of pace, feeling of poor form. I really have been tangling up the happiness that running has always given me.

Think that I shall now patiently untangle my happiness and go for each run with joy. No plans. No desires. It is, after all, our attachment to our desires that tangles up our happiness well and truly.

I am setting it free…. who’s with me?

Courage

One of my organisation’s values is “Courage” and we have defined it as:

“A quality of spirit & swell of soul that enables you to face personal difficulties and perceived fears with bold intent.”

Looking at it today made me see the many parallels with my running and for all runners.

We have to have courage to face up to strenuous training plans, potential and actual injuries, possible discouragement from others, not to mention some of those long runs. It takes courage to choose to push your body out of its comfort zone, again and again.

And like the definition, it doesn’t matter whether they be actual personal difficulties or just perceived fears, we muster our bold intent and face the road with courage.

This flows into so many other parts of my life. Courage is a muscle that we build one step at a time and I flex it wherever it is needed.

Enjoy being courageous, feel that swell of soul and head out into life with bold intent. I’ll be there with you every step of the way. 🙂

The Universe’s delay is not the universe’s denial

Yes, I have been delayed. No running for over two weeks now due to a hip flexor strain. Overuse injury. Not surprised! I was running significantly more km’s than ever before and perhaps my body wasn’t quite ready for it. Well, obviously it wasn’t.

I haven’t had the heart to blog about it as it has been quite frustrating. Of course when I first got back from the easy 6k run hobbling because my hip hurt, there were a couple of angry tears. Then I got over myself and put it all in perspective. Not to say, that I have been an angel about it. My husband has had to pick me up on some grumpy behaviour and remind me that I am not an elite athlete who relies on running for their income. I am actually a mum of two who works part-time, writes part-time and likes to run. Humph.

Oh and did I mention that the day I hurt my hip, my red running outfit arrived in the mail – the outfit I am going to wear with horns and tail to match my bib number 666. One of my dear friends told me to take that as a sign that it was all going to be ok.

 

Lucky I have a great physio who is confident that with the right exercise and adaptation to my training plan that I can still line up for the full marathon. Nice one. I am not so sure but I have been cross training my little heart out to give myself the best shot at that. The only side effect that I can see is that if I do get to line up for the full marathon that I will have to give away any dreams of a particular time that I had in mind. I will be back to my original goal of anything under four and a half hours being brilliant.

So I have been on the stationary bikes, both upright and recumbent. I have made friends with the rowing machine and elliptical. I even learnt how to cross country ski last week.

P1020739

Every opportunity I can, I get on my pushie and ride with the kids around the streets, to the park, to school and back. 

Despite all this activity I do feel a waning in aerobic ability and also wonder about my mental strength for the impending long runs. But we shall see….. Perhaps the mental break from the demands of the training plan and the long runs has been a blessing.

All in all these last couple of weeks have been an incredible learning experience about my body, my mental health, my resilience, my commitment, my adaptability.

Tomorrow I see my physio again and we shall see the lay of the land. Fingers crossed that I will be able to start to run again this week. Actually, I am praying to the universe, please let me run again this week. Please let this delay be done. I promise I have learnt from this experience.

Please pleeeeeaaaaassse – I learnt that one from my kids. 

🙂

 

 

Meanderings

This post is going to meander around the most recent thoughts I have been having about life.

Jokingly, on the weekend, my brother and I agreed that I obviously think too much. He manages to go running without music whereas I find I need a little something in the background distracting a part of my mind. Otherwise I start over analysing what is going on with my breathing, my body, my stride and how much I want to stop lol.

So here is some of my over analysing! I came back from a recent family holiday feeling extremely relaxed and accepting. My goal is to continue being in this space and in particular ensuring that I am “gentle” with my children. I think I have admitted before that I have a temper and keeping this under control with my children is my constant journey. Running and meditation work a treat to help me. I know in my heart that my boy will benefit immensely from having a gentle, loving mum as he is an over thinker like me. I will continue to work hard for him on my personal demons.

I also have been horrified by the situation in Syria and the use of children to ride on tanks and other atrocities that have been reported. It reminds me again of the gift of our affluent lives cushioned as we are, here, down under. I feel that it is important for me to take this gift and make the absolute most of it, the best of it, in respect for those who are suffering if not just for the gift itself. This thinking helps me to let go of little issues and focus on the important aspects of fostering love and compassion.

In order to make the most of this gift I have also been considering what limits we put on ourselves when we dare to dream. I was saying to my husband just yesterday that we shouldn’t just think in terms of where we currently live or what we are currently doing but broaden our minds to take in even the most whimsical of thoughts in order to consider the best way for us to embody our passions. We have the opportunity to do what we love so lets make it the best it can be and not put boundaries around it.

Saying that, I have been finding joy in so many little things that I think it doesn’t matter where you are, so long as you are mindfully in the moment. I find happiness in sitting at my desk at work, quietly typing away. The peace of working from home when I can, alone in my own space. The laughter of playing board games with my children. The rush after a good, hard, long run. The loving look in my husband’s eyes, the joy I feel being with him. Surely the list can be endless.

I do dream of sunshine and a warm place – my usual winter longing. And I wonder about my attachment to people and places, would I give it all away for a beach view?

Ah, so many thoughts passing across the sky that is my mind.

Ah Happiness….

I love running.

I do. I love it more than a good glass of shiraz from the Barossa Valley, and let me tell you, that is saying something. (Sorry Langmeil, Two Hands, Artisans, I do still love you).

I love it more than a block of lindt chocolate kindly left in the fridge for me from my mother-in-law for our return from holiday.

But I dont love it more than a delightful Sunday morning sleep in with my hubbie. Lucky I changed my Marathon training plan around so that Sundays are my rest day. 🙂

My marathon plan is set and I am excited. I typed it into an excel spreadsheet and messed around with the dates and distances to allow for holidays, family engagements and timing of other races. Whooo hooooo. Now it is up on the fridge for all the family to see and, hopefully, to understand why I am waltzing out the door, again, in my running gear. 

Happiness is a well thought out training plan. Even greater happiness comes from being able to stick to that plan as much as possible. We shall see how it goes.

18k medium long run – DONE on Saturday just gone. Nailed my goal of running at a consistent pace despite the terrain and tested out using gels again (which has been disastrous in the past). Great run, great post-run feeling.

Fartleks – DONE in the freezing cold. Had forgotten what a hard workout they can be… hmmmm….

10k – DONE this morning. Once again in the cold but I was feeling rather sluggish following the Fartleks yesterday. 

Wondering if perhaps choosing the intermediate marathon training plan was a little ambitious but only time will tell. Right now I am revelling in having a training plan for my first ever marathon and am excited about the km’s I am going to traverse.

Happy running everyone.

 

Lost and Found

Had a fabulous night in with a dear girlfriend last night. We often share stories about our experience of motherhood, wife-hood, and balancing our personal passions in life. Something I know to be true is that motherhood (parenthood) has been my making and also my undoing.

Hence, I started to think about how I am in the “lost and found” box at the local swimming pool. I have lost myself in parenthood and also found myself. Tacky? Cliched? Let me explain.

I lost my independence starting at 6 months pregnant when I couldn’t move the way I wanted. I found my sense of joy in knowing that I was making a little person inside my body.

I lost my desire for an exciting career and found the desire for a good night’s sleep to be so much more important.

I lost my status of breadwinner in the family home and found I could actually rely on others, and it was ok.

I lost myself, my identity as a feminist, a professional, a “successful” woman and found the peace of an afternoon in the sun, the joy of actually getting something done like a clean load of washing on the line.

And again, I lost my independence, my ability to be selfish, to do what I want when I want without considering anyone else. And found that my mother was true, we are all 2 year olds having tantrums when we can’t have our way, it is a very thin veneer. I also found that it is better to share the experience of life and to see it in a completely different light, interpreted through those childish eyes that we have forgotten we once had.

I have lost my sense of self, passion and purpose. I found my joy, resilience, and mental toughness.

And what is life but the love we have for each other?

I will not wait for the children to fly the nest before reclaiming my journey in life. I will find the balance of my personal passion and my responsibilities in order to give them an interesting mother.

Children need interesting mothers.