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"We are not problems waiting to be solved, but potential waiting to unfold.”

Frederic Laloux

Possibility Reminders

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A journey of a thousand days...

To slightly change Lao Tsu's original quote, a journey of a thousand days of at least a mile each day does indeed begin with a single step.

This morning I completed that thousandth day and, according to my log, a total of just over 2,310 miles and nearly 398 hours.

Even though I knew it would be my thousandth day of running, getting out of bed to start that run was one of my harder mornings today.

So we talk about the importance of the first step, the one when you walk out of your door, but that's actually not the start.

For me this morning the first, and most important, step was the one when my right foot touched the floor as it left my bed. And that first step has been repeated 1,000 times during the last two and three quarter years.

The biggest thing I've learned during my mile each day experiment (so far) is the power of habits that are small enough that you can achieve them every single day.

Taking on one small habit like that can literally change your life.

What small daily habit could change your life, and what will be your first step today and every day?


At least a smile each day

It's Tuesday so it's my day when I let myself off my 6.00 a.m. early morning run as I'm off to help with the fabulous Sarah's Runners shortly.

This morning's run will be my 999th consecutive day of running at least a mile each day, which is quite exciting, at least it is for me. It feels like an achievement.

When I first tried typing the sentence above, as often happens my fingers malfunctioned and I noticed that I'd typed "at least a smile each day". As I corrected my wayward typing, it occurred to me that I'd inadvertently typed what was actually a pretty good philosophy for life.

If you could start each day with the purpose of smiling at others and helping them to smile, I reckon that would be a pretty good day.

Maybe I should let my fingers do their own thing in future. They could actually be the wisest part of me!


Watch your step

Last week I was running with my local running club and while trying to go past a small group of people (unusual I know), I somehow stumbled, lost my footing, and after several cartoon slow motion moments of trying to recover, sprawled headlong and then got to my feet with blood running from both hands.

My first thought on my slightly stiff run the next morning was that sometimes I can focus too much on the vision of where I'm trying to get to and I lose sight of taking the next step.

Now admittedly it had just got dark and I was also trying to manoeuvre (albeit spectacularly unsuccessfully) my way round some railings designed to keep pedestrians away from a hole left in the pavement by a maintenance crew, but even so I could have paid better attention.

Following that run, whilst struggling to wash my hands, and my hair and body in the shower, I realised that once again it was a great reminder of how lucky I am, to be able to do all these things with ease on a daily basis, and that I do take it completely for granted.

This was magnified by me being completely awestruck and inspired on a nightly basis over the last ten days by the extraordinary feats of the amazing Paralympians on my television screen each night.

So maybe a healthy fall or failure can be a good thing to remind me how lucky, and indeed blessed, I really am.

So remember that it's great to have an inspiring vision, but don't forget to always keep an eye on your next step too.

And if you do happen to fall, then perhaps it's really happening to point out that you are indeed blessed (in my case I know several people my age who are physically no longer able to run at all), and it doesn't hurt to be reminded of that every now and again.


You're never alone

Because I had to leave home early, it meant I had to get up and run my mile-and-a-bit at 5 am, in the dark once again with a head torch the past two mornings.

It was a bit of a shock to the system after weeks of running in daylight.

I was interested to see if I'd actually catch site of any other living soul during my twelve to thirteen minutes of being an adventurer in a quiet, shady world.

Day one I caught sight of two sets of cats' eyes (the ones owned by real live cats, not the one that warn motorists where they are on the road). The second day I was almost home when I met a man walking and whispered an early good morning.

Thinking about it, I don’t think I’ve ever managed to run without seeing another living soul.

That got me thinking about times when I have felt that I'm alone, and whether we are ever really alone.

Times when I feel alone are those times when I feel upset, sad, frustrated, overwhelmed or that life is just leaning all it’s weight on me. It almost feels like life is conspiring against me and that perhaps I'm not sufficiently equipped to deal with all the challenges that are before me.

When I come out of those mental and emotional dips I always realise that I'm not alone, I have family, friends and people that love me.

Also, whatever I'm feeing there is also bound to be someone somewhere else in the world who is having almost identical negative feelings that I'm experiencing right now. Just by dint of this fact means that there is a connection, even if it invisible, between myself and someone else somewhere.

So, in those challenging times, no matter if it doesn’t seem like it, I am actually never alone. Just knowing that always helps me.

Once again my running gives me reminders of this, like it does about so many other aspects of life.

And if I'm never alone, I reckon the same thing applies to you.


Resistance is futile

I know this is a subject that I have aired before, on more than one occasion, but as it's something I frequently rediscover and then forget again, I thought it worth revisiting.

After my trials with a sore shin for a few weeks, and concerns in the back of my mind that my stress fracture of a few years ago might be rearing its head again, I have been finding even my mile-and-a-bit daily sojourns rather like running up hill, even the downhill bits.

My body has felt like its lead content has been dramatically increased and each step has felt like hard work.

Then this morning something changed.

Actually this morning's run was slower than any of my previous runs in the past month, but I suddenly realised that it didn't matter and I didn't care. Hell, I was doing it anyway, even if it did take just over 15 minutes to run 1.3 miles.

And when I got back I realised that yet again I had been resisting my sluggish running performances over the past few weeks.

Yes I know I tell others to just be with it and entertain the possibility that where they are could be the perfect place for them to be right now, but like most of us I'm pretty damn good at feeding others medicine but not so hot when it comes to taking it myself.

Somehow this morning I managed to let go that running so slowly and feeling extra heavy on my feet was bad.

Somehow I gave up resisting it and just let it be, as Paul McCartney used to sing so beautifully in the days when his voice was still good.

If I'd realised I was resisting, I might have been able to let go earlier, because as everyone knows resistance really is futile.

So, seeing as this seems to be somewhat of a recurring nightmare, how do I propose to catch myself, and let go, earlier next time?

I could try and remember to check in with my running happiness gauge, or I could ask myself the question, "And what is OK about this?"

I'll let you know what works.

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