Endurance to Go the Distance

Published: November 17, 2023
Category: Mental HealthMind/Body Well-Being

I still smile when I recall the thrill of seeing hundreds of runners from countries all over the world pounding the pavement on the city streets during the New York City Marathon. I’m seriously considering signing up to participate in next year’s race, with a three-pronged goal. First, I just want to be able to complete the race—not to compete for a fast time. Second, I want to have the peak emotional experience of seeing and feeling the energy and support of thousands of cheering people in each of the five boroughs—a quintessential once-in-a-life experience for an enthusiastic New Yorker. Third, I want to walk away without any injuries. 

In so many ways our lives are all about the journey and not the destination. I’m writing this post while waiting for a plane back to New York City from my “happy place” in Miami Beach. I’ve been pondering the concept of endurance as the world has changed since the attacks of October 7, which has brought to the fore much antisemitism and unrest.

Here are some success strategies I’m implementing in my life and encouraging you to embrace when you experience a setback, challenge, or trauma.

  1. Be kind to yourself and practice tender self-compassion. It’s also helpful to tap into what Dr. Kristin Neff calls Fierce Self-Compassion—when you vigorously defend yourself as you would advocate for a baby or vulnerable person. Try this simple reframing. It’s a fact that most of us are more thoughtful to others than to ourselves. So, stepping up your self-compassion practice is a great way to care for yourself.
  2. Carve out some alone time doing things that create calm, quiet, and rest. For me, this means candle-lit warm baths, 20-minute walks alone in the park, and just sitting in stillness, a place where I don’t normally find myself.
  3. Reach out for your chosen family or circle of support. Thanks to today’s technological age, you can call, FaceTime, Zoom, write to them, or schedule time to be with them in real life. However, here’s a cool insight: Sometimes I find it just as effective to envision them, speak to them in my head and pause to imagine and receive what they would say in that moment to give me insight, acknowledgement, support, or love. Some of my best boosters are beloved family and friends who are no longer alive and this practice is a way to still connect with them through a powerful bond that is not lessened by death. Connecting in this meaningful way is always time well spent.

They say that man plans and God laughs or the universe hiccups! I had planned to have four relaxing days on the beach and ended up going on a 27-hour journey to and from Washington DC snack in the middle of my respite to attend a rally. Yet life is about showing up, and that’s what I always do. I was looking forward to spending the remaining two days languishing in the sun only to be hit with 50-mile-per-hour winds and torrential rain. I grabbed my laptop, stayed in my PJs, and worked from my bed while scarfing down chicken soup, coffee,; and other yummy, healthy food throughout the day. It wasn’t the R&R I had hoped for, but it was the pause I got. And I’m grateful for that.

I hope to return to my happy place in mid-December and, in the meantime, I will do my best to carve out sacred time and quiet time to be alone with my thoughts and feelings and to connect with others in meaningful ways. 

I’m sending you strength and love.

Soaringwords is the power to heal.

Lisa

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