Wednesday, February 2, 2011

nice talk

i once excerpted a bit of a running blog that i had found, and then couldn't find again... i loved the gentle message, and the running connection, and was sad to not be able to make my way back to it.

GOOD NEWS!!! i've found it again...

and the first post was once again just what i needed to hear. so i am going to excerpt if for your reading pleasure here, in case it is something you need to hear too.

and, so that i will be able to find it again any time that i like!!

... Dawn started talking first with a series of disclaimers that sounded like a medical ad on television. She told Dean that she hadn't practiced yoga in years, and was tight and inflexible.  She explained that she was a runner and a tennis player, not a yogi. She mentioned having tight hamstrings and shoulder issues. (This product may cause dizziness, shortness of breath, loose stools, depression, even death. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.) I watched Dean's face as she spoke, knowing all her caveats and exemptions were fluttering to the ground around him, not sticking at all.
"Well," he said, studying her.
Dean paused here. You should know he is completely comfortable with pauses.
"The first thing we are going to work on is the way you talk about yourself. Your word selection. Tight. Inflexible. Inexperienced. We need to help you choose some new words and new phrasing. Your hip and your shoulder don't want to be called tight, they just want some love, that's all. How about this instead: I am learning. I am opening up. I am becoming more flexible. I am giving these places some much needed attention. Better, yes?"
Yes. Much better.
I ruminated on Dean's chastisement/encouragement to talk nicely to ourselves, to choose words with care and intent. I decided to be more mindful of how I talk to and about myself, and pay extra attention to the way my children talk about themselves. That night during homework Isabelle declared herself, "not good at math." Gulp. PAUSE. We talked through that one and I used Dean's example to help her empower herself with a new definition.
A perfect opportunity arose for myself the following morning... On set three, the voices started in my head. You're fading. What are you doing? You can't keep up with Paige at track, silly girl. Rein it in, dial it back so you have something left. You should have had more breakfast. You shouldn't have taken a Benadryl last night. You aren't built for speed. You are a writer who runs, that's all. You this. You that. Wah-wah-wah
...gloved fingers in ears, I drowned out the group pace chatter like a child who doesn't want to hear a grownup. A second of silence as we reset our watches, then Gilbert said, "Run how you feel, that's all."
And that was his gift to me. He effectively silenced the voices in my head and tuned me into my heart instead. My heart said, "It doesn't matter if you can dothis or not, but you can be this. Now run." And I ran like a child. 
Can you think with me for a second about what we could really do if we stopped telling ourselves that we couldn't? If we changed old habits of self talk, and rephrased our way to victory? I challenge you to listen to the way you describe yourself, out loud and in your head. Stop yourself mid-sentence if you have to, back up, and restate your claim. Words are powerful. Trust me on that–I am a writer who runs.
And a runner who writes

that is a lesson i could certainly benefit from.

it's time to talk nicer to myself.


  1. we should all talk nicer to ourselves. negative self talk can be very damaging. i should know.

    besides - you have a smile to light up the world.

  2. i'm so fortunate to know you, Char... you're such a gem.