Recovery wisdom advises: Never allow yourself to get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, (HALT). On this morning’s 6-mile run, with my run partner out of town and running on less sleep than normal, I was hitting 2 out of 4 of the precautionary directives. If I let my mind wander to “I have to do 6 miles today” the run seemed like an impossible task. I wanted to walk. I wanted to slow down. My thoughts entered the realm of “stinking thinking” and the dreaded “I can’t do this”. Ughhh. I was tired. I was alone. I didn’t have my music. I was becoming bored. All the tell-tale signs of the wheels falling off the bus were at-risk for coming into play.
It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Remember Mr. Rogers?
He began every one of his ½ hour educational shows with the same ritual. He would come onto the set through the same door chirping out his usual song “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood, ….”. All the while, he would go through the same motions of taking off his tweed suit jacket, don his casual work sweater, take off his dress wing-tipped shoes, and put on his casual sneakers. You knew what was coming. He started each show the same way. That ritual set the stage for that day’s show.
Mr. Rogers was an extraordinary educator. He knew the importance of structure for children. Structure helps us make transitions. Structure helps us make sense of the unknown. As a marriage and family therapist I help parents develop routines that help children settle, feel safe, and decrease anxiety in the changes that face them as they developmentally move through time.
My running partner and I have vacationed on opposing weeks through the last half of summer. I have missed her. I have kept my running plan and structure, but running alone is not the same. I love the time to think and I have continued to run. I work hard but, as the weeks have continued on, I find myself on the slippery slope of not staying the course. Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed in the dark to prepare for long Saturday runs. If there is no one to be accountable to, will it hurt if I run just a little later in the morning? Not really. Then as the weeks have passed I have been tempted with a little later start time. What if I just sleep in? Who would know? Does it really matter? I would know when I look in the mirror and see the integrity on my face in the mirror, or not.
As I vacationed at the beach this past week, I had the opportunity to see National Geographic Explorer Photo Journalist Brian Skerry give a presentation entitled “Ocean Soul”. Mr. Skerry drew us into his world of inspiration with a boyhood photo of himself when he was about 6 or 7 years of age. He shared his boyhood dream when the ocean first captured his imagination. He proceeded to tell us with words and his poignant images the oceanic world that has captivated his dreams and his life’s work which has spanned the globe with National Geographic Explorations.
At the end of this dramatic photo story he was asked “Which photo is your favorite?”