Saturday, June 19, 2010
“Eventually you will see that the real cause of problems is not life itself. It's the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes problems.” Michael Singer
Who are you?
I’ve been reading a fabulous book entitled “The Untethered Soul.” This question is posed early on in the book. Much of what the book brings to light isn’t what you are, but what you are not.
Fifteen years ago if you had asked me that question I would have come back with a whole host of responses. “I’m Molly. I’m a runner. I’m a woman. I’m a terrible cook. I’m messy. I’m married. I am an educator.” That list could go on and on.
Today when asked that question I would comfortably land on a response that back then would have appeared meaningless and frankly, I’d have thought, a little bit “whoo whoo.”
Who am I? I respond simply “I am.”
The older I get the more aware I become of how often we define ourselves by the physical forms, circumstances and people around us. “I am fit. I am rich. I am married.”
The interesting thing to consider, though, is the same person who can now say that “I am the founder of Girls on the Run, I am 49 years old and I am single” was at one time the same person who said, “I race road bikes, I am 35 years old and I am married.” The form, circumstances and people in our lives change, but the one constant is the me inside there, going along for the ride.
Take a look in the mirror sometime. Sure…you see a body, some eyes, the reflection of the room behind you…but down inside the physical form reflected in the mirror…lives the YOU inside of there. The you that stays constant, is forever present and knowing life through the experience we call being human.
When I focus on the me in there, an internal kind of giggle bubbles up. When I stop thinking, I can literally feel the essence of the me riding around inside. Call me crazy, but the incessant talk that goes on all the time (yes we all have it)…well…someone has to listen to it. Who listens? I do…the I that never changes. The I inside. The I hitching a ride for the length of time my body is in existence. The thoughts change because of the context, experiences and circumstances around me, but the me who listens, never does.
To experience the essence of you...try this small experiment this week. When referencing your body, remove the possessive from your sentence. For example, instead of saying “I am tired,” try saying “the body is tired.” Instead of saying “I feel hungry,” say “the body feels hungry.”
Women, in our culture, identify so much of our essence, being, selves with the body. See how you respond or don’t respond when you say “the body is stuffed” rather than “I am stuffed.” See what happens when you say “the head hurts” rather than “I have a headache.”
The need to identify ourselves with the physical form slips away and we can more objectively observe the body as something to experience, nurture, care for and appreciate. We no longer identify our worth with the physical.
This ability to observe how we internalize, bring in and identify with the messages of the outside world is at the core of what Girls on the Run is all about. We help girls to become “the boss of their own brains.” We give girls the tools to step back from the whirling world around and examine with open eyes, the messages they not only receive from “out there”, but turn into those they hear on the inside. The outside world requires that we fill in the blank “I am…”with a descriptor of our physical manifestation whereas Girls on the Run gives girls the freedom to not only NOT fill in the blank but remove the blank altogether and simply know the joy of being.
This is deep stuff. I’m not sure I would have “gotten it” when I was younger…heck even just a year ago. But I’d like you to give it a try. Lean into it. Trust the process. Let me know how speaking of your body in the third person feels. Does it make you laugh? Does it feel weird? Does it allow you to see that you are NOT your body, but the spirit that resides within? Does the body become something you appreciate? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, June 14, 2010
“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.”Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
I’ve been traveling a lot. After next week, I’m basically done until mid-July.
I love the travel. Because I don’t coach Girls on the Run anymore, the travel provides me with the one-on-one experiences with our girls, coaches and other volunteers that I love so much!
On one of my most recent trips I was visiting a Girls on the Run group. The girls were finishing up their community impact project. I walked into their gym, and after a nod of their heads in my direction, they went diligently back to the task at hand…making puppet socks for the kids at a nearby hospital.
After several minutes, I gathered them into a circle, promised them I would only take a few minutes and proceeded to create some space where we could all just get to know each other.
After several minutes of learning what their favorite foods were, giggling about Justin Beiber and discussing their greatest gifts to the world, I asked, as we closed, for each girl to share something she learned, liked or appreciated about Girls on the Run.
Last to come up was Sarah. I hadn’t heard much out of Sarah the previous ten minutes. She wore glasses, was petite in stature and was there in a state of what appeared to me to be “sizing up the situation.”
She, being the last in our circle to share, stopped for a second or two, drew in a deep breath and then out of nowhere, shared…
“Being a girl today is hard. Being a girl with epilepsy is really hard. But Girls on the Run is there to help all girls, because all girls need help sometimes. I have made good friends, learned coping skills, learned life lessons, and gotten a lot of confidence.
When I’m at Girls on the Run, I don’t think about school or the seizures or anything else. I am with friends, who love me and support me just the way I am. I can breathe in, look at the cars or the sky. I know that I am in safe place doing something I like doing with people who are my friends, who support me, love me and allow me to be whatever it is I am that day: scared, strong, weak, happy. They loved me into loving myself, even with the epilepsy.”
You could have heard a pin drop in that cavernous gym.
Unconditional love. Love with no expectations, no desired outcome and no strings attached. Loving…simply because. Girls on the Run creates a space, not necessarily for girls to be themselves, but to simply BE…what/who/however she/it/that shows up.
When have you experienced unconditional love? Who do you love unconditionally…I mean really love without any expected return? Let me know at email@example.com.