Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Girls on the Run Effect

“When we tire of well-worn ways, we seek the new. The restless craving within our soul spurs us to climb, and to seek the mountain view.” Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I came across this video a couple of weeks ago. It fired me up. It awakened something I hadn’t felt for a while. Restlessness. Take a minute and watch it.

Oh…I wish. I wish I could find a home for the restlessness in my spirit. It definitely ebbs and flows…but right now… I feel it strong, pulling, and tidal in its effect on me.

The spirit housed within Girls on the Run is immense, powerful and magnificent. Do you feel it? The wave? The movement? The call?

I remember the first visual tug of it. I was sitting on the porch of my Uncle’s beach house. November 1st, 1995. My son, Hank, was nestled softly into my arms. He was just six weeks old. The cold wind of approaching winter swirled around us while the sun, like soft down tucked into quilted comforter draped across our two bodies… persuasively warming me and my baby to find comfort in sleep.

We slept for a time…my feet firmly planted on the floorboards beneath…leaning back ever so slightly on the hard rocking chair. He and I were occasionally stirred by the creaking of old wood wrestling with the powerful strong wind.

I drifted in and out of sleep…the pull and push of much needed new mother-sleep with the overwhelming joy of wanting to stay awake and know the new life resting there in my arms.

When it just came--the vision of it--somewhere in between the conscious space of this world and the other one. I’m still so amazed by the clarity of it:

I was running…over fields and streams, fast and deliberate…first on the soft landscape of nature and then onto the hard asphalt of city streets and alley ways. When out of nowhere, they emerged…little girls. Tall, short, small, little, black, white, brown, long hair, short hair, ribbons, baseball caps, dresses and shorts. They were laughing, smiling, ponytails flying, arms pumping. They were breathing with intensity, smiling with joy and bounding with strength. Thousands of them came--from every corner, every alley, every street, every field, until I was lost in the sea of them--the movement, the joy, the push, the pull, the tug and lift.

We ran up what appeared to be an infinite set of steps to peak high atop, with our hands in the air, leaping for joy, running in place, smiles on our faces and a feeling of ONE. Our strength and power uniting us.

I feel a sense of that now with the breadth of the program and its incredible reach. All of us--coaches, council directors, volunteers, GOTRI staff—we are all running in that immense span of change, hope and love.

And yet to still feel this restlessness…to know Girls on the Run, to know that what we have is so beautiful, magnificent, transformative and available while so many girls are still tucked away, both realistically and metaphorically in alley ways, isolation and withdrawal.

I sit here now, oddly peaceful with the fact that our work will never be done, but hopeful enough to never, ever stop believing that it will be.

Where are you with your life's calling? Is there an ebb and a flow? Do you fire up and then bring it down? How do you balance your frustration, anger and restlesslessness with your hope, love and optimism? Let me know at

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