Sunday, March 17, 2013

Enough With the Whining!

I've had thousands of problems in my life, most of which never actually happened.

Mark Twain

"Stop your whining"

Twain had it right. The problems we experience are mostly in our head. They exist as worries, dread, fear, and anxiousness.  Some problems are big, and painful and they're in your face, I get that, but most of the problems that plague us are simply figments of our imagination. They worm their way through our brain and lodge themselves snuggly and firmly.  Left unchallenged they lead to defeatist attitudes and they have the potential to change our life's trajectory.  

This morning .. actually, let's back up a bit... last evening I was dreading today's 16 mile run.  The weather is lousy and more snow is on the way. Treacherously jagged ice lines the sidewalks and snowdrifts tall as bungalows make me feel insignificant. The wind is relentless and causes the skin on my knuckles to crack and bleed. I seem to be frozen in a block of prehistoric time. All of this is breaking my running spirit.  

The problem is that I'm sick and tired of the cold and I want to run in warm weather. This is a problem that I can't control. It's lodged in my brain, but it's not real. Sure the cold is real enough, but big deal, it's cold, get over it. Instead of thinking about how fortunate I am, how healthy I am, how I have nothing to complain about, I choose to whine. Instead of thinking about people with real problems, people whose lives are devastated by illness or by loss, I choose to whine.  The whining doesn't make it warmer, it doesn't make me feel better, but I continue to whine like a baby.  These thoughts we have, they steep in our brain in a compote of negative energy.

I pulled on my shoes this morning and layered up with a little vaseline on my cheekbones and headed outside, solemnly, reluctantly for a 16 mile run... Okay, let's get this dance over with ... Within minutes I find my stride. I feel my body warming on the cold dark street and I listen to the rhythmic sound of my feet on the pavement. I sense the presence of my heart, strong and surging with life force. My breathing is calm and my legs pump hard as if forever young.  And I feel wonderful and full of joy as I run down cold dark streets with snow piled high and the wind in my face. These streets, the same streets that moments before existed in my mind with dread and forebode, are now soft and inviting.

I hooked up with some pals at mile three, and ran ten with them, and then another three home for 16. Home, with steamed hot chocolate, a warm fire blazing, and a soft bed awaiting.  Happiness and life in abundance.  Thoughts of goodness firmly planted in my mind.

So dear reader, if you have a problem, think.  Is this a real problem or is it a figment of your imagination? If it's the latter shake it off and slip on the sneakers.   

You know it friends, it's a good day to be alive.