6/3/19: Thank You, And Good Bye.
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Hi, my name is MK Fleming. I'm a run coach based in Denver, Colorado. But this isn't a podcast about running, exactly. Don't tell my clients, but *whispers* we're never really talking about the running. When you know a crap-tastic event is coming it helps to have a mantra to keep you centered and focused as you move through it. You don't have to be an athlete to be hashtag #coachedandloved by coach MK. And if you are here, then you are hashtag #winningatlife.
Today’s mantra is: “Thank you, and Good Bye.”
I’m recording this mantra on Sunday, June 2, 2019. Tomorrow, my baby, the last baby that will ever emerge from my body, HRH The Baby Violet….starts Preschool.
How the hell did that happen?
To say that it’s been a year of change is an understatement. I feel like I’ve had whiplash since..well really since 2011, but continuously since 2017. 2015 and 2016 were the years when things FINALLY started coming together. When I think about 2017, I have to stop myself from thinking of it as “the year things started coming apart.” Every time I’m through the worst of it something else comes apart and I feel...destabilized.
That sounds dramatic, but If you had asked me in 2016 what the foundations of my life were, the pillars on which everything rests, I would have named three things. Three short years later only one of those things still claims me back and I am clinging to a second by my fingernails while no one notices. Including me, because omg May is really busy.
I’ve been busy but I’ve also been down. It’s hard to lift others up when you are down. Which sucks because lifting people up is quite literally my job and I LOVE my job. Running is usually my source of joy, and even that has been sucking. That’s how you know it’s bad- at first I thought I was overtrained, which like REALLY COME ON how is this happening???? I talked to my doctors, my coaches, my PT. EVERYONE. But we’re never really talking about the running, and the running was a symptom, not the source.
You see, the most recent thing to come apart, the one I had been refusing to face, the thing I really didn’t want to deal with, came to a head recently when I was in Philadelphia. Until I found myself unable to sleep for multiple nights on end, I hadn’t truly been aware of the amount of emotional stress I was under, how upset I really was. How small I felt. How unimportant I am to something that was massively, incredibly important to me. How my second home was no longer a home for me.
Even with all those warning signs I only realized this earlier this week in a conversation with a friend I’d lost touch with around the time I became bed-bound. I’d been going through a lot and so had she, and in catching up I found myself saying things I hadn’t wanted to say, because once you do it’s real. It’s news. And I realized why I hadn’t been sleeping, why I’m overtrained, why even a run doesn’t sound good to me right now. The body doesn’t differentiate between physical and emotional stress, and I was stressed to the max. Something else was coming apart and I couldn’t stop it.
This friend invited me to church with her, which caught me off guard, and it’s 12 miles and 20 minutes away but we went this morning. For my friend. For our friendship. I’ll do it once. The sermon was about Phillippians 4, which I’ve heard referred to as The Letter of Joy...which is ironic because the guy who wrote the letter is in prison and is miserable and he’s writing this letter to his people in Phillipi telling them how to get through this terrible period without him, their spiritual leader. This is where the, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “In any place I find myself, I will therein be content, I’ve been rich I’ve been poor,” etc etc.
But the line that caught me and has been bouncing around in my brain ever since I came home was this: whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are excellent, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—focus on these things.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because I say it frequently: count the wins, take the wins especially the small wins, focus on the work, don’t minimize your efforts, focus on what you CAN do, this isn’t letting yourself off the hook THIS mindset is how you keep going when you are doing work you don’t want to be doing, when you aren’t YET where you want to be.
I preach what I practice...but even I need to be preached to from time to time. This is where the universe needed me to be today, accepting the invitation I would normally NOT accept in a place I wouldn’t normally go to receive a message I spout frequently but desperately needed to hear.
It’s easier to look back on life and measure the changes, because those things are tangible. They had beginnings and ends. They are definite because they are in the past. Looking ahead is always harder, scarier, more uncertain, because the future hasn’t happened yet. But in some ways, in really big ways, it’s less stressful. Instead of worrying, maybe we can choose the power of YET, trust that the best is really yet to come and if the things I had were never really mine and I found happiness, imagine how GOOD things will be when the foundation of my life, the pillars on which everything else rests, is totally and wholly, mine and they have all been choosing me back.
So, the mantra: if you are hanging on by your fingernails to something that doesn’t really belong to you anymore, that doesn’t really love you back, that doesn’t care how hard you’re working or notice the emotional toil you’ve been living with, maybe it’s time to think about letting go. Maybe it’s time to think about choosing the things that choose you back. Take the easy way forward. Not all commitments were meant to be kept forever, and you aren’t necessarily breaking a promise or being disloyal if you leave a situation that no longer works for you. Say Thank you to that situation for being there when you needed it, that’s why you’re there in the first place, and then say good bye.
It is hard, incredibly hard, to lift others up when you are down. I cannot imagine what it took for Paul to write that letter of Joy that became Phillippians 4. But if these words resonate with you at all, i absolutely can imagine what you are going through, because I’m going through it too. I’m grieving something that is firmly in the past. I’m ready to let go. You may not be there yet, and that’s ok. I’m never going to tell you how to feel or how to deal. What I can say, is that tomorrow, when I walk into a building that is no longer my second home and hasn’t been for awhile and send my baby to her first day of preschool, I won’t be angry- because I”m tired of being angry. I will say a silent prayer of gratitude to that building and everyone in it and what it meant to me and to my family for 6 years.
There was a lot of good in that period, and I’m going to focus on the good. I’m going to focus on the incredible gratitude I feel for a resource that was there when I needed it. I’m going to say thank you….and good bye...and I’m going to move on.
Then, I’m gonna get back to the business of lifting up everyone around me, the thing I do best and love the most, the thing I can’t do well when I’m standing on shaky pillars. Which means, I’ll be here ready to walk with you when you are ready for a new beginning of your own. I know this is the right choice, because as I hear myself saying it, I already feel less stressed.
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