Learning from Stephen Grosz's 'The Examined Life'
I like these lessons too. For me, it’s kind of the other way around in that I was a parent long before I was a runner. But lessons I’ve learned that apply to both are:
- take it one day, or mile, or minute at a time when you need to. You don’t need to fret about whether the kid is going to get into college when you just need him to sleep through the night. And you don’t need to fret about whether you can run a marathon when you’ve just started the couch to 5k program and just need to get off the couch.
- no one, no kid, no parent and no training schedule is perfect. “Lighten up Francis”
- there *are* times when sugar is the thing to get you through. Use it strategically.
I learned about a good catch phrase “run the mile you are in” from another runner a couple of weeks ago. It means to be present in the moment while running. I’m a mother of two boys and have a demanding career. Running in the moment has trained me to be “present” when my boys have engaged in a dialogue with me. I’ve learned to focus better on what is in front of me. As I run forward with each step, I look at what’s immediately ahead of me and not distracted by what’s a quarter a mile ahead of me. When my boys engage in dialogue, I stop and listen to them rather than thinking about the next thing I’ll say or get distracted with thoughts of my to do list. I wasn’t good at being present when my boys were younger but I have gotten better at it as I picked up a more consistent habit of running. Training the body to be physically present helps train the body to be mentally present.
Thank you for the discussion on this topic Terrell!
Perfectly stated…. As you say a lot of runs you don’t feel like doing…. But when you do because you listened to your mind over the devil…and empathy is born……To be present for another …. To be listened to…. With no other agenda but to be listened to by another…. Is sooooo necessary for well being. Thank for sharing.
Have you ever read the Inner Game of Tennis, by Gallwey? I've never played Tennis, but it was recommended by Terry Laughlin a number of years back when he was talking to Danny Dreyer of Chi Running. Maybe you've read the Inner Game of Golf. . . In any event, he had some observations that have stuck with me forever. One is "keep your eye on the stitching" and Two is "praise is the reverse form of criticism." Focus, focus, focus is the key as some of your other readers mentioned.
I cannot say I've learned so much on parenting as I've learned from running while being a parent. Were it not from the solitude and space I get while out on a run, I'm sure I would be a lot harder Mom to get along with. Running gives me the time to think of answers while outdoors. I normally do not give advice either. I've learned better, but I have learned to observe. . .
It has been cold and wet--colder and wetter tomorrow. Who knows if I can get marathon training going in the winter. If not, so be it. Yoga, strength training and the treadmill will have to do! Can't tell you how much I love my new sandals! They are much better than I ever expected! :)
So many great lesson here, Terrell!
People often ask where I learned something about writing or leadership or whatever, and I find it often goes back to the running!
I loved this piece Terrell. You’re a fantastic writer, and you even got me to consider running! (I’ll stick with Pilates for now 😉)
I’m no runner anymore. When I was a kid, yes. Was a bit of an athlete, tomboy. I loved this article where and how it went there.
To tend, attend, tending -- being present with. I used to work with children. In some degree I still do, with “inner children” in grown ups. Children tell you what they’re dealing with through their play, drawings, stories. That’s what I got to do with the young children with whom I worked.
Now with adults, their inner children, often situations and circumstances left them with unfinished business, with incomplete developmental stages that are often brought out when parenting children of the same age! We all have them. So we get the chance to do it -- it’s like getting a do-over.
The connection with real relating in running groups was wonderfully put. That’s another area I like to foster in people. I call it essential conversation because the Presence of what is essential to life exists in every soul. To be able to be as we are with others in an open accepting way is Presencing with One another. It’s a great gift. Often has touches of grace in it.
Thank you. Good parenting wishes to you.
I first started running to get in shape and beat the competition in high school. Like everything else in my life, my running evolved. I ran to clear my head and search for answers to questions that plagued me raising a problematic son. Now, I run for me. With compression sleeves on both knees, I listen to tunes on my Apple watch and reminisce about a pretty damn good life and the things I still want to do.
I’ve learned so much about myself from running that has allowed me to be a more present person first and a more present parent second. The other thing running has taught me is self-compassion is key to overall compassion. I had an early run planned for yesterday morning and my oldest came in at 4 am with a bad dream and my youngest woke up at 5 am ready to go. I strapped my youngest in the running stroller and brought him along for the ride while the oldest snuggled with his other mom. It truly was the most lovely morning! I feel like before kids, I would have been so annoyed with myself for not getting out earlier or frustrated with how this didn’t work out the way I originally planned. It just worked out 😊