To be a one-woman revolution, it’s important to focus on our abilities, strengths, and passions – to gain confidence and courage from those things – and let that confidence spill into all areas of our life. This is how courage is built.
I think the best way to be a courageous one-woman revolution (other than being afraid of something and simply doing it anyway) is to build upon our passions.
It’s vital to build upon and actively nurture the mission statement you create because I’m guessing that’s where your passions reside.
Something I’ve noticed that really kicks ass is that a person’s passions can actually ignite other people’s passions as well. This brings positive energy into not only our own lives but into other people’s lives as well.
Think of being at a concert and the energy that’s produced by the singer, the band, and the crowd around you. When I was young, back in the Stone Ages, we lit torches at concerts and held them high above our heads, to show the band that we were moved by their music and badassery. Okay, they weren’t torches, they were lighters, which have now been replaced by cellphone flashlights. Regardless of what light source is used at a show, the example still holds true. There’s a ripple effect of energy produced that’s truly euphoric.
There’s an expression that goes: “we get lost in the things we love, but we find ourselves there as well”. I can’t agree with it more.
I also believe we find our courage, purpose, and voice when we find ourselves. In essence, I have found both myself and my life’s purpose, in running. It’s a passion that has given me many gifts and granted me the courage to share these gifts with girls in need. Like a genie in a bottle, your run will grant you what you need.
There is a strong connection (and sometimes a very big difference) between running with your legs and running with your heart and soul. A run isn’t just done physically, it can also cause you to psychologically run the gamut of your emotions, at times when you least expect it.
There are days when you squeeze a run in when you can, and it suits no other purpose than to get in some mileage, get home, shower, and on with the rest of your day. As if this isn’t enough of an accomplishment all on its own.
You’ve got things to do and the unemotional run, although energising and fulfilling, is just something you do right before the next place you need to be.
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Then there are those runs that help to jump-start your mind, like jumper cables on a car battery. These are the highly productive runs that can make you feel like an Olympic athlete, mom of the year, and CEO all rolled into one.
A mental house cleaning run enables you to get inside your head and visit each room one by one, prioritising and creating mental to-do lists.
These runs are pretty awesome and always bring about a huge sense of accomplishment because you feel like you not only got your run in, but you simultaneously sorted through your life’s worries and changed your mental to-do’s into actual to-done’s. No list is too great when you’re high on endorphins. You can do it all. Bring it on, world.
Occasionally, I even have a run that I would consider to be a serious training run. These are the runs where the entire time my legs are moving, and my heart is pumping hard within my chest, I’m concentrating on an upcoming race and mentally preparing myself for how I might feel on race day.
These runs are comprised of mental body scans, connecting directly with every twinge or ache that might be talking to me and sending little warnings from my hip or Achilles to my brain. I go inside my head and think about what race day may bring – the mileage that day, the heat or weather, and how I will feel in my head, and my stomach, and, of course, crossing the finish line.
Then there are the emotional runs. The ones that feel like I’m the only person on the planet, and my legs feel powerful and strong but my mind is a blank canvas – until I hear a certain song on my iPod, or a very emotionally charged thought pops into my head and stays there like a cement kite.
The thought runs with the rhythm of my legs and moves me emotionally, often evoking tears that make my even breaths feel like exercise-induced asthma. I can count on one hand how many times I have burst out into an audible sob while I was running. Recently, I added one more of those to the total count on my virtual Abacus.
The weather was cold, so I had to psych myself up to go outside to run. Often, these end up being my best runs – much like the nights when you don’t want to go to a party, but you tell yourself you’ll only stay for an hour, and end up staying until 2am.
I stepped out into the crisp, early January air with the hope of getting a 30-minute post-holiday mental house cleaning run, but ended up with an emotionally driven and empowering 90-minute run instead. At about 20 minutes into the run, I began to feel taller with my posture and legs somehow elongated. As my legs turned over, they actually felt like machines set to auto-pilot. I wasn’t cold anymore, and everything seemed right in the world.
Even the sun came out, causing me to squint like a happy, rebellious Vampire. My iPod was set to shuffle because I like my music to surprise me and to see how my body reacts to the random eclectic playlists that are chosen for me. When Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” played in my ears, I was instantly transported into my soul.
I felt that the song was not only written for me from my father but that it was specifically chosen for me to hear today – while my mind, body, and soul had its full attention, and could properly receive its message.
As a child, I had some trauma that I didn’t deal with properly and, as a result, there were some pretty dark times in my life as a young, blossoming adult. I was a hothouse flower with a hot head, trying to survive in an (often self-imposed) cold world.
I never felt sorry for myself, which is a good thing, but there were some out-of-control years that I’m not proud of, with the period between age 21 until about 28 among my worst. These were the years that the anger, self-hate, and feelings of worthlessness reared their ugly head, and I was given the choice to do the work and slay the beast or to become the beast.
I was, admittedly, scared. It was extremely frightening to think about where my life was going to end up, and to face the long road of confronting my inner demons, and forgiving those who wronged me while learning to love myself. These were daunting and seemingly impossible tasks at that time.
The only person who always stood by me, even at my worst, was my dad. He was my rock, and he always told me that heaven had a plan for me. He used those words. He believed in me when no one else did and constantly told me that I didn’t need to worry.
My father is no longer alive, but his love for me (and the messages he wishes to remind me of) are often placed in my heart while I’m running. This time, I heard it loud and clear, even though I keep my iPod volume way too high, and I burst into a sob.
My legs just kept going (while my breathing was chopped to bits), choosing to ignore the cries, as if they had their own set of earbuds with the volume cranked too high.
The tears weren’t all about me, however, and the message was two-fold because it brought to light the many emails, phone calls, and conversations that come from so many of my girls in Girls with Sole. They often tell me how scared they are; how out of control their lives feel; and how they fear their feelings of worthlessness or ugliness will never go away.
It’s now my turn to be the rock and to let them know there is a plan for them. The plan is to show them that there are people in their lives that care and that I know things can seem hopeless, but if you take care of yourself and stay healthy and strong with exercise and hard work, anything is possible.
The plan is for me to be there and to bring Girls with Sole to them so that they can bring themselves across life’s many finish lines. “Don’t you worry child, see, heaven has a plan for you.”
By getting lost in the music, art, fitness, nature, philanthropy, or whatever it is that you’re passionate about, you will begin to discover the courage needed to build and construct your design for change, for being who you are, who you want to be or for chasing and attaining the life you want.
This is an excerpt from Girls with Sole by Liz Ferro. Girls with Sole is available on Amazon and Audible.
This article was originally published on A Girl In Progress.