January 6th: Back to the Grind

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Now, don’t think that I’m some kind of weirdo workaholic when I tell you this but, I was actually looking forward to coming back to work today after my two week winter break.  I WASN’T looking forward to getting up at 5:50am or driving almost an hour on the Turnpike to get there but, I was looking forward to getting back into my daily routine.

I enjoy feeling productive, feeling that I’ve made an impact in someone’s life even in the minimalist of ways.  I like that I can be creative daily and that I have flexibility to try new projects and ideas with the kids.  I also had fun catching up with co-workers and friends.

Gratitude: January 1st and January 2nd 2014

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2013 has not been the easiest… It began with inspiration, hope and promise but turned to heartbreak and disappointment towards the end.  But you know what?… It wasn’t the worst year ever either… I’ve done some amazing races and met some goals I never though possible.  I saw 2 of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World (Machu Picchu and Chichen Itza) and my family is in good health and we’re all together!

During my two weeks off from school, I’ve spent some much needed time resting and thinking and have processed everything that has occurred.  This is all I can say:

1.  I am proud to be the kind of strong woman who remains positive and has belief that things can be better despite everything I went through in 2012.

2.  I have finally realized that the BEST things that have ever happened to me have been those that have so effortlessly fallen into my lap that I felt almost guilty about having them because it was though I hadn’t “earned” them… In turn, the WORST things that have happened to me have been the result of me trying to fruitlessly and painfully force a square peg into a round hole…

3.  I am pretty awesome and am not going to waste time hanging out with people who don’t agree 🙂  Because, if I love you… I think you’re pretty awesome too.

4.  I am surrounded by the most beautiful group of loving friends and family in the Universe.  I am proud of this because I have fostered (and continued to foster) these relationships.

I’ve decided to dedicate a few minutes of my day, EVERY DAY this year to think about what I am grateful for and log it on this blog.  The first few days of this year I have spent time running, hanging out at the beach and thinking about all that I am thankful for…  and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Jan. 1st:  I’m grateful for my health and my body’s ability to run.  I had a great 4 mile run with a new group and met up with a friend I haven’t really connected with much and had a wonderful time!

Jan. 2nd: I’m grateful for the gorgeous sunshine that finally came out today and allowed me to spend some time at the beach.  I have been coming to this same spot on the same beach since I was a little girl and it doesn’t get old….

The Small Stuff: The beauty of my Saturday morning route

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I am admittedly spoiled. I live in South Florida where people from other parts of the country come to vacation and aspire to retire. What could be better motivation to wake up at 5:30am every Saturday than a view of the ocean as the sun is rising? Believe me, it makes it worth every minute out of bed. Actually, early morning runs have not only privileged me to gorgeous sunrises but to some wildlife spottings that could rival a National Geographic film reel.

At one point, I was having so many cool sightings that my updates became an eagerly awaited topic of morning conversation between myself, my boyfriend and his daughters. Between red foxes and giant snapping turtles crossing the street, hawks chasing squirrels and dinosaur-sized iguanas sunbathing, it was getting pretty kooky! But, even the things that aren’t so kooky get me excited to be on my ocean-side Saturday morning route or even my weeknight route. A bright red cardinal sitting on a telephone wire, circular Sea Grape leaves rolling like wheels on short golf grass, boats tied up in their docks bobbing in the water and a handsome (and very fast) man waiting for me by the car with a cold bottle of water… that’s the good stuff.

I wonder, however, how many people actually take the time to notice these small things or even get pleasure from witnessing them.

I once had a co-worker at the hospital I previously worked at who would teach his patients about “mindfulness.” “Mindfulness” is the ability to be truly present and to find pleasure in the HERE AND NOW. It was a difficult concept for many of his patients to master, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t able to be truly mindful at that time in my life either. I mean, it’s not easy to get out of the madness in your own head! With some time, growth and self-reflection, however, I’ve come to realize that although getting giddy about seeing a red cardinal on a telephone wire is pretty nuts, it’s just me being mindful of the awesomeness in the details of life. And those details bring me joy.

* Where are your favorite routes?
* When is your favorite time to run?
* What amazing things have you been witness to on your runs?
* Are you mastering being “mindful”?
* What small details in life give you joy?
Please share your stories and pictures!