It's taken almost 8 weeks since Ben's birth, but I finally made it out to hit the pavement, by myself, to do more than a walk. Yes, I actually ran on Sunday morning. It wasn't pretty to look at (although I really don't consider myself a great runner either way) but it was good for my soul.
The weather is finally cooling off in the mornings and evenings here in north Florida so there was just a slight chill in the air. The sun was rising and there were beautiful pink streaks of clouds in the sky. My body actually felt like running, or I'll say moving faster.
I stayed in my neighborhood and just enjoyed the quiet ambiance as well as picked up ideas for my yard from my many creative neighbors. I found myself down one of my favorite streets because all of the yards are so pretty. One particular tree caught my eye because it had huge, beautiful hanging white flowers that looked like bells. I noticed the tree was moving and then realized the owner was doing something to it. I couldn't resist; I had to ask. "Excuse me sir! What is that tree? It's so beautiful." From behind the shaking flowers emerged the older man who I would then spend about 10 minutes getting to know and learning about his many beautiful plants, including the one that first caugt my eye, an Angel Trumpet. I love to grow plants so I really enjoyed learning about several unique plants he had and how to care for them. I've decided my next plant purchase will be a plumeria. Have you ever smelled a real plumeria? It's worth tracking one down.
What's the point of telling you all that? My morning run was not long, or really intense. (I think I ran 2 miles total at a super slow pace. In the grand scheme of my workout goals, this didn't accomplish much.) But being outside, experiencing the sunrise, meeting a new neighbor, and enjoying nature did so much more for my body, mind and heart.
I'm learning right now (and will forever be doing so) to be compassionate to myself. This is a word my good friend spoke to me this past week as I voiced my frustrated over how unproductive I feel in this season of my life. I daily deal with not being able to "get things done" or finish projects - anything from grading an assignment, exercise, blogging, calling a friend, cleaning the house, and even feeling like I didn't love on my kids enough. It leaves me exhausted and inpatient, longing for life to switch to another time and become more efficient. Yikes! Even just typing that convicts my heart.
My run this morning helped me be present today in my circumstances, however messy they are right now. (Although I still struggle at this very moment trying to finish this post while hearing my babies wake up from their naps. I need 15 more minutes!) Compassion to myself means that I can try to accept that life is hard right now, and it may stay hard for a while. Compassion to myself reminds me that I need to constantly remember the most important priorities in my life and let the chips fall where they may. Compassion to myself attempts to accept that one day I will run a long-distance again and fit into my clothes. And most importantly, compassion to myself means that I can open my heart in a bad moment of the day to receive the compassion and love Christ has for me. That is the real game-changer.
So this week, take a few minutes to get outside and pound the pavement at any pace. Open your eyes and heart to whatever may be out there to encourage you. You never know who or what may lift your spirits.
Have you learned to be compassionate to yourself? If so, please share in a comment. Or maybe you are struggling like I am. Either way, let's stick together...