Sunday, January 23, 2011

Will power vs willingness

  In a matter of 10 minutes I came across two different articles that mentioned stoicism.  What are the odds as I sit here thinking that my goals for the year are off and my attitude is off as well.  Alright Universe, you have my attention.  The friendly reminders in the form of friends writing about running meditation piqued my interest and now you have my full attention.

 Jaymon and I sit and drink coffee in the mornings and spend time on the computer intermittently cooking and interacting with the kids.  He came across this article.   I found it perfectly fit my morning of profundity since I was simultaneously reading this blog post.

  My goals are a way of structuring and monitoring my self improvement and growth and I have become stagnant in the idea of destination.  Take for instance wanting to run 50 miles at Mind the Ducks. Up until today  I was consumed with the number of miles collected. Today my "maybe mindset" says how about focusing on the fact that I am going to ride a train half way across the country, by myself, stopping and exploring new cities, meeting old and new friends along the way, and running with them.  With that perspective the number of miles pales in comparison.  I will be running for longer hours than I ever have before.  I love to run so thats not a thing to attain but an experience I look forward to and will share it with others that are also passionate about running.  Hence the willingness instead of will. 

Here is a blurb from the Will power vs Willingness article.

The will tends to think it has all the answers and it doesn't relish asking for directions. Willingness, on the other hand, is full of open-minded inquiries, like: How might I go about getting started on this project? What would happen if I tried this? What would be most helpful now?
Where the will never says die, willingness is continually reborn -- and it gets smarter and stronger each time around.

  This idea of willingness is what I was going for when I made a goal to be aware of my polar thinking and be open to "maybe" instead of my usual "no" which seems safer. The understanding however had not been solidified and clear as it is now and now I can consciously be aware of it instead of just having a notion.
  Over the years I have learned that "No" or "failure" is not as scary as success or the possibility of failure.  A known failure is known and therefore not frightening. I want to change this about myself but the force of my will is only going to perpetuate this old habit.  

"The problem with the will is that it's one hard-driving taskmaster -- but it tends to cement itself to a static idea of success and, thus, to constant reminders of the potential for failure."  
This quote struck home with me and made me think that I needed to refine my goals for this year and focus on my attitude about what I want to accomplish.  One of my goals to do things that frighten me is more about saying yes instead of no and standing up to that fear of the unknown with an open heart and mind and saying "maybe" or "what if".  
  I want to get in touch again with how lovely it is to run for the sake of doing it.  The mileage goals motivate me to get out the door however once my body is moving the goals take the backseat and being present takes over which leads to happiness and contentment and a sense of satisfaction when the run comes to an end even if I didn't meet my goals for said run.  Most often however the feeling of being exactly where I want to be at this place in time leads to being better than I thought possible.  
  A goal to focus on being present and mindful for part of every run will bring me greater satisfaction than running X amount of miles.  One of the beauties of barefoot running is that I am more likely to be encouraged into the present moment though all of the sensory feedback I receive from my feet touching the ground.   

I am thinking that 1500 miles is too much to shoot for happily.  That number will still be sought after but 1200 seems like enough to do more than I did last year without taking away from other parts of my life that are equally important and besides I can't predict the future and anything can happen.   Last year it was anemia that came out of seemingly nowhere.  Now I am struggling with a bacterial infection in my stomach that is possibly leading to an ulcer and they very well may be connected.  That is undoubtedly  a reason to practice being mindful.  I am obviously and knowingly not managing my stress.  It became blatantly evident when I felt pain in my stomach when we found out that my father in law has colon cancer and was operated on the next day.  He seems to be recovering and its still to early to know the prognosis but for me it was a wake up call that I need to actively be aware of my stress and make an effort to practice mindful breathing.  The best time for me to meditate is through movement like yoga and running. If I don't practice being mindful I may find myself not being able to run at all if I don't manage my stress.

  I was on the right track with my goals this year but with a willingness attitude I am now able to refine my goals instead of bailing on them altogether.  This is an improvement in and of itself so Yay me!
Heres to being willing to grow and understand. Heres to happiness and contentment along the way.


Tortuga_Runner said...

This is an amazingly perfect post for me today. Thanks for the links to the philosophy blog and article too. I needed to refocus on why I am doing what I am doing.

Penny said...

What a great post Angie. It really got me to thinking. I need to start focusing differently.

The Green Girl said...

I love it. ::holds glass of water in the air::

Frances aka "Barefoot Fresca" said...

You know, I wouldn't be surprised if, with this kind of resolution and approach, you do and achieve more than you planned for this year.

Pattie said...

I feel the same way too! There is to much in my life that gets me down and I need to do what you are doing. I get the stomach problems the migraine headaches the stress. That is why I named mine Where is Peace! I need to do what you mention this year! I don't want to stop running but I do want to do Mindfully!! Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

this post means a lot to me. Mindfulness, breathing , and being present are the tough parts of yoga for me. The asanas are the easy part.
I think with so many changes going on,even good ones,you are bound to see that stress emerge somewhere. I hope your stomach gets better. Liz F

Nikki Kendall said...

Needed this post today! Thanks Angie!

Emz said...

Amazing post.

Don't even want to think about how long this took to write but I am so grateful you did.

I have never stopped to think about will vs. Willingness.

Truly. Awesome.

Richelle said...

Thanks for this post, Angie! Hope your stomach feels better soon!

Pattie said...

Please get well soon!!

Pattie said...

Please get well soon!! I have stomach problems all the time!

MCM Mama said...

Great post!

Since you generally enjoy running and sometimes just need a little motivation to start, why not set a goal of number of days to run this year or in a month or even in a week. Then, once you are out there, run what makes you happy - whether that's 3 miles or 13 miles, just enjoy yourself...

funderson said...

amen! : )

Barefoot Mama said...

Thank you for this post. :)

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