That was an excuse!
Pushing past the excuses & doing the thing you don’t want to do, always leads to the best stuff!
This past weekend, my friend Anne visited from MN and saw that struggle when she noticed how far “up” I am in my current weight. I’m guessing she also noted that there was not quite as much pep in my step. Being the “rock star” friend that she is, Anne asked me to get up early and go for a walk the next morning. We did.
On our walk, Anne inquired as to why I had not been doing my power walking this spring — we used to walk together in MN and she knows I love it and need it. “The weather has really sucked,” I responded. “The road is dangerous, and not scenic.”
And there it was! Three excuses in a row = Lori in a rut, stuck and struggling. Can you relate?
Most of us do it from time to time. But what struck me this time was that I caught myself almost as I was doing it! I recognized that this is not the healthy and happy “Lori in the zone” talking. So I started to break it down.
Like many rural roads in Maine, Coastal Road has hills and absolutely no shoulder, so you really do need to pay attention to traffic. We donned our bright yellow jackets and Anne proved to me that with a little waving in advance of oncoming traffic, we would survive! Of course, I knew this, but the walk was more enjoyable with an accountability partner.
When Anne left, I committed to myself (and to her) that I would continue power walking 6 days a week. I set a goal to walk for 1+ hour before I started my work day. To make sure I sprung out of bed early and excuse free, I used the Mel Robbins 5-second rule to launch myself — without thinking about it or talking myself out of it, I counted 5-4-3-2-1-go!
On Tuesday, my first solo trip back in action, it was a beautiful day. I started thinking about my conversation with Anne and my reasons, aka excuses, for not doing it.
1) The weather sucked. Well, yes, we’ve had an unusually wet spring with about 7 straight days of rain and colder than normal temps. But, it wasn’t bitter cold winter. I have walked in the rain — for years without excuse. And, it’s May! Not every day this spring has been rainy. That was clearly an excuse.
2) The road is dangerous. It is! But in my two days of walking with Anne in our bright yellow, we were fine. The strategy is to wave to the oncoming traffic well in advance and remain alert. Most people are great about moving over for walkers if they see you. So, yes, that too was an excuse.
3) It’s not scenic. I think what I meant was, it’s not ocean scenic. This Ocean Girl loves the ocean vistas and walks with the strategy – while in Maine seek out as many ocean vistas as possible! Well…
Walk with me past the excuses to see what’s on the other side
So on Tuesday, with cell phone in hand, I decided to take photos of the walk so I would remember it when I move from Brooksville. It only took about .25 of a mile before I had an ah-ha moment — this is totally scenic and I love it! It’s just scenic in a different way. I walk past local farms, like my neighbor David’s Folly, where I am greeted enthusiastically by the chickens. I stroll past the country side as it begins turning lush spring green and things are starting to bloom and bud. And I love spring!
I walk by a beaver dam and today the beaver is out enjoying a swim in the early morning sun. Farmers are readying their equipment for work in the fields. The birds are chirping and peepers peeping. As I pass Tinder Hearth, I smell the fresh bread that is available today on the honor system — a sure sign you are in a small rural place.
A sense of calm and peace come over me as I stroll past Iyengar Yoga Center, remembering my first few meditation classes there. Joy and hope fill my heart as I hit Brooksville Elementary just as the kiddos are arriving at school and I spot the school sign that reads: “I smell the flowers blooming, opening for spring.”
I decide to turn down South Wharf Road to explore the unknown — though Anne had cautioned that it would add at least another mile to the trek. I know that I still have to climb two hills on the way back, so this may not be a good idea, but I go for it. Immediately, I’m pleased to find less traffic on this road, woods on one side of me and open fields on the other.
There is something awesome about venturing into the unknown. My mind and heart open with anticipation. I feel a sense of freedom as I breathe in deep and toss up a note of gratitude to the Universe that I am here and can do this walk. I am happy to be back on the trail and appreciating this amazing place.
Then, the best part…
I head down the gravel road past the “Dead End” sign, past more cute little farms, and happen on a new-to-me breathtaking ocean vista! The surprise reward. I recognize the view of Castine across the bay because I see it from a different vantage point every day. But this is all new to me, and only about 2.5 miles from home!
It is low tide and I have the whole exposed beach to myself. I explore way out where Penobscot Bay meets the tidal Bagaduce River, and note that “State of Maine” (ship for Maine Maritime Academy) looks far bigger from this vantage point. The warm sun greets me, the seagulls are noisy as they forage for breakfast, and the sounds of the ocean gurgle at low tide. It is beautiful, meditative, and immediately deemed a new happy place. Oh, and yep, this qualifies as scenic!
The lesson and the gift
Of course if I had not pushed past the excuses and launched myself back into my morning power walking routine (with the support of Anne), I never would have discovered this vista and the rural beauty all around me! Nor, would I have experienced the energy and mindfulness that I feel in this place.
If I had kept making excuses, I might never have seen what was right in my backyard! Something I craved and longed for when I lived in MN. But even better, I would not have gotten back in my routine of “just doing it” and getting myself back on track.
How many times do we psych ourselves out by overthinking, or just plain quitting in our minds before we start? Honestly, I can’t think of one time that I’ve pushed past my excuses and my fear, and regretted it. Almost always there is something better on the other side, including self-confidence. Almost always, I think “wow,” that was great and this is where I am meant to be!
My new walk is a 4.5-5 mile jaunt. It takes me about 1.75 hours if I stop at the ocean and meditate, exploring the tides and allowing myself to be grateful for this journey. I walk past farms, woods, the school, a church, neighbors Tinderhearth Bakery, Iyengar Yoga and David’s Folly. And on the home stretch, I am challenged by 2 hills and some blind spots where I have to pay attention to traffic.
So, for anyone feeling stuck in excuse mode, I say, recognize it and push past it. Just past those excuses, there might be something really great. Let me know!
P.S. Enjoy these photos from my unscenic walk! 😉