Over the last couple years I’ve become a mantra hoarder. A quote hoarder. I seek them out, I save them, I print them out, I repeat them, I make them up, I write them over and over again. Sometimes they don’t mean much, other than a way to focus myself on the present moment– agility, and non-agility, too. I do my best not to sound like a fortune cookie when friends ask for advice but damnit if I don’t sometimes– sorry, guys
I’ve been working for a long time on being nicer to myself. Something that seems so simple, but was much harder to actually practice. I’ve written about this before, but I always thought that the more you tore yourself down the more likely you were to rise up and get better. But the truth of it was that the more I tore myself down the more I stayed down. The more you tell yourself that you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not fast enough, not young enough– the more you begin to believe it. There will already be too many people in the world who, through their words and actions,will tell you to think those things about yourself (this is when one of my hoarded quotes comes in handy: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” — thanks, Eleanor). Because that’s what it ultimately comes down to: no one will “make” you feel anything. You feel it. You can choose to feel what will make you better. You can choose the way you respond.
I’ve seen many friends struggle with confidence lately– myself included. When I came back to showing AKC recently (read: Points) Bolt and I struggled to find our groove. Our dance began to miss its rhythm. I was out of step, not in time with our own personal music, not trusting myself to lead. (Enough imagery for this paragraph, no?). But this is what it felt like. Because we have been pretty good partners all along– and yet I found myself overanalyzing and flunking basic courses. It happens. My mental game had lapsed in all that time off– my focus was on other things: a new job, moving twice, a wedding dress and all that comes with it, plus so much else. Not an excuse, but a reason for it. I had to take a step back, and I had to be honest with myself.
We must be honest. I hadn’t been training, and I hadn’t been practicing my mental strategy like I did before. So I chose to return to that. I looked back on those mantras, and rewrote them to fit our current situation. I repeated them each morning and before every run. I pulled sequences and set them up in the backyard. I made an actual training plan before going to train so our time would be used more wisely. I did my best to keep my heart light, but my mind fierce— that’s a tough balance some days. The past two weeks we regained our familiar pattern. We trusted, we talked. We had a couple of those really magic-filled runs. I think it must have resonated from us because I received kindness back that I haven’t felt in so long.
A weekend can be a confidence-killer. It can also be the ultimate confidence-booster. The thing is we never know what the weekend will bring, and how we respond ultimately determines what we take away from it. 8 runs, 6 Q’s, 127 points in two weeks. #TulsaOrBust is complete. We are back in our groove– our imperfect, perfect dance. How fitting then that my planner this week quotes Aesop: “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”
So noble souls will we be. Grateful to run, grateful to travel, grateful for those who surround us, and welcoming of what comes with it.
I want to take this feeling with me to Tennessee this week.
And so I will.