Gratitude is to Yearning as Acknowledgment is to Shame….and the Bucket List

This morning I am going to be running in the “Mud Hero” where I will find her waiting for me and raring to go and play in the mud! The course I am doing is 6km long and apparently has 18 obstacles. I signed up in February thinking I had lots of time to train..but I didn’t. Oops.

But that’s okay. Yesterday morning I became aware of the fact that, in what I try to convince myself is pushing myself to move forward and succeed in life is really not necessarily a positive thing as it also means I am have not been acknowledging what I HAVE done, how far I have come.

There has been a large movement and focus on gratitude in life, and I think that is great! It is important and does make a difference without a doubt. But to me it has almost become a passive thing. For example, I am grateful for where I was born, for the access to health care (even if we complain about a broken system it has been there when I need it), clean water, and easy access to food. All excellent things to be grateful for, but they are simply a result of where I was born, I did nothing to earn them.

Now, acknowledgement. This is a big and tough one for me. I was brought up in a way where perfection was stressed, to always seek to be better, brighter. But by always pushing myself I am not acknowledging what I have done. It is somewhat similar to focusing on what I am longing for instead of what I am grateful for having in my life and the cycle is just as vicious, and maybe moreso because you see acknowledgement is born from something active.

And here is an example.

I have worked hard to become much stronger physically. I can feel the muscles in my arms and the strength in my legs, yet my focus almost immediately goes to what I need to do to stop sabotaging myself because I have put on weight again (and to those supportive folks out there that want to say it is probably muscle, though some may be, regular BMI tests and the way my clothes fit tell me there has been a lot of fat gain). It takes the breath out of the fullfilling feeling of strength and goes straight to the shame of what I haven’t done (or perhaps even did knowing I shouldn’t). It is a weight that is never thrown off of my chest, if that is how I choose to live and focus. Buy I am aware now, and so the re-training of my brain and the thoughts that I allow or don’t allow can begin. That doesn’t mean I live in the past and let things slide since this is what I’ve accomplished and now I don’t need to seek anything else, but I can learn to find a different way to inspire and motivate myself.

One of those motivators is happening today in just a few short hours when I run the Mud Hero. And this is how it kind of ties in to my writing this morning…..I have never been great at goal setting and if someone asked me what’s on my bucket list I would likely respond with a bit of a blank stare. But as I was gearing myself up for this run it dawned on me as to how many boxes I get to check off with this one.

  • I get to shed responsibility and let my beautiful carefree child out to play in the mud, connecting to a memory of when I was about 8 or 9 playing in the puddles of our hotel courtyard when travelling with my Mom, Dad and sister in Hawaii.
  • I have wanted to do a Mud Run obstacle course thing since I first heard about them well over 10 years ago but was always too chicken to enter.
  • Even though I couldn’t find anyone to sign up with me I didn’t let the fact that “I’m alone” hold me back, and I am really looking forward to the day and interactions I will have.
  • Just last night I realized, HEY, THIS WAS A BUCKET LIST ITEM AND I AM DOING IT!!!!

And so this morning I am acknowledging my courage to sign up for something that was perhaps a little daunting for me, my excitement at going for it, and my attitude that it will be a lot of fun, even if it takes me 3 hours to do 6 km it will be like my golf game…the extra time it takes me just means I am getting my money’s worth on the course. LoL

And so today I wish for you the acknowledgement of what you accomplish without the yearning or shame of what more should have been done. May you surprise yourself by realizing that you, yourself, are in the middle of one of your own bucket list items, even if it is as simple as playing carefree in a mud puddle knowing there is laundry detergent as opposed to the big ticket jumping out of an airplane or scaling 5 of the world’s tallest peaks, because the bucket list isn’t about the size of the bucket but about how you feel acknowledging those moments!

With love, Glenna

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