aMuzing ramblings

insight into the mind of a Muz

Day 3: generosity
Today, I marked day three of the year with a third day of activity, a third day of walking dogs, and threw in a little free coffee for a stranger.  How often have you read those articles about Starbucks customers paying it forward and covering people behind them in line?  Today I decided to pull a Nike and "just do it".  It was a small gesture, but the little things are often the ones that catch others off-guard.  We all spend so much time in our own worlds, minds spinning about one issue or another that the brain is busily trying to resolve.  Pull your eyes away from your cell phone, friends; instagram and facebook can wait.  I challenge you to interact with real people, making real connections, and making a (positive) difference in someone's day.

Remember, doing something can be as small as offering a smile, and smiles are FREE!

January 3, 2014: Give.

Day 2: Mind/Body Connection
My resolve for the day was to get to yoga.  I made it to not just one, but TWO classes!  I had extra time on my hands because Ryan picked up a shift this evening, so I jumped on the opportunity.  I don't know about you, but I oftentimes find myself sitting around the house with the television on, absently watching old episodes of Friends because perhaps I've run out of things to do.  Yoga helps me focus internally, on how strong my body is, and what it's capable of, where my limits are, and how to push past those limits.  It gives me a rush that sitting on the couch doesn't ever achieve.

Also, the doggies got to go to the park again today, which was an added bonus for them.

January 2, 2014: Yoga, yoga, and more yoga to meet the mind/body connection. 

Resolutions on resolutions on resolutions.
I decided a long time ago that New Year's resolutions are not my favorite things, mainly because most people set the bar so high for themselves that they're bound to fail.  Additionally, the primary resolution on people's minds come January 1 is weight loss.  While I take no issue with people wanting to improve their overall health, if you're resolving to lose weight every January 1, something is clearly not sticking.

But I'm not planning to preach to you about the ill effects of yo-yo dieting or promoting taking an active role in implementing a healthy lifestyle.  You pick up any women's health magazine to inform yourself on that, although I'd be very surprised if you didn't already know what to do and just aren't actively engaging in it.

But I digress ...

This year I've resolved to make a new resolution each day. I'm hoping that in setting smaller goals and actually achieving them, I can encourage others to follow suit.  Of course, my overall resolution to write more should also be achieved because I intend to take a little time each day to document my progress.  And then, there's always the sideline resolution on the back burner to meditate more ... yes, I've got multi-fold resolutions going on, and you did read correctly that I don't do New Year's resolutions.

So let's redefine the term as a daily affirmation.  What one thing can I do today to improve upon myself and/or my positive impact on the world around me?

Today I'm starting with a simple idea to initiate my year of daily affirmations.

January 1, 2014: resolve to move.


What did I do to succeed in my resolve today?  I managed to get into the gym for an hour AND took my beautiful dogs out for a walk in the park.  I took time for myself and I brought happiness to my dogs.  The only other thing that would have brought more optimism to my day is a Rose Bowl win for Stanford, but fate had other things in mind.   

love, life, loss.
Every day people find love, they are blessed with (re-)new(ed) life, and they are stricken by loss. Life has never professed to be easy.  In fact, life has brought to our attention for hundreds of thousands of years that it is the toughest adventure around. And yet we keep at it.  Arguably speaking, living is a success in itself.

what's old is now new again.

In the past 4 months, I've been offered almost as many jobs.  I've even had to turn down one of them, a position in which I've never found myself.  And so, as I wind down my still new, but soon-to-become old job, I find myself wondering about things.  My mind never stops working, and that's probably going to drive me to the point of insanity, but as I reckon most women understand, where analysis can be performed, a woman's job is never done.

Management: you're trained in life (at least in the Silicon Valley) to want to move up, and constantly climb the ladder.  With each rung on the ladder comes a greater set of responsibilities, and a slightly larger army of people supporting you.  The flip-side issue is that, with the greater set of responsibilities that do not always build upon what you were doing before (although they should), comes a great deal of stress in trying to teach it to yourself because no one is going to offer guidance (the Stanford way).  And the people who do want to offer guidance have no idea what you're doing.  The people who offer are the smallest amount of help to you along the way, except to make you smile and feel like maybe someone around here cares whether you succeed at the skill of perpetually treading water among the sharks circling you.

People who can thrive in environments like this making working their lives.  People who don't have anyone to go home to at night, who don't mind staying until 11pm during the week and working full days on the weekends prefer to tip the balance toward their jobs.  Me, I'm a bigger fan of life and the bigger picture.  Work, while offering me great skillsets and the ability to work with some stellar people, is not the be-all/end-all of my life.  I work to live, I don't live to work.  I would say that should be everyone's mantra, but everyone has a different set of goals in life.

Me?  I see my job as a means to an end.  It's a means to support my bigger, more global goal of traveling the world.  It helps allow me to see the bigger picture, traveling to locations some people wouldn't dare get vaccinated for, and witness with my own two eyes how people in other parts of our world live and find their happiness.  I don't identify myself with my job, necessarily, because I don't prefer my job to define me.  I prefer my life to speak louder about who I am.

And who exactly am I?

I am a runner.

I am a sister.

I am someone's baby.
me baby

I am someone's girlfriend.

Some might call me screwed.

But that will never keep me from traveling.
DSC_0807 (1)

I'm just me.

regression is progression
I recently found a bunch of old journals from high school through to mid-college, and I have to say, I'm a little embarrassed.  I look at high school students today and whisper under my breath, "life really isn't that bad in high school," and I saw things I wrote about being lost, not knowing why, and not really knowing myself, let alone too much about the world around me. So to any of you kids who are complaining, fear not: life does get better, despite the fact that most adults complain about having to go to work, and personal lives still spawn heartache, pain, and suffering. As long as you can remind yourself of the little things that have made you happy as a kid, and translate them somehow into your adult life, the regression is progression.

Remember how you used to run around aimlessly in the park until you were so tired you didn't think you could run anymore ... and then you ran home? Those days were FUN.

Remember when you used to ride bikes in the local church parking lot until it was almost too dark to see? Those outings were fun too.

Do you remember hide and seek? We used to play in and around our neighbors' houses when I was little and growing up in a nice, safe community (kids, please don't do that now) .Let's make an adult league and remind ourselves how fun that was.

At my next birthday, I want a pinata, because I remember how fun it was to hear the snap of the bat against the cardboard, and knowing that I actually had enough hand-eye coordination to do that.

All these things we did without television, without computers, without cell phones.  And yet we lose track of how to be happy most days and opt to complain instead about something that doesn't feel right.

Regression is progression.

my 5th anniversary
It seemed fitting to me celebrating my 5th experience running the Nike Women's Marathon (I did the half, calm down) by running under Ryan Anderson because not only was this the 5th necklace I earned, the 5th instance of utter torture in the hills of SF, the 5th time I cried turning the corner to see the Pacific Ocean over the edge of the Great Highway, it's also the 5th year I've been dating my boyfriend.  He was so excited when he helped earn me my spot in the race, and his energy was infectious, and I just really felt so loved in that moment because he knows how much I love that course.  Barely a month can go by without me talking about it with someone.

And once again, I awoke in the 4 o'clock hour, pulled on my running running clothes with sleep in my eyes, slipped on my shoes and went through the Nike ritual.  Water, coffee, water, banana, water, water, wait ... put in my contact lenses, grab my running buddy, and walk over to Union Square, where even though I've already gone to the bathroom numerous times, I still have that psyched-out mentality screaming *havetopeehavetopeehavetopeehavetopee* throughout the dark hollows of my brain that are barely awake yet.  I've learned it's all part of the process, and yet I get caught up in it every year.

And then we got closer to the square ... 

We definitely chose the wrong street to make our approach.  I had never seen so many people crammed into that area in all the years I've run this course.  It was like the largest mosh pit I've ever seen. People were stopped in front of me, but kept pushing from behind as though somehow we'd manage to break through the droves of women. I held my running buddy's hand tightly and we navigated through somehow, finally getting over to our meeting area with the rest of our group.  In that time, I somehow forgot about the *havetopeehavetopeehavetopeehavetopee* idea in my head, and realized we had 7 minutes left till the gun went off.  

Suddenly, adrenaline pumped, I could feel every bit of myself wake up and everything let me know I was ready to run. Music, on. Nike+ GPS, on. Tutu, on.  All systems go.

It took just over 8 minutes to cross the start line, but once we broke through, we all split up and went our own pace.  Running, although a social experience, can also be a very private, liberating experience if you allow it to be.  I just tuned everything else out and let my legs propel me.  I hit my stride early on, which I'm incredibly thankful for.  There are some runs where I can't quite get my breathing regulated and it somehow leaves my legs feeling leaden and heavy.  Not this morning.

I ran, I focused, and for a couple hours, I was living in the moment with 22,000+ other women.  It's amazing how that experience can affect you.  For me, it reminds me that our bodies are finely tuned incredible machines rather than different shapes and sizes.  Our legs were strong, our minds focused, our hearts pumping and our bodies filled with adrenaline and excitement.

There's no experience like the Nike.

And I have Ryan to thank this year.  Happy 5th anniversary! :-)

I've never been of the belief that you needed to be in the theater group in high school to experience drama.  Even now, as an adult, it is tough to avoid somehow getting caught up in someone else's melodrama.  I often wonder if this is just the nature of being born female, or if everyone has similar experiences in life.

Drama is one thing, high school behavior is something completely different.  Lately, people have been floating the "Holding a grudge is like letting someone live rent free in your head" quote around the internet.  While I completely agree, it strikes me as odd that people need to be reminded to let go of things.  And then I step back and think about my own instinctive way of analyzing and overanalyzing a given situation until I'm sitting with tears of frustration in my eyes, wondering what my catalyst was.  It is really the personality of a high school student to cross your arms and give the evil eye to your assumed arch-enemy.  But where does that get you, apart from sitting and thinking about that person enough to remind yourself that you hate them every day?  Think about the wasted energy there.

If you really do not wish to be friends with someone, just say it and be done.  "I have thought long and hard about this and realize that we are completely different people with interests on opposite sides of the spectrum, and therefore aren't compatible as friends."

More and more people lately seem to be really into cutting each other down when they realize their friendship isn't a good thing.  And by people, I mean women.  And by women, I mean women with a high school complex.  It's time to grow up, and although in reality I can't do this, in my attitude I can project growing a pair.  You realize as you get older that friendships are few and far between, and that you know exactly what you want and what you'd prefer not to have as an attribute in a friend.  When I have children, I'm going to have to go through all of this vicariously through them, and I'd rather have at least a temporary break from it before I have to provide guidance ...

And so, I'm willing myself to grow a pair.  

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I run to be ... (NWM 2011)
Tomorrow morning, I'm embarking upon my 5th journey down the path of the Nike Women's half marathon in San Francisco.  In a pink tutu.  As  my amazing boyfriend, Ryan Anderson.  He busted his feet, knees, and hips walking 150+ miles to earn a spot specifically for me.  So it is with a heart full of love and pride for him that I say these three words:


If you've ever had the chance to run this race, you know why I'm so excited: the course is breathtaking, the race sponsors are fantastic, and the best part is, you're running with thousands of women who are cheering each other on in the most genuinely encouraging way.  With smiles on our faces and a little extra oomph in each step, we will take on the streets of SF, taking in the breathtaking views of the Golden Gate, streaming tears of joy turning around the corner to see the ocean along the Great Highway, rejoicing in setting our sites on the finish line where women from all over the globe reconnect to celebrate their amazing accomplishment.

And if you've never had a chance to run this race, you should allow yourself the opportunity at least once.  You'll see more than 20,000 smiling ladies waiting to give you a few words of encouragement when you start feeling your legs turn to lead, and you'll find the purple TNT mentors motivating not only their running groups, but anyone else who needs a gentle nudge.

I promise you'll never forget the experience, and you'll look back with pride welling up in your eyes when you realize what you've achieved.

You ran to be.

life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. (john lennon)
It occurred to me that I have quite a few friends who are dissatisfied with the hand of cards life has dealt them.  While I completely understand that there are certain things in life over which we have no control, we do have the capacity to control our own happiness.  There is a serious flaw in the belief that the situation you're born into dictates your satisfaction over the course of your life.  Change is entirely possible, no matter who you are, where you live, what you want.

If the idea of change terrifies you, then you clearly have another obstacle standing in the way of you and happiness.  Change can be amazing.  Altering one little detail in your daily routine can open your eyes to an entirely different way of life.  There are days I get down from stress, or from how long my commute is, or just from general fatigue, and I have to physically pull myself out of those valleys during the course of a given day.  It might entail dragging my feet down a different side street on the walk into work, or noticing a new set of flowers growing outside my window, or just paying attention to the crazy squirrels that dash around chasing after each other on a daily basis.

Paying close attention to details isn't something new to me (just ask my sister), but diverting my attention to new details really does help change my attitude and gets me out of the treacherous cycle that routine can often dump us into.


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