“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” Brené Brown.
August has been a very busy and interesting month so far. In my last post Evolve, I told you about how I had just completed the 21 day meditation challenge. That ended on the last day of July, and a new challenge started on August 1st. I had actually just read a post from Kate at Socal Runner Gal about how Class Pass was challenging people to try to do one new thing every single day in August, and I decided that I would go ahead and give this class pass challenge a try. These new things didn’t have to be all exercise related or anything big, but just a new thing each day.
I posted on my Facebook that I was going to give this challenge a try, and my yoga instructor/friend/”therapist”/inspirer Jake saw my Facebook post and decided to join in, saying we could each inspire each other to do more, and that we could set one day every week to do a new thing together. I sat down and tried my best to come up with a list of 31 new things that I want to try, and they ranged from things as simple as paint my nails a color I normally wouldn’t to try that damn trapeze class that I have been curious about for 3 years but not made the time for.
As I sat and made my list, there was a little recurrent theme, and it was to just go ahead and say “YES” to things I wouldn’t normally say yes to. For example, when I’m leaving the grocery store and wheeling my full cart to the car, and I’m yet again approached by someone who wants to talk to me about some petition or cause, rather than my usual “I don’t have the time today,” I could actually listen…. say yes and listen… and then decide if I want to sign their petition or not. A few days into August, that idea expanded to what if I just start considering saying yes to a lot of things that I immediately say no to.
Over the last year, I’ve had several instances of companies contacting me to send me products to try and then promote, and I always say no because that’s not what my blog is about. This last time when I was contacted, I said yes…send me your product and I will just put it on my Instagram and footnote it in my blog but not write an entire post on it. I’ve been contacted multiple times about considering other running and fitness related writing opportunities, and I’ve said no because what they’ve been asking hasn’t been in my style of writing. I just went back to an email from an old PR agent and said YES, I’ll consider writing this piece if I can write it on these terms. I just wrote and submitted that piece, and I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed the challenge of writing about a topic that I was not thrilled to write about… I actually felt like a writer. At work, I’ve been asked if a student can shadow me several times over the years, and I haven’t felt like I would have the time to have a student follow me and try to mentor them in between patients, but there was a time back in my residency training days, when I pictured myself doing just that in the future. I just said YES to having a student work with me once a week for a little while.
Why say yes to what I would normally say no to?
It really goes with why did I start writing this blog. I started this blog in the hopes that my journey would inspire someone else. And over the last year and a half, it’s become clear that what you write inspires people in ways that you don’t always know…. that there is no better way for people to get to know you than through your honest words written down and read for themselves…. And if I say yes to these other opportunities that I would normally not be open to exploring at all, then you never know where those could lead…you never know who else I may reach and inspire….you never know what I can learn about myself…. not exploring them will guarantee to lead me to nowhere….
I’ve had a reader named Cecy that I have been privately communicating with… she has given me permission to use her first name. She started reading my posts, and she sent me a private email about seven months ago telling me her story and why she needs running at this point in her life, just like I needed running to help me be able to start to breathe. Cecy decided to say yes to registering for her very first full marathon. When she emailed me about the decision a few months ago, my heart leaped. She has now run up to 22 miles in her training, and her first full marathon is on Sunday August 28th. Recently she sent me an email saying that I have been her number 1 inspiration to run a marathon, and she is dedicating mile 26 of her marathon to me. She sent me a photo of her mile dedication bands, with Paria written on mile 26. (You would need to have read the post Mile Shortage to understand the significance of her gesture.) I can’t tell you how much this means to me. I’m so excited for August 28th… I’m so excited for her…I’m so amazed by the work this amazingly sweet mother of 2 has done to get herself marathon ready…. and I am so humbled to be mile 26…. Cecy is why I’m saying yes… Yes to more writing, yes to more adventure, yes to exploring where new opportunities may lead and who they may in some way touch…. yes to more life… yes to possibility… and really, most of all, when Cecy first took the chance of privately emailing me her story and why she needed to run at this point in time, she said a big yes to vulnerability…. she put herself out there. When I started writing and putting these private thoughts behind this exteriorly bubbly girl out there, I put myself out there…I made myself vulnerable… and that willingness to be vulnerable was almost as life changing as running…. I want to continue to say yes to putting myself out there… to say yes to vulnerability…. I want everyone who is reading this to consider saying yes to vulnerability…. I can’t wait until August 28th… I can feel myself flying through that marathon with Cecy.
****If you missed my last post on the 21 day meditation challenge, you can read it here: Evolve. You can see some pictures of what I’ve been up to on this new thing every day challenge on my Instagram, and I will likely write a post elaborating on some of the experiences in September. In case you don’t follow me on Instagram and missed the announcement, I am beyond excited that my friend Jake just started his own blog. If you are inspired by anything I write, you are sure to be inspired by him. You can sign up for his newsletter or follow his Facebook page to get his updated blog posts.