by Faith Bower
So many people feel dissatisfied these days. We want changes in our lives, our children’s lives, and even in the world. We read “how to” books, complain to our friends about people or events, go on diets, start a new exercise program, and fantasize about outlandish ways to get what we want.
When I was younger, my sister and I used to ask each other, “If you could change one thing on your body, what would it be?” I answered, “My thighs”. From then on, my thighs became something I was ashamed of and knew were not okay. How I dressed reflected that feeling of “not good enough”. I wanted to run to relieve stress during college. My solution: start running in colder weather, wearing pants. Then spring came, and the dilemma appeared. I wore pants, but the sweat and heat were causing health problems. I had to wear running shorts if I wanted to run. So, I changed my running routes to less congested areas.
One day I picked up a book by Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla. It said that every day I am called to new experiences of freedom. “This moment … is a brand-new moment in your life. You can choose to be more relaxed, more trusting, more forgiving, more loving. You can choose to be whatever you want. The question is: Are you treating this moment in a new way?”
I realized I had been focusing on the outer, not the inner me. I wanted to feel more relaxed, trusting and loving, but that could only come from how I chose to “look at” things and people. I had been brave enough to wear shorts and feel the cool air on my legs. What a feeling of FREEDOM! I wanted to feel this more in my life. When I was running in my shorts, I was feeling connected to Spirit, to fellow runners I came across, and did not feel alone, different, or afraid. I felt capable, strong, and a sense of freedom in expressing my true self.
What other new experiences of freedom could I have? I decided to focus on positive, supportive and constructive thoughts and feelings, not the ones that brought me down. I realized it was up to me to express my true self to experience a better life. I looked at more of my outgrown beliefs AND replaced them by taking actions that reflected the real me, that girl who LOVED to run in shorts.