Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Time is on Your Side

I do my best thinking while running.  I did a 12-miler yesterday, and since I'm not a terribly fast runner, that meant I had a lot of time to think.  A LOT of time.

I thought about a former client of mine, let's call her Eve.  Eve would take a walk in the woods by her house every day.  She'd walked the woods so much, she knew them as well as she knew her own reflection in a mirror.  One day, however, Eve took a bad spill on one of her walks, hurting herself pretty badly.  She tried to crawl back to her house, but as darkness fell, she became confused and disoriented.  Eve did her best to take shelter under a tree and spent the night in the woods.

As morning arrived, Eve's neighbor noticed that Eve's car was parked in front of her house, but the house appeared unoccupied.  The neighbor, knowing Eve's evening ritual, went looking for her in the woods.  She found her, dangerously cold and badly hurt.  Eve was rushed to the hospital where she was treated and released--in a wheelchair.

When I met Eve, she had her mind set on learning to walk again, but anxiety tried time and again to talk her out of her goal.  "Sometimes I'll be trying to move my legs, and I see myself lost in the woods again. I don't trust myself anymore. I don't know if I'll ever walk again."

Over the few months Eve and I worked together, I was in training for my first half-marathon.  I hadn't run a step (except to stop my kids from running through the street) for almost five years.  In a sense, I was like Eve, relearning to do something that used to come naturally to me.  I shared with her my training strategy:  Log my time.  It didn't matter how far I ran during that time.  I didn't worry about my pace or any other outcome-based goals.  My goal was to simply log my time.  I believed time + work = results.  That formula guided my training.  I told Eve that if I thought about running 13 miles, I'd give up.  I wouldn't train.  But if I broke it down into smaller increments of time, those smaller goals felt within reach.  I envisioned these smaller bits of time would build upon each other, so that when it came time to do longer and longer runs, it would be hard, but all the experience that came before  would help me get through.

So while Eve started "logging her time" in physical therapy, I logged mine on the trail.  There were certainly high and low moments for each of us, and no shortage of pain and soreness in our joints, but we reached our respective goals.  By the conclusion of our work together, Eve was able to walk with a walking stick, even climbing unassisted into the cab of her friends' truck as we waved good-bye.  And on a follow-up visit, she demonstrated her hard-earned ability to walk unaided around the room.

I ran that half- marathon, crossing the finish line seven minutes ahead of my expected time.  And I"ve done another one since then.  When I run, I think about all my clients who've reached seemingly elusive goals.  Even when doubt  and anxiety tried to tell them it was hopeless, they put in the work anyway.  By logging their time, I have seen them save marriages, end cycles of abuse and shame, reclaim their lives from anxiety and depression, and of course, walk with confidence and grace.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Paper or Plastic?

On a totally different note, I just wanted to let you all know that I am now able to accept credit card payments for services, thanks to Square.  And as always, I have sliding fee scale availability for those who need it.  Keep up the good work, everyone!