Difficult, But Necessary

October 10

Now constantly there is the sound,
quieter than rain,
of the leaves falling.

Under their loosening bright
gold, the sycamore limbs
bleach whiter.

Now the only flowers
are beeweed and aster, spray
of their white and lavender
over the brown leaves.

The calling of a crow sounds
Loud — landmark — now
that the life of summer falls
silent, and the nights grow.

~ By Wendell Berry from New Collected Poems.

Copyright Counterpoint, 2012. Reprinted with permission. 



One of my dear friends recently wrote a post on her blog about the power of visualization. She first started by taking just a few seconds (yes, seconds!) every day to visualize success, ie. achieving a goal or a dream. I decided to try and do this myself while running because sometimes I need my mind to focus on anything other than the fact that I still have two more miles to go…

On my run today, I could see the snow-tipped indigo mountains peeking their way through the hazy clouds to my right. It was gorgeous out, and overhead, the bright blue sky sharply outlined the golden leaves of the cottonwood trees. I was feeling fairly good midway into the trail, so after a few more minutes of letting my mind wander, I decided to give the visualization exercise a try.

I soon encountered a (minor) problem: I didn’t know how exactly I defined success. I tried thinking about landing a dream job (not sure what this is yet), saving enough to travel (definitely a dream, but not necessarily success), fulfilling an item on a bucket-list (again, dreams/goals). I thought about visiting friends, playing the violin, re-reading favorite books and then discovering new ones too. I considered my writing – how I’ve felt stuck in a rut with it recently and the steps I should take to overcome that, and then I thought about how I’ve felt stuck in a rut with everything recently.

And then I realized two things: One, I was beginning to worry, not visualize, and two, it had been waaayyyy longer than 17 seconds. Plus, the remaining miles felt even longer than before.

So I stopped at a bench to stretch and re-focus, and I decided that instead of visualizing “success,” I was think about three things that I could be grateful for in my life right now, and how they could contribute to later life goals:

  1. I’m grateful to be working now so that I can travel later.
  2. I love that I can take advantage of mountain sports year-round.
  3. I’m thankful to have the time I need to decide what success might look like for me

I’ll admit it. The last mile was Not. Easy. Just like acknowledging that last point on the list was Not. Easy. I had a really hard time keeping my legs moving and my mind from going in crazy negative circles, but determining those three points of gratitude helped change my mindset from stress to progress. Even if the progress was, and continues to be, slow.

My definition of success is still forthcoming, and I’m sure it’s going to change many times over the course of my life (maybe even in the next few years – who knows!). The future still hangs as hazy as the clouds shrouding the mountain peaks today, but I’ve realized that visualization for me right now is working to adopt an attitude of gratitude for where I’ve been and where I am right now. It’s a process, but I’m learning, and I’m hoping that one day, not too long from now, I’ll be able to look back and see that last mile in a brand new light.

Here’s to a new week of visualizing success or gratitude or both – Happy Monday!


Song of the week: Talk Too Much – Coin


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