You Had Me At Hello.

Navigational Art and Directions By Colleen Yorke, © 2015.
We live busy lives, staying busy in our business. We hurry past strangers, seeing right through them, eager to get to our appointments. Our days are filled, we are completely surrounded by people, and we small-talk all day long. Surrounded by a social bubble of interconnectedness, we find ourselves relieved when we enter the quietness of our home zone. To a degree. In the evening, as we sit alone in front of our computer screen or the TV, we all feel acute pangs of melancholy as well as chronic lack of intimacy from time to time, and we long for someone to truly know us, get us, see us. We live in times where broken things no longer get fixed, but tossed and replaced. A certain solitariness has gradually become norm. While automation in form of self checkout kiosks, online banking, Siri, telephone systems may simplify our lives, and social media outlets such as twitter and facebook have given us more ways to communicate, they often may also leave us more alienated. Texting, tweeting, posting and liking provide us with an illusion of interaction, they are a poor substitute for a real connection. 

Being rootless and home in my heart, I have lived the unsettled life for a long time. I have been on many roads, and I have enjoyed the freedom of not having to choose. I have been a seeker, before I finally realized that all my searching led to the same place - that the answers I needed were, quite frankly, within. In that moment, barefoot, and my heart on fire, I found something I could give my life to. Ever since I joined the DTLA Running Group last year, I have come across people from all walks of life, many of them I now call my friends. Whether it is a stranger high-fiving me, as I pass him running, or a homeless man in a wheelchair, whom I have helped over a sidewalk curb and who now knows my name, running the city has put me in touch with people, I would have never met online or on TV. 

"Love shouldn't be this hard," a friend told me awhile ago. I think, Why not? If some of us can run 26.2 miles or more (and that is as we all know a battle of its own), we certainly can invest the time, effort and some serious self-reflection into our most important relationships. Life by design is a mess. Love requires tenacity and grit. To truly know someone, get someone, see someone, we will have to mine the depths of our hearts. In Japan broken objects are mended into beautiful fixes. The belief is when something suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful. Relationships are mutually defined, and the give-and-take never stops. Truth is, we would not want it any other way. And it all begins with a simple hello.

Real change starts from deep within. It does not come from an idea that pops into your head after reading an article about health, fitness and New Year’s resolutions, like this one, unless that idea has been bubbling under the surface for some time. Real change comes from a need, a deep desire that wells up and fills your mind and body and emotions. However, no matter how powerful that desire is, it needs to be treated with care: nurtured, fed, watered, and given air and sunlight to grow.
The New Year is a great time to plan how you are going to cultivate those heartfelt desires that will bring you the greatest satisfaction in life. The plan is how real change happens.
Step 1: Make a Choice
No one but you can determine what is truly best for your life. Your friend wants to run a marathon, but you know running a half marathon would be a better choice for you this year. Society tells you to lose weight, but you know that what really matters is that you eat healthy food, exercise and eliminate sugar. You don’t want to focus on the weight right now. Your family tells you to stay at the job that is financially lucrative, but you love teaching.
You need to make a choice about what is best for you.
Step 2: Feel What it Feels Like
The best way to keep yourself psyched to make real change is to imagine yourself already there … you’ve been walking 5 days a week for 4 months now … how do you feel? You’ve been running a 10K once a month with your local running club and you don’t have any injuries. You’ve spent every evening patiently helping your daughter with her math and she’s definitely improving. See the movie in your head. You’re the lead character. Body Sense how you will feel. Science has proven that this technique of envisioning yourself accomplish your goal is one of the most powerful ways to create positive outcomes. You need to exercise your imagination and put yourself into “character” as much as possible. Taking the time for this step will make all the difference.
Step 3: Get Strategic
Simply imagining yourself at the finish line after running your 4th marathon on your 44th birthday is not going to get you there. You do have to have a plan, and you have to follow through. A plan can include:
• Specific, doable goals – break down your plan into smaller manageable components. As in the Chi Running technique or the Chi Walking technique, focus your mind on one aspect of your goal at a time.
• A support system – you don’t have to go it alone. Find a group or friends or family who you can support you in your process.
• Accountability – use your support system to hold you accountable and do the same for others, because we all need helpful reminders about what is most important.

Step 4: Kick the Ball
Many great intentions never come to fruition because the idea has a great send off, but no follow through. If you kick a ball, it will eventually stop moving, unless you kick it again. Kick the ball means regular, consistent, small taps to keep your ball moving forward. Sometimes the ball will stop, or even be sent backwards by an opponent (think of your inner opponents). Kicking the ball can also get you back in the game if you’ve lost all forward momentum.
What are the changes that will bring you the most joy and satisfaction? What are the small steps you can take, consistently, to make your desire a reality? The creative process of change can be written, produced and directed by you. And, of course, you’re starring in the lead role! 
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