Since the day before Thanksgiving, I have increased my physical activity. I have been going for walks at my local YMCA on the indoor track. The track is above the basketball court. You can look down onto the court while walking and observe everything. The “Y” is a wonderful bright spot in my community. The seniors are there during the daytime and the kids are there in the evening.
When I am walking, I often peek down onto the court…I am impressed by the boys and girls hooping together. There isn’t a gender separation for these loosely organized pickup games. There is a peaceful camaraderie that makes me feel hopeful about how this generation regards gender equality and respect.
Making the Time
I currently take 30 minute walks 3-4 days a week. My goal is to walk 6 days a week. Exercise is something I have always enjoyed. In recent years, exercising has been more challenging for me. Mostly because I didn’t feel that I had the time to exercise. I still don’t feel that I have the time, however I am going on these walks anyway. I need exercise and I have missed it. Not to mention my oncologist has pretty much prescribed it.
Every bit of the 30 minute walk is difficult for me. It is physically challenging. The first week or two I wanted to cut the walk short and stop 5, 10 or 15 minutes in. But I’ve only stopped early once. I keep track of my walk on my fitness watch and I leave the indoor track at the 30 minute mark on the dot.
“On Your Left”
I am rarely on the track alone. Most often there are other walkers there. Sometimes there are people jogging and even running. There are several walkers that I have noticed more than once. One is a man who is older than me by perhaps 15 or 20 years. The other is a woman who also appears to be maybe 10 or 15 years my senior. Both of them literally walk circles around me. They pass me on the left side the way that Captain America passed Falcon (in the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier) on their separate morning runs around the Capitol Reflecting Pool on the Washington D.C. Mall.
A few years ago when I would walk at the Y, I would make an effort (sometimes successful) to not be lapped. I would speed up my pace and keep my peripheral vision focused on where the other walkers were. I would notice them in the glass windows and mentally dare them to pass me. I wouldn’t say that I wasn’t consciously competing with them; I was often passed by the other walkers and when I was really not able to push harder, I didn’t. I accepted that I would be lapped and I understood then what I have come to accept even more now: that we, all of us, must walk at our own pace.
It does not serve me to try to do what someone else is doing. We may be engaging in the same activity but we are all coming to it with a variety of capacities. This week as I have walked, I thought about how important it has been for me to embrace walking at my pace.
I have also reflected on how we must honor pace as therapists. Others of us need to honor our pace as entrepreneurs or employees or managers or supervisors. We can all benefit from being able to notice others and not allow what we notice to sway us from our focus on our own experience and the value therein. I will not benefit from trying to keep up with someone else. I risk injury if I do that. If I am injured then I have to stop. It is indeed true that slow and steady wins the race. However, unlike the fable, it is not so much a race as it is a journey. The goal is truly to stay on the path. My exercise goal is to improve my heart and lung health, to decrease the pressure on my joints and to improve my blood pressure. I want to both feel stronger and be stronger. I want to have more energy and sleep better. Walking does all of this for me. I have observed that it doesn’t matter how fast or slow I walk. I still benefit from it.
And so it is in therapy and entrepreneurship and so on. You do not need to function at someone’s pace that is not your own; you need to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. Walk at your pace. Don’t worry about being lapped. Don’t compare your capacity to anyone else. Remove the focus on how you think you should be walking. The only thing you can reasonably do…is be where you are and move at your pace.
Group Consultation/Coaching in 2020
In 2020, I am happy to offer group consultation and coaching via videoconference for colleagues who are independently licensed. I am setting a calendar and will soon announce dates. I am keeping my work schedule at a pace that is reasonable for me. I need more time off to recover from the days that I am working. I need to maintain availablity for doctor’s appointments and for down time. It feels good to respond to the request for these services and pace it in a way that honors my current capacities. If you are interested in joining a monthly two-hour consultation group, let me know. The focus of these groups will include practice development, ethics, case consultation, self-care, supervision of supervision and the identified needs of the participants. If you want to learn more send an e-mail to me at email@example.com. In the meantime, I hope you are honoring your pace. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.
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