"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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Endorphins are Contagious

posted by Susan Dominikovich on , ,

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Confession time:  as much as I like to say, "I love to walk...I need to walk.  It's ME time, "  I am actually not really that committed these days.  I get quite a lot of ME time.  I can pick and choose the form it takes, whether it's reading on the swing, writing, playing the piano, digging in my garden, coffee with a friend, and so on.  ME time and I get along swimmingly.  And for an introvert who finds herself spending a lot of time with people, ME time in so many glorious forms is really rather a beautiful thing.

So on Friday night when a couple of friends of mine were discussing their running routes and technology for tracking their distances and times, I just smiled, thinking, yeah but they are long-time exercise freaks, surely.  I don't need to feel the pressure to get into walking again, even though my back aches constantly and my muscles are turning a rather 40-something flaccid.  Then, gulp, one of them--the one running half marathons now--said, "I started running in May."  

Excuse me?  I did the maths.

And she looked fabulous.  Not just because she was well-toned with beautiful new form-fitting clothes.  But she was clearly glowing.

I remembered that glowing feeling.  And I missed it.  Endorphins.

Still, it's one thing to think about getting motivated to exercise, and quite another thing to actually do it.

After another crazy busy week juggling work and sick kids, Saturday held one thing and one thing only:  sleep and rest.  And family time.  I guess that's three things, but you get the picture.

Then Sunday was Father's Day here in New Zealand.  Not a day to think about myself or my needs.  Someone else's needs entirely.  Again, you get the picture.

And then this morning was a teacher's only day in Inglewood.  Again, a luxurious sleep-in with no commitments--other than looking after, feeding and entertaining the kiddios.  Hang on...they do that quite well themselves now.  Excellent...more sleep and rest.

So I was somewhat annoyed with myself to wake up at half past 6.  Even more annoyed to find myself wide awake and watching the sun start to shine through our bedroom window. Birds were merrily singing out there.  Not a breath of wind that I could see.  My eyes just would not close again.

And I knew why.  I am not a morning person but probably once a year this happens.  I wake up early and I am motivated.

Other times it means I get up as quietly as I possible can, sneak into the kitchen, make a coffee and enjoy it in the solitude of sunrise before anyone else gets up.  I love those moments.  It happens rarely.  Madeline is so much more a morning person than I am.  She's a night-owl too.  Actually, she's a robot, but I digress.

But this morning, as happens approximately once a year, I awoke with the need to get out into God's glorious nature.  So I got up, even before Paul who had to go to work.  Always one to make our morning cuddle last as long as possible, he grumped a bit when I slid out of bed.  "Going for a walk...if I go now I can be back before you leave for work."  

That woke him up.

"Good for you Honey."  Always the encourager.

So I stumbled around to find my long-buried walking clothes and sports bra, hat to cover the morning madness I sometimes call hair, my phone and headphones, and finally my glasses (yes, there would have been less stumbling if I'd found my glasses first, but as I said, it was before 7 am and I am not a morning person by habit).

"I'm off..."  I said.  

And then, ten minutes later,  "I can't find my running shoes!"

Paul was out of bed in a flash and it occurred to me, how on earth did he think he was going to help me find my shoes?  It's always and ever the other way around in our house.  He loses something and I find it.  But then I realised, it was for moral support.  Encouragement.  Love. Motivation.  More like, "you're not getting out of this now, no matter how hard you try."

And there they were at the bottom of the shoe box under a pile of yellowing papers.  That's how long it had been.

And I was off, Buster pulling on his lead, plastic bag in my pocket.  And it was fabulous.  The morning was truly glorious, although not windless as I had thought.  Heading up Windsor Road toward the mountain was bitterly cold.  I didn't mind though...I was working hard and generating my own heat.  And I remembered why I love walking so much...the mountain, the daffodils, the wood pigeons, the little lambs and time with God.  I get a lot of time with God these day but when I'm walking it's as if He's saying, "See?  This?  For you."  I live in an amazing place.

I was back just after eight for a coffee back in bed.  I'm not silly you know.

But seriously, that walk and those endorphins set me up--set my whole family up--for an incredible day.  The kiddios and I had a great time and after a visit with a friend and her two boys later in the morning, I said to them, "right:  jobs time."  And we all conquered together.  Floors vacuumed, windows washed and lawns mowed.  Sam and I only stopped mowing when we ran out of petrol.  Sure enough when Paul got home he was astounded and greatly appreciative.

Because not only am I not a morning person, I don't do lawns.

But it didn't stop there.  As Paul and I sat in front of the fire and caught up with each other's days, the kiddios played happily outside and then disappeared.  At one point Violet came in giggling something about the secret and we heard the hushing from the others.  However, our conversation was so deep and meaningful (I don't do mornings and I don't do lawns, but I do do deep and meaningful...often), that we hardly noticed.


"Come and see the garage!  Hee hee hee.  We were still deep and meaningful and I almost brushed them off but something told me, no...not this time.

So we dutifully followed them into the garage.


Our kiddios had organised all the bikes, ride-ons, scooters, shoes, jackets AND they had swept the floor.  What you need to understand is that while I don't do mornings and I don't do lawns, Paul does not do garages.  Somehow he missed out on that garage-shed gene shared by most men.  Our garage is a veritable hazard.  An accident waiting to happen as you are forced to wend your way from door to vehicle.  At your own risk.  

Even more surprising was that all this garage sorting and tidying turned out to be Sam's initiative.  

So the next time I get the urge to do something crazy like get up early for a walk, I must remember a very important point:  endorphins are good.  

And they are contagious.

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