It had less to do with my actual real life experiences and more to do with my reaction to them. A fall here, a tweaked back there, a comment taken the wrong way, and I was in the midst of my own pity party, wondering what the universe would hand me next.
One particularly bad day I actually admitted to a couple of co-workers I had a bad attitude and they laughingly agreed. After a work meeting in another city, I checked in to my hotel room and turned on the TV and the final episode of “Oprah” was on.
Watching TV seemed easier than putting on my walking shoes and heading to the exercise room, so I stayed. Several clips aired, with Oprah giving thanks to people she had met through the several years her show ran. One segment caught my attention. She shared a story about an author she admired and credited her with a quote that was so meaningful to her that she posted it as a sign backstage. I don’t recall the name of the author, but the statement resonated with me.
The camera showed the sign, which read: “Please be responsible for the energy you bring into this place.”
At that point I realized that my attitude was my choice. Instead of choosing to handle the minor inconveniences of the past few months, I was viewing them collectively as unfair, negative episodes — directly targeting me. Instead of just getting over them, I was a victim. Instead of meeting challenges with positive energy, I was full of negative energy.
The quote revealed to me that day opened my eyes to something that I’m sure I knew at some time, but had somehow forgotten — that my reaction to events is within my control.
I felt like a weight was lifted, because I immediately chose to be happy and positive. That may sound crazy, but even with my shoulder and back hurting and with my training for the Peachtree stalled, I really felt great.
And it happened so simply. I just said, “OK, old girl, let’s bring on the POSITIVE!”
Putting things in perspective helped me decide to continue with my plan to do the Peachtree 10K Road Race on July 4 with my family and friends.
There were seven of us who boarded MARTA and arrived at Lenox Square early Monday morning for a wild and fun experience. Despite the heat, we enjoyed being physically able to walk/run the 6.2 mile course with people of all fitness levels.
Crowds along the way were supportive and inspiring, especially those in front of Shepard Spinal Hospital, and all the senior adults waving flags. We enjoyed great music, beautiful cityscapes, cool breezes, and good natured kidding from participants and spectators alike. Fire hydrants provided cool mists, and so did the holy water at the Cathedral of St. Phillip!
I’m thankful for my good friends, my new friends, and my loved ones for being such great company on the journey.
And I’m thankful to Oprah for helping me realize it was always up to me to make the choice to enjoy it.
Ellen Garrard was a top 10 Health Quester during the 2010 public weight-loss initiative. The 2011 program is being presented by the Rome-Floyd County YMCA, Floyd Medical Center and the Rome News-Tribune.