This concept is going to need the original story to explain. My daughter wanted to start running with me. The only time we could find both of us could run together was early in the morning. This was during the school year, so the mornings were usually cold. Southern California cold.
That means about freezing, or 32 degrees F. Not super cold, but cold enough. The type of cold that if you are not dressed for it, you will know it! Californians are NEVED dressed for the cold, even when it actually is cold. We do not talk about “wearing thermals,” down here. We could talk about the latest trend in “puffy jackets,” but that is about as far as we will go in cold wear talk.
Running is no exception. The girls, my daughter included, have to have pony tail girl ensemble ready to go. The tight running, or yoga pants. The trendy light sports jacket, hair pulled back and colored ear buds to match the Hoka’s. Looks awesome as the wind blows right though you. So 5am, running across the frozen blades of grass, wishing you actually owned a warm jacket is how we started.
“I can’t do this, it is too cold.” This phrase and several other close cousin phrases is what I heard. For the first mile or two, a broken record. Too cold. Too cold. Too cold. Finally, I stopped and try to explain that the cold idea was in her head. Piece of advice, never tell any woman, wife or daughter that something is “in her head.” So that concept melted down right there on the road. She was no longer cold, she was mad.
She finally said, fine. Started running and finished the next mile faster than she had ever done before. Proving my point, of course. Regardless the vicious cycle kept recurring. Dad trying to convince daughter it was not too cold, daughter getting upset and thawing out. Run complete. Job done, but nerve racking. So I decided one morning to get her thinking about something warm as we started out.
I asked her to think about a campfire as we started out one morning. What was it like to sit by a campfire, what was it like? The trick worked. No more complaining about the cold for 20 minutes. Instead, she was describing the idyllic campfire situation. This went to a conversation about how good S’mores were. You know the graham cracker, melted chocolate and roasted marshmallow combintation. We had fun talking about the best way to make S’more for a while. 1 mile down, easy.
Then she started to comment on how cold her hands were getting. She was noticing the cold for the first time, that is when I asked her how it would feel like to be in the fire. What if you were the marshmallow? What if you were being roasted in the flames? She laughed and said she would rather be doing that then running out here in the cold. “But, it is not cold,” I said.
“What do you mean,” she asked. “You are crazy, it is freezing out here.” She said the word freezing like you might here one of the Kardashians pronounce the word, so I knew she was serious. Fuhreeezingaaah. I was in trouble. I needed to think fast. We were heading toward another mid-street melt down.
Then it hit me. She needed a mantra. “Repeat after me,” I said. “I am warm. I am toasty. I am a marshmallow.” She did as I asked, and laughed. Then she did it again. Then again. She was now repeating the phrase in timing with her running cadence. We were now running. Fast. From that morning on, we now had a thing. We were marshmallows. We were warm and toasty. Cold no longer bothered us.
In life you are always going to have obstacles. That is unavoidable. You will set out to keep a commitment that will be life altering in some way. Yet, you will run into a hurdle. A challenge that gets in your way. Like my daughter, you will find out that it is too cold outside. When I am in my darkest moments of “I can’t,” I remember this phrase. I am a marshmallow. I am transported to a mentality that lifts me above the doubt, confusion and angst about the obstacle in my path. Feel free to use the phrase yourself, royalty free. I am a marshmallow. It helps.