I just spent a week at "summer camp"

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.  But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.  There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
— Alan Cohen

I just spent a week at “summer camp” with my mom and son.  We have a cabin on a lake in NW Alberta, Canada, that my mom has been going to since she was 5 and I subsequently spent every summer there as a child.  A tight knit community of cabins with mostly German descendants and growing families. I enjoyed going back year after year even as a young adult to visit and relax and reminisce with Oma’s and Opa’s, friends and family but because of a choice I made 5 years ago I haven’t been back since then. 

I usually find some time during the school summer vacation months to play with my son, go camping and spend as much time at the beach as possible.  This year was different though. I didn’t want to take time out from my home in Los Angeles because I am travelling to Beijing in 3 weeks to compete at Worlds for Triathlon.  I struggled to find time to be away from work and training to go to Canada for what I recall was a lot of “relaxing” and “food” ;) But my mom generously invited us both to spend a week at the lake and take in some good quality bible camp services.

Once I made the decision to go I discovered an amazing new truth for myself. Balance.

I think living a balanced life includes doing something out of your comfort zone every chance you get. Doing what you love....and doing it with all of your heart.  Treating your body with respect. Being loving to yourself and everyone you are blessed to come in contact with during your day. Starting and ending your day with gratitude. I think we all have a “balance” meter reader inside of us.  You can look in the mirror and see what’s “off”.

Being honest with myself is always my first step to balance. 

I haven’t always had balance.  I tend to live for others (as I’ve written in previous blogs) and live off the scraps for myself.  I have lived in the past (making photo albums till my fingers bled) and thought that memories would fuel my future.  While this has always seemed the least selfish way to live I found myself getting resentful and tired! I wasn’t living in the present.  I was scared. I craved security and loathed change. But I was determined to find some balance in my trip to camp this year.  

We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly....spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.
— Susan Taylor 

The key to this was to start my day with a moment for ME.  I woke up every morning before my son to pray, breathe and smile (mostly forced) as I put on the running clothes I had set out for myself the night before.  As tired as I was (my family tends to stay up past midnight on all occasions) and as emotionally drained from the excitement of reuniting with family and friends I gave myself NO CHOICE!  I HAD TO GET OUT THE DOOR! It took a few minutes but eventually my walk turned to a run. And I ran and ran and ran, with the mantra in my head, “in movement there is life and in change there is power”. Never have I come back from a run and said to myself, “ I wish I wouldn’t have done that.”  No matter what, I come back refreshed, renewed and revitalized!  

 I was blessed to have my mother there to watch my son so I made the best of it and sometimes even ran in the evening.

Having a family has often held me back from reaching the goals I wanted to reach.  I should say, I “thought” family had held me back but have realized that life is all about prioritizing and balance.  Why am I running? To stay fit, healthy and alive! To challenge myself and push through hard times when all I want to do it quit.  To be in a place of familiarity or discover new paths. To be an example to my son of someone who never gives up, who finds balance in everything, and finishes strong.