I love mantras. Sure, it sounds like I was hit with the Oprah stick or perhaps have spent too much time surfing zen and yoga sites on the web, but I can take it. Mantras are words or phrases I repeat over and over to myself, often during difficult times, like when I’m running intervals and am pretty sure I may puke or pass out before I reach the end. I use them for focus. I use them for strength. I use them to keep from puking or passing out. A mantra is a touchstone for me, something I can come back to at a moment’s notice to reframe the way I’m thinking. And if I needed the perfect mantra set the tone for 2012, I only needed to read my Twitter feed yesterday where athlete and writer Kathyrn Bertine* offered this tweet:
May 2012 be the year I become so awesome
I have to pee in a cup to prove it.
After my first reaction of (nearly) shooting coffee out of my nose I could not wait to share this with anyone and everyone I knew. (Thank you social media.) This? Right here? This is it folks. This is the mantra with which to begin a new year with a new set of goals and intentions. Why do I love this so much? It’s ambitious, confident and witty. It embodies qualities I know I possess yet want to polish; attitudes I want to harness for good. I want to challenge myself. I want to own what I can do. And I want to do it with a sense of joy and humor.
One day I had such a great swim workout that I posted on Facebook I felt like a combination of Michael Phelps and Dara Torres. Someone responded, “And then you woke up!” Dude, you totally missed the point. I know I’m not Phelps and Torres. I also know I couldn’t stay with Kathryn Bertine on an easy, flat bike ride and I have a long list of friends who can regularly trash me during a 5K. The friendly peeps from the World Anti-Doping Agency will not be knocking on my door. But that’s just fine since I’m not on an elite-athlete track. I’m on an Amy is Awesome track. In the grand lexicon of life, I don’t actually need to prove anything to anyone, including myself. But I can step into my own awesomeness, whether others celebrate with me or not. I can let my awesomeness shine so brightly people will say, “How did that happen?” in hushed and reverent tones. Perhaps I will absolutely crush my half Ironman time in Texas this spring, maybe even tackle a half marathon in a personal record-setting time. But I also can dazzle in today’s easy paced run, even if I don’t wear a watch to give you accurate time and distance measurements. Heck, sometimes I thrust my hands over my head in triumph because I made a totally awesome sandwich for lunch.
Yep, my awesomeness knows no bounds. And for the record my awesomeness does not infringe upon your awesomeness. We all have the ability to release our personal brilliance on the world. Some days may be a challenge, but if I keep reminding myself of being awesome, I’ll find the strength to face the challenge and work with it. And if I keep reminding myself about peeing in a cup, I’ll find the laughter to make it all worthwhile.
* [Full disclosure: I am a big fan of Kathryn Bertine. I loved her book As Good as Gold and continue to follow her writing on espnW. The short version of her story: She is an elite cyclist who has dual citizenship with St. Kitts and Nevis (you have to read the book to fully understand this part of the story) and has been pursing her dream of becoming an Olympic athlete. From my vantage point, I find her a talented athlete and writer with a kick-ass sense of humor. That pretty much means I both adore and envy her.]