It’s 5:05 in the morning.
I hear my alarm chime on the other side of my bedroom. I don’t acknowledge it right away, thinking I’m still half-asleep. The sound perpetuates though, and I hobble across the room.
It’s especially dark this morning, but not in an ominous way. Almost like a clearing — an empty space for creation to ensue.
I lay back down in bed with hesitation — deliberating whether the day will begin now, or if I’ll break my word once more about my morning run. I decide to stay up.
I’m strangely alert this morning, inexplicably so. I need more sleep to harness this level of mental elasticity.
It truly feels like a new day. Almost like I’m looking on as a bystander.
I throw on the shoes that sit neatly on my bedroom floor.
My black Nike’s have been bothering my heels this week, somewhat breaking my focus by the time I reach the peak of the bridge. I lace them up with an overt confidence, picturing myself gliding on the ice skates I wore at nine years old.
Stepping outside, I notice the tease of the wind — somewhere between a gust and a breeze. I head back in the house to grab a sweatshirt and gather my zip-up with the white trim. It always unravels when I start running. This one normally wouldn’t suffice, but for whatever reason, I take it with me.
I plug in my headphones and venture toward the main road. “I think I’ll just walk this morning”, I tell myself. Besides, the right earbud never stays in place. I’m in no rush. I’ll take my time.
I start running.
There’s clearly something going on this morning, but I can’t put my finger on it. I don’t really think anything of it so I assert my usual routine — light jog in between each light-pole, hard run in between the others. Over the bridge and back. Like every other morning. Nothing to distinguish here.
I notice that my sweatshirt hasn’t come undone yet. As well as my headphones staying firmly secured in my ears. I notice it, but nothing further.
The audio is extra clear — each vibration of Tony Robbins’ YouTube video becomes more and more distinct. I’m normally so enthralled by each of his messages that I can’t wait to get to the office and leverage ideas throughout the workday. Today, I’m not so concerned about it. I let the message circulate the unconscious mind and let that be that. No effort in remembrance; no preparation for a repackaged delivery.
I’ve been keeping my word a lot more lately.
I never wanted to look in this area before, as I knew what I would find. The words I spoke were empty and meaningless. As much as I wanted to inspire others, I never got past preliminary belief levels.
Integrity and I never had a very good relationship. I opted for my reasons and my justifications above my possible results. I didn’t want to face the truth, so I hid behind validation and resignation. Something kept showing up, though. It pushed me to keep my word. And to honor it.
This force pushed me to acknowledge when I was being an asshole. When I was being selfish. When I was caught up in my interruption of who I really am, by virtue of who I ended up being.
My word seems to have a lot more power when I keep it, like it builds in strength or totality. I feel it could reach a tipping point, where what I say could precede the truth or something. Where my word would create what’s so.
I’m an extremely spiritual guy, so I try not to get ahead of myself. I stay focused on my run, and on my present surroundings.
I build up a head of steam coming down the bridge and settle for a brief cool-down as I turn the corner towards my house.
This is typically the point of my day where I aim to appreciate all that I have in life, so as to set the tone for the day to tilt in my favor. I tell people I’m intentional with this process, like I really connect. It’s more of an intentional formality, and it’s nothing that I really get beyond surface levels.
A song comes on that channels memories of my mom, and the connective force has a little more might. I sense myself doing the same thing I always do when an emotional hi-jacking is imminent. I let my eyes gloss over, appearing that I’m present in the moment — when in fact, I’m thinking of how to avoid it as I stay inside my head.
I interrupt that.
I let it occur. I notice what’s around me: the trees, the wind, the sky, the stars. I notice how much bigger this is from what that nine-year old drew up for himself and his life. At that point in his life, he was already playing it safe. Even his imagination was synthetic, based off of images remembered and concepts repurposed. He didn’t want to risk getting hurt — not even in his dreams.
I stayed with the image. I remembered that kid, deeply. He was so afraid.
So, so, afraid.
I snapped back to reality. I took it all in. I took me in. I felt myself now. I’m becoming a man of my word — a man of a powerful stand.
The stand I could never hold still, up until this moment.
The stand for all I ever wanted. What would make this all worth it. What would give me the hope in my authentic self. What I was always so desperate for.
Like enormous boulders barreling down a cliff, it crashed into me. I absorbed it at a velocity that broke me — the “me” I had come to identify with for all these years. It stripped me down bare…I was okay with it.
What I got hit with, was overwhelming gratitude.
In an instant, tears flushed down to my chin. What I was typically able to corral with a deep breath kept emerging, each occurrence with a more centralized force.
My self-expression reached capacity, and all I could vocalize were two repetitive words:
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
For the first time in my entire life, I was at total peace. I felt true, non-manufactured faith. My constraints were finally shook for a moment in time.
I, was finally…happy.
And it was the most powerful feeling of my life.
All I had to do was stop chasing it, and commit myself to a cause greater than myself.
As Viktor Frankl states, “Happiness cannot be pursued, it must ensue.”
And I really got that — after finally shedding my mask and standing for truth.
I am my word.
I am happy.