I was milling about at the start line of the Surf City Half Marathon a couple of weeks ago when I spotted something that really struck me. I saw a man wearing a T-shirt from the Iron Man competition in Kona, Hawaii. He had competed in the world championship of a race that most people wouldn’t even consider attempting. Yet it wasn’t this man’s incredible accomplishment that spoke to me - it was how he perceived it. The word “FINISHER” was printed in large letters across his back suggesting that this was the part of which he was proudest.
His message resonated with me that morning because I was standing in line to run a race that I had committed to run, in spite of the fact that I was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier that week. (Thankfully, I am incredibly lucky to have found it very early and I will be just fine!) I share this personal bit of adversity to illustrate in a vulnerable way how showing up for our health often means simply doing what we set out to do. Answering the bell. It requires different things on different days - but it always requires finishing.
Through my practice and my writing, I educate on the importance of good nutrition, frequent movement, and adequate sleep. I emphasize growing our spiritual lives and our loving connections. But perhaps most importantly, I try to cultivate in you a sense of purpose - an understanding of why you are here on this planet. It requires an inquiry into what gets you out of bed in the morning and what brings you a sense of joy and meaning. For me, that purpose is my motherhood and this work. For you, it may be similar or entirely different. It is perfect as long as it is authentically yours.
Your call to action today is that you spend a minute or two considering your purpose. Once you’ve got your “why” written on your heart, I want you to think about what “finishing” looks like for you today. What do you need to do so that you have the best possible chance to be alive and keep writing your story? It's showing up at those medical appointments when you just don't want to. It might be as simple as having a salad with your dinner when you’d rather have a pound of pasta or going for a walk when you’d rather watch Netflix. It might be forgiving a friend when you’d rather stay mad or scheduling that mammogram when you’d rather procrastinate. Finish your work and be who you were meant to be.
Colleen Rivers MD is a cancer survivor and founded Seek which provides heath coaching and workshops to inspire simple changes that are transformative and guide you on your journey to restored health, renewed connections and a greater joy of living.