I run about three to five times a week on a 2.2 mile course around the golf course close to my house. I've been doing it consistently for almost five months now. I typically run in the mornings, but yesterday was different.
I put on my workout clothes promptly at 6:00 a.m. when I woke up, fed and walked the dogs, and before I headed out the door at 6:45 a.m., thought, I'll just quickly check my email.
I know not do this. I know what will happen next.
I stayed in my workout clothes, no make-up, a ponytail and a baseball cap at my laptop. All. Day. Long. No run. Just laptop. And every hour, I promised myself I'd leave in five minutes to go run. Instead, I went to my lunch meeting dressed like that. And I went to my early evening meeting dressed like that. I'm very fortunate that I work from home, but there's always the risk of this happening.
As I left my 6:00 p.m. meeting, still dressed like an Olympic athlete in training, I thought to myself, I'm just around the corner from the golf course... I should go run right now... the sun will be setting in 30 minutes. So, I turned right instead of left and headed to the golf course.
I was only about a quarter mile into my run when something I saw on the concrete stopped me cold in my tracks.
A heart. A spray-painted red heart right in the middle of the concrete sidewalk. Like I said, this is the same path I have been running for about five months now. And this heart was not a freshly-painted, new to the sidewalk heart. It was a weathered, worn, distressed and been-there-for-a-minute kind of heart. So, why was I just now seeing it? Was I too preoccupied to see it before? Had it been there all along?
I finished my run with these questions lingering in my head and I came up with four reasons I found love on my run.
1. In the Now
When I run in the mornings, I'm usually thinking of everything I have to do that day. Phone calls to return, bills to pay, meetings to set, get more dog food, blah, blah, blah. This time, I was able to really be present. Focusing on my breath, being particular with each step I ran, feeling my leg muscles work and my core tightening. I was not looking ahead to see how much further I had to go until the next corner or wondering how much longer until I finished. I was focused on watching my feet hit the pavement one after another. Boom, boom, boom, boom. And then bam. Love showed up.
2. Do Something You Love
Every spiritual master, teach and guru I've listened to, read or watched has said to do more of what it is you want. If you want more money, give money to someone who needs it. If you want more love in your life, give love to those who need it the most. If you want someone to be good to you, be good to yourself -- do things you love, things that make you laugh, inspire you, feed your soul. You'll be amazed at how you have more energy, feel lighter, look younger and all of a sudden, you start attracting good into your life.
3. Change Up Your Routine
This was the most obvious to me. When things stay the same, we run on autopilot. Almost half asleep. It's easy, monotonous, and comfortable. I had changed my run from morning to evening. Everything was different. I took a different route to get there. The lighting was different. Traffic was different. All my external surroundings were different. And when your surroundings are different and new to you, your senses pick up new things.
4. Expect the Unexpected
There's an old cliché 'you never know what's just around the corner.' I used to get so annoyed anytime someone would say that to me. When I'd lost my job, or been heartbroken by some guy, that's about the last thing I wanted to hear, but it's so true! I think of my rescued pit bull I found under a car at a car dealership close to downtown last summer. There she was, an East LA dog, beaten up so badly that she looked half dead, paws so raw she couldn't walk, emaciated from lack of food and water. And where is she today? In Beverly Hills, in a nice, cushy dog bed, with well-manicured paws and the best dried salmon food she could ever wish for. Things changed for her in that one instant I found her. Circumstances can change this quickly for all of us.
I'm all for acronyms. They help me remember things. So, if we tie the above together, we get ID CE. I'd see! Follow the above four suggestions and see where they take you. I have written them down so I look at them every morning and am incorporating them into my daily life. Can't wait to see what pops into my life next. Let me hear from you and tell me what pops into yours too.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power," which took place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.