Out There: Making Miracles Happen

It's amazing what 40 days of reflection can lead to, as Susan Lacke discovered. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

I’m making miracles happen, y’all.

Last year, at the suggestion of a friend, I read the book Make Miracles in Forty Days by Melody Beattie. I admit, I’m not usually the type to browse the self-help section at Barnes & Noble — I tend to roll my eyes at that shtick and head for the useful stuff, like running magazines and celebrity tell-all books. But I was stuck in a self-pitying rut after a disappointing race, and my friend’s genuine zeal for this paperback was contagious. That’s how I found myself at the register with a self-help book and my Visa card.

The basic premise behind Miracles is quite simple — every day, you spend 10 minutes writing about what you’re grateful for. After 40 days, a miracle would show up.

When I read this, I rolled my eyes so hard I saw brain matter. If making miracles was so simple, as she claimed, we should have cured cancer years ago, and I’d be lining up for the Olympic trials in the marathon.

Still, what did I have to lose?

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I set aside 10 minutes each day to free-write in a journal, each time starting with “I’m grateful for …”

— My dogs, who jump on my bed each morning with such joy, I can’t help but start my day with a smile.

— A partner who makes me laugh every day.

— A healthy body that does what I ask of it – even the stupid stuff (and I do a lot of stupid stuff).

— A coach who always knows exactly what I can handle, even when I don’t believe I can handle it.

— Effin’ hill repeats. They make me a stronger runner.

— Weddings that serve up four different kinds of cake.

— A coffee date with my best friend.

— Bills to pay and a job (that I love) to pay them.

— Foam rollers, needling, and a massage therapist who makes me cry on a weekly basis.

On day 40, I closed my journal and sat in uncomfortable silence. “OK, miracle!” I summoned to the sky, “You can happen now!”

Crickets.

I was, in a word, irked. What a waste of 40 days.

Except it wasn’t. When I looked back at where I was 40 days prior, I realized I had gained a sense of calm. I made my peace with the bad race that prompted me to buy the book. I smiled more. Deadlines at work didn’t stress me out as much. For 40 consecutive days, I had completed every run on my training plan as directed (a real wonder for this procrastinator, as my coach can attest). I even started to like hill repeats. Cue the choir, folks — we got a miracle over here!

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OK, so it’s not a cure for cancer or endurance prowess. But it feels pretty damn miraculous anyway.

When we lament our current reality, we get stuck. Making a conscious effort to be grateful for the things in life — the good and the bad — help us to find serenity and get unstuck. Yeah, I know: I sound remarkably like a self-help book. Go ahead and roll your eyes. I don’t blame you.

But just try it anyway. What do you have to lose?

You can’t always pick the miracles that happen — it’d be naïve to think you can have whatever you want, just by writing a list — but you may already have more than you think you do.

Maybe even a miracle or two.

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About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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