What Makes You Come Alive?

Running can be a very exhilarating activity that makes you feel empowered in every way possible. There are so many reasons that running should be a part of everyone’s daily lives but many people still look at running as ‘exercise’ and this is where we are mistaken. In the past year I would add ‘running’ to my daily ‘to do’ list,  but over the past few months my entire outlook has changed. While you run you can enjoy nature, have time alone to think, and at the same time increase your physical strength and endurance.

When you were a kid you likely ran around all over the place, all the time. And you weren’t ‘told’ to go run around, you did it because it was fun and because you enjoyed it. So why does that not still hold true today? If you were to go run around the yard outside, would you feel like a kid again? What if you were to go run the trails at your local park? Would you view it as exercise still?

Running can be a lot of fun whether you run by yourself or with a partner. However, getting out in nature and running or running with groups of people can be very invigorating; as opposed to getting on a treadmill. Your body gets use to running and this ‘activity’ and begins craving it so it naturally becomes a regular part of your life. Whether you see it as exercise or something you enjoy is what makes the difference.

I was actually out running the other day and felt strong, running past other runners like it was nobody’s business. This was a major confidence boost. Until out of nowhere this guy comes along and just races right past me. Did this affect my ‘euphoric’ mood? You bet it did, but not in a negative way. I realized I still had more running to do before I could be as quick as that guy, but I also realized there will always be someone better at running than me. There will always be a runner that has a more intense drive to be the best who trains much harder than I do. Regardless of this fact I know that I can reach my goal as long as I work hard and give 100% every time. We must understand that very runner starts somewhere. The amazing competitors you see had to start at the bottom and work their way up as well.

The body enjoys physical activity, whether it’s running or dancing, and it thanks us with a healthy body and healthy mind. Running is in fact exercise, but it’s also a way to relieve the daily stresses, strengthen your muscles, improve your heart health and just feel better overall. Grab your friends and partake in a marathon, working your way up to bigger and better events if you so choose.

Running is an efficient way to clear your mind and empower your inner self. Yes, you will also become physically stronger but many do not realize the mental benefits of running until they experience it. Learning to appreciate everything around you can do wonders for the soul and running has helped me begin to understand this importance of being present. I look back to before I was running regularly and I’m amazed at just how different everything is. My outlook and view on life have increased significantly and I feel so much better, living life with much more clarity. Running consistently was the best thing I have done this year and I plan to continue to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone.

Social Media: Constructive Exchange of Ideas

Social Media: Constructive Exchange of Ideas

By: Sarah Wheeler

Take a peek at a message board beneath any online article and you get a pretty revealing look at social media and this little tribe of ours known as humankind. First, you have people from across the globe instantly communicating their opinions and insights. They exchange links to more relevant information and even establish interpersonal connections with like-minded folk – it’s downright neighborly. Now pan down a few posts, that’s where you’ll catch your first whiff of conflict … It usually starts with a simple difference of opinion and then gets upgraded to a level-10 ruckus just a few more exchanges down the ladder.

There you have it, everything we love and hate about social media – nothing major, just the whole world present and past, placed at your fingertips, with all borders and filters removed. Welcome to the technological revolution! It’s huge, it’s powerful, and it’s the most sweeping social experiment ever. These are the kinds of rushing waters you want to be caught up in, but only if you have the skill and knowledge to properly navigate the maelstrom so it works for your purposes not against. And therein lies the challenge. How do we become mindful of the unwritten laws of social media and of course the potential minefield of human interaction, so we can enjoy and benefit from our social media engagement?

Social Media is a great way to share our thoughts, speak-up when we feel strongly about societal issues, express ourselves creatively, or to share the ups and downs of our daily life with family and friends. The opportunity to have meaningful dialogues and to cultivate change has been tremendously impactful in my own life. On a daily basis, I am learning and sharing with my social media friends and discussing what matters most to us. But as you may know, the word “friend” takes on a totally different meaning in the context of social media. For instance, I have 600+ online friends. Of those, I would personally count on to rescue me out of a bind would be less than 20. So for me, the idea of formulating bonds on social media to work through pain and conflict towards social change can be challenging. But I also know that for many of us, it can be a valuable and rewarding step to take. The question is, how?

Creating “Intentional Communities” might be the answer. They help bring people together to talk about specific issues in a comfortable environment. The goal is to break down societal divides, and recognize the things that we all have in common.  Within these communities we can safely seek out people who are different than us, who bring in new ideas, and who may challenge our own views. That type of constructive push back is a good thing. But you must not be too one dimensional in your thinking or get discouraged by others who are. Many people have no idea how to deal with conflict. They are cemented to their worldview and can’t imagine any other opinion. New perspectives can cause them to freak out, put up walls, or go on the attack. These types of attacks are actually reflections on the attacker’s personal issues more than the viewpoints of the person who wrote the original post.

  1. Gladwell, in his book: Blink: The power of thinking without thinking, introduced “the four horsemen of relationships”: Defensiveness, Stonewalling, Criticism, and Contempt. He demonstrated how they can predict, with 95% accuracy, which relationships will last and which will not. It’s a safe bet that these same behaviors would apply to online community relationships as well.

To avoid the pitfalls of the digital version of the four horsemen, you must always be aware and mindful of your reactions. If they start reflecting some of the horsemen’s narrow-minded, selfish attitudes, you must work to reestablish a respectful and open dialogue, and to assess your interactions from multiple possible perspectives. It can be challenging in the freewheeling environment of social media where etiquette is still very much a work in progress. Plus, we are emboldened by the anonymous nature of social media to say things that we would never say in person. Just remember, behind that goofy avatar, funky screen name, endless emoticons, and forests of exclamation points, is a living breathing human, just like you – always post or comment with this in mind. And before you submit your thoughts, consider whether or not you’re contributing to the community to benefit the members and make it a better place for the constructive exchange of ideas. I hope you are, because that is the true magic of social media, empowering each other to grow individually and collectively.


Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink: The power of thinking without thinking. New York: Little, Brown and



1) We are providing ways for people to communicate and connect with others but we don’t make the decisions. It’s THEIR lives. Always keep this in mind.

2) Stay present & engaged within each assignment.

3) Be open and respectful to ALL world-views, perspectives, and mindsets. Be empathetic to each situation that is encountered.

4) Show respect to each person you interact with. Treat people the way you would want to be treated, or you would want someone you love to be treated.

5) Be aware of oppressive systematic structures that can influence communication and relationships.

6) Enter in to each situation with a mindset of openness.  Learn as much as you can about the world and the people in it.

7) Allow yourself to let down your guard and to feel, BE HUMAN.

8) In order to effectively communicate, interpreters need to be able to take it all in, process it all, and learn from experiences.

9) Learn as much as you can and always seek to improve your work. Good enough is simply not ‘good enough’.

10) Self-care is so important. Do the things that make you happy every single day.