The Golden Spot / by Shaun Fauntleroy

About six or seven years ago, my friend Edith gave me a gorgeous succulent plant for Christmas. I love having plants around the house because they remind me of my great-grandmother and looking forward to bringing it home. Another friend who witnessed the gift giving told me that if I clip the ends back then it would bloom every year. She advised me with such authority that I took her word for it without double-checking and I clipped the ends back. It has not bloomed, not once. I thought I'd destroyed its ability to flower and have always regretted that ill advised pruning. A few days ago I looked at it and see two blossoms and more on the way. It only took seven years. Something beautiful that I thought I'd destroyed lives again and is more beautiful than I ever imagined. This past year, the past few months especially have been all about faith, process, and renewing hope in dreams I long took for dead. The process in renewing hope in something you want badly is a painful one. It's difficult and there's so much risk involved, but it must be done and I'm finding myself hungry for new challenges.

Speaking of challenges, my friend John recently reminded me of how beneficial The Artists Way is and I've decided to go through it again. I remember the freedom and inspiration I felt last time I went through it and I can feel my excitement growing. My main obstacle is and has always been negative thoughts and fear, so one thing I'm using to help with this is running...which I hate.

A few years ago I found myself dipping my toe into the Cross-Fit craze. There's a Cross-Fit box near my home and I was making good money at the time so I took the plunge. In one of my first classes I was doing a rep of something horrendous involving crunches, a medicine ball, and burpees when I felt my body begin to revolt. My thoughts began to race and in them I heard, "I can't do this. This is too hard. I can't do this." I started to make up my mind to stop and another voice crept in and said, "You can do this. You're being asked to work much harder than you've worked in a long while and you're not used to it, but you can do this. Don't give up." Mind over matter.

I listened to the voice and kept going, and over time I felt my body getting stronger and my endurance growing. I applied this mind over matter/self-encouragement principle to other areas of my life—college, writing endeavors, self-discipline—and I saw fairly significant results. Several weeks ago my friend lovely friend Kathy Fryman was recently encouraging me to challenging myself with running, which I hate doing, and she said, "The worst parts are getting started and coming to the finish, but once you get going you're in the golden spot." Words to live by. Words to create by.

Again, mind over matter. Having a physical activity that mirrors the mental act of overcoming challenges and pushing yourself to do your best is key for me. So far this month I've run twice a week and plan to increase it to three times next week. Let's see what blooms next.