There's an old saying that says, go in the direction of the green lights. It means stop pushing against what you want that's not working, and just head in the direction of what's more easily unfolding. Let go of insisting, try a contrary action, and get on with things.
That's not how most of us work.
Take a look around and notice that when cornered, most of us try to force our will to get our way. The latest public examples are Rep. Weiner saying he won't resign from Congress, or Newt Gingrich saying he will still run for President, or Charlie Sheen saying he's winning even though most of the foundation of his life is crumbling away.
Weiner is taking a bow out of the public spotlight for a while and heading to rehab, which is a brilliant move designed to show contrition and compliance. However, Weiner 2.0 will be back in time for the fall insisting that's all behind him and he's staying put in office. It's an expensive publicist's plan to get us to go along with what Weiner wanted all along.
However, before we all gather our collective outrage and shake our fists in frustration, perhaps we can take a look on the smaller scale at our personal behavior. That's where we can start to change and build something instead.
This isn't about blame, so put that aside. It's about accountability as a tool to build a bigger life.
The place to start is with the first small steps in front of us to get us going. For me, that's been even becoming willing to walk more, then run and eat less. I've even found myself praying for willingness to just show up because the hardest part has been getting myself out the door early in the mornings.
However, apparently, sometimes prayer really works, because while tweeting about my early efforts to train for a 5K, a local skydiving company offered to sponsor me, then provided a coach. Then a footwear company asked if I'd wear their shoes, and now an apparel company is sending their clothes. It has to be proof at last that God has a sense of humor.
Now, I get up early every morning and head out to run because on August 6th there will be a lot of people rooting for me to show just how much we can all recover from getting knocked down. Cancer took part of my left leg, but my willingness has grown in its place.
The story continues to grow. This merry band now wants to organize our own 5k for the fall of 2012, which means I'll be running far into the future. There are videos about the journey and more info -- at www.marthacarr.com -- on the 5K Project page, along with information about Northwestern's research into melanoma and how to get involved with us.
My willingness has stretched out so far that we're also all jumping out of a plane later that same day. There will be video of that as well, and I'm going to do my best to be smiling.
All of this has happened without me asking for a single thing, and I kept saying yes because of all the green lights. I have no idea where this journey is going, or just how big it will eventually get to be. That's OK, because all I need to know is what the next small step is that I'm supposed to be taking, and then move forward.
There are still plenty of things in my life that are not working and have ground me down to a state of frustration. Those I can set aside or even let go of, and pay more attention to what's opening up in front of me, whether it's my career, my health or my relationships.
That doesn't mean I stop being a writer, stop eating healthier and exercising, or stop being a good friend. It means I stop trying to control how it'll look or what it'll all amount to in the end, and enjoy the ride. Tweet me @MarthaRandolph and let me know what you're changing in your life.
Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate. E-mail Martha at Martha@caglecartoons.com.