By Jody Ballard

The afterglow of overcoming a challenge is a powerful moment. It is inside this potent emotional awareness that we can engender growth; by sitting together and discussing with others the beauty of hardships, moments we capture clearly, funny stories, and maybe complain just a little. It is also the time we feel great pride in accomplishment and consider how we might do better. Ahhhhhhh, the sweet afterglow, I cherish this time of bliss, recovery, and great potential. Enjoy it, let it all soak in, embrace it… then CULTIVATE – OPTIMIZE -OPERATIONALIZE and UTILIZE it…please, please activate it.

In order operationalize something, we need knowledge and skills to define a phenomenon that is vague or difficult to define. It’s often a feeling, a heightened awareness, a shift in perspective, or a valued insight. These shifts within ourselves can be seemingly minor, but when we act on them, the trajectory of our lives can change substantially. For example, after the walk I choose to remember laughing with great joy,  dancing together with women on the walk, discussing family issues, and feeling cared for when someone encouraged me to keep pushing through my own physical barriers. OR personal moments of clarity, when I hesitated to soak a fellow walker in water and realized I have become too serious in my life. These insights, when considered in the afterglow, give us essential information about our lives and the clarity we need to grow, which can be otherwise neglected.

Herein lies the beauty and power of the afterglow. Consider your behaviors and how you may have behaved as your best or worst self…….Maybe you witnessed kindness and wished it was directed to you, maybe people around you were often laughing, and you wanted to join in, perhaps you helped others and knew this was more YOU. Please take a few minutes to review the Wellness forms (or even better do them with a loved one) then make a note of what you learned and how you want to implement these adjustments in your daily life.

Consider here all the benefits to you, your family, your career, your health, and your community.  What have you learned by completing the Heritage Walk, and how can you operationalize what you’ve learned about yourself and others for the greatest possible benefit? (Both have equal value, please try to value both)

Make the Walk count for more than a few months. I hope my advice here about how to use this time effectively helps you project into your best healthy life.

Operationalizing something was originally a physics concept – let it set you in positive motion.

Postscript – I miss everyone too.