You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave till it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know-
I went through a rough patch this past Sunday competing in the Cornhusker State Games Gravel Grinder event. Something really challenging happened that pushed a whole bunch of my buttons at once, pushing my mind and emotions into overdrive, turning what should have been a nine-hour 111.9 mile ride into nearly a twelve-hour 140+ mile ride (single speed).
I’m certain that many of you are familiar with the term “crisis reveals character” or something similar?
Whenever I get really upset about something, my emotions start to simmer and I secretly worry about my unsavory character boiling over, my dark side so to speak. Is this upset, bitchy person really me? Most of the time I like to think “things” easily slide off my back. That I’m a composed, chill sort of dude. Although when I become upset by a really difficult, or unfair situation, I sometimes contemplate or say things that I would never normally allow myself to think or say out loud.
Thankfully I don’t get so far gone that I rant in inappropriate situations, or to the wrong innocent person. However, I still say and think unsavory things that I wish I hadn’t thought or said.
“Forget it - Dude.” This crisis reveals character concept is complete and utter rubbish! When I am really upset? I’m not at my best, and I spent 30 miles (ish), cycling in horrid conditions this past Sunday, figuring this out.
Somewhere between Burr, NE and 134th and Pella Rd (Google this if you are bored) I gave the gift Grace to myself. From the start to mile 80, I was mess, a train wreck oozing with bitching and moaning. Its amazing what a little grace, cold water, kind and compassionate company can do to restore your true self.
If you claim to be a real friend then be real in your soul. If you claim to be fake then be an enemy instead-
I was in my early 30′s when we first met. This particular marathon was in a beautiful and exotic part of war-torn Baghdad, Iraq. I did not like it from the start and it only got worse from there …
I nuzzled my way onto the starting line cocky, arrogant, and self-centered. I couldn’t stand the thought of having to run through the pack, outlasting the early sprinters and generally weaving through the pedestrians. Much to my dismay, I faded back 10 miles into this scorching hot race. This was just another marathon, but I was the same person.
And there I was at the next big race in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The same person I was a year earlier followed me to this race as well …
It finally dawned on me, blonde hair and all, that it was I, who needed to change or else I would be my own worst enemy for the rest of my life. As I began to walk the path of meaningful change in my life, I came to realize my poor marathon performances were a metaphor for the way my life works. I can cast blame and run away from poor performances, although they will keep returning until I finally face them, and owe up to them.
Over the past three years of blogging. I tried at times, and failed more often than I like, to share with you, thinking out-loud, why these particular traits of me bother me so much.
Once I set out to change myself all those years ago, I started to notice that the “old” me doesn’t come around as much anymore. When these feelings do arise out of nowhere? I tap deeper into my inner compassion and gratitude … Noticing that in some ways, I have been trying to help myself all along, I was just to cocky, arrogant, and self-centered to notice.
Arousal begins within the mind, then seeps out where fantasy propels physicality-
Is striking a match necessary in order to light a candle? The initial sparks of a freshly lit candle can yield a warm blaze, and the same simple action(s) can be applied to lighting our inner fire.
The passion building in our hearts matters just as much as what our muscles are doing in regards to sparks that can start a fire. If you are thinking about your workout program tomorrow morning, segment planning on Strava, picking out your running clothes and making sure your yoga pants are ready to go … These feelings of passion are likely to arise. If you are focused on the way your body “looks“, the woman who just breezed by you, comparing yourself to everyone in the crowd or fleeting fantasies of how “hot” and “toned” you will be after class? Odds are that your passion will decrease …
The key word folks is focus. States of flow, including flow during yoga class and while out riding early one morning, depend upon my focused attention (otherwise I keep awaking old injuries). Hence, I prefer to spark my fire by using a magnifying glass – Like a beam of light, the more pinpoint my focus, the more intense my states of flow are. A magnifying glass can intensify and focus sunlight to the point that a single beam of light will cause the candle upon which it is focused, to burn into flame … What actions do you take, to spark your inner fire?
Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing-
In our constantly connected – Strava – King of the Mountain – always on the run world, we are expected to perform better each and every day. Faster and farther than the day prior, and in many disciplines, we are rewarded for our speed. However, I have found out that it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the right objectives, if we are not clear on what success really looks like, the dedication and sacrifices required.
The greatest hockey player of all time Wayne Gretzky (Joe Sakic is a close second) once said after loosing in the 82-83 Stanley Cup finals to the more experienced New York Islanders “… They won and they’re wounded. We lost and we are fine …“
Sometimes we come up with these grandiose ideas that appear like winning solutions from afar. The temptation to sprint off of the treadmill to qualify for Boston, the enthusiasm of showing up and competing early one morning, and the passion we have for our chosen discipline, can and will get the better of us. It truly is only a matter of time. Being powered by our emotions and energy can be a wonderful time in our fleeting lives, as this energy can launch us to quickly achieve milestones once thought impossible, allowing us to charge through and over the obstacles that were lying on our path.
Invariably, though, emotion can only take us so far in life, we start slowing down, injuries start to visit more frequently, and then these obstacles come along, and stop us dead in our tracks.
Stuck, we might not know how to take the next step, or know even what the next step is …
Like first time triathletes who start too fast, leisurely 5k folks who run at breakneck speeds off of the starting line, cyclist who envision themselves on the podium before half way … We risk running into a wall that is truly debilitating. Although, when we pause to breathe, honor ourselves, smile, embrace the moment instead of the outcome? This is when the obstacles in life, fall off of our path!
Even chance meetings are the result of karma… Things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there’s no such thing as coincidence-
Its a beautiful morning and the perfect time to discuss karma.
I often hear from different folks (I personally contemplate these thoughts as well) who want to know why they are struggling, when others are not (running specific this morning). The vast majority of them think their training/performance is some sort of “karmic retribution” for a fleeting, bad action in the past – Heaven forbid we eat three pieces of wedding cake the day before a race! Fast forward to limping across the finish line, emotional and sick because “bad karma” doomed them to suffer from the very start.
This next bit is a memo to myself: The simple truth about Karma? Karma is about the nature of our intentions, our intentions in this very moment.
When we respond to our intention and action(s), with kindness, compassion, and generosity? We are planting the seeds of change, slowly blossoming into someone who is kind, compassionate, and generous. We are defining our character, which in turn has a pretty cool effect on the world around us.
The teachings of Buddha in regards to karma can be life changing. Each one of us posses the ability to change ourselves no matter how ingrained our habits may be, even blaming a poor performance on wedding cake. As some wise dude once said: “Intending, one does karma.”