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!
The parts of me that used to think I was different or smarter or whatever, almost made me die-
Nineteen powerful words by David Foster Wallace that truly defined who I used to be.
Last night, while making pizza with my Son, I missed an entire meaningful conversation about the new Star Wars movie he was trying to have with me. I was completely tuned out, and not because I was engrossed in making pizza and snacking on tortilla chips, but because I was engrossed in a NPR news story being played through a small speaker attached to my gadget-thing.
Side Note: Men reading this morning, and ladies alike – because as cunning and sly as you may be … I enjoy taking an extra-long time in the bathroom with my iThingy, I use my small arsenal of “mindless” apps as a means to escape the stress and chaos that often seems to accompany me throughout the day.
These periods of mindless isolation normally do not last very long, usually until one leg falls asleep or NPR news starts getting all high-minded and political while preparing dinner. I genuinely welcome these temporary escapes from the daily grind, although, how much is too much? Honestly, I don’t have an answer to give you and I’d be surprised if anyone else does either.
Perhaps, maybe, it would be ideal if we reintroduced “intention” and “purpose” to our gadget use, even during the times when we are not using them. How cool would it be if we motivated each other to unplug at a time we are normally plugged in? Raise your hand if you are on your gadget minutes after finishing yoga class, in the restroom or making dinner?!? – notice my hands waving in the breeze - Just imagine the new sounds, the new encounters that awaken when we expose our true selves, to the very real world we call home …