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.
No matter how hard you try, there are times when things just don’t go as planned. And, it’s not because you are doing something wrong. It is because the thing you are after is not designed for you. It is not a part of your destiny-
The subtle art of paying attention to the details in the present moment – Mindfulness. We don’t often “think” we are engaged in the process of being mindful … Whether through practicing yoga early one morning, listing to the birds playing riding to work, taking in the beauty of a lone daisy swaying in a field … Without getting caught up in where these moment may be leading us.
The past week has been rough, I have to admit that it’s been hard to focus on the present moment; my reckless past and gentle future seem to be taking up all the free space in my brain these days (which isn’t much to begin with). My practice of Ahiṃsā, has fallen out of balance of late as well. Pushing a little too hard mountain bike racing, and not paying attention while commuting to work – Life pro tip: Railroad tracks are “slippery when wet” … Not honoring my true spirit and self has been anything but mindful of late.
This beautiful moment right now, reminds me that the present moment contains the possibility for all things, including freedom from suffering, picking splinters and little gravel bits from the battered left side of my body. Being mindful right now? Is not going to make my bruises and scars magically disappear, reverse the abuse I have put my body through this past week, put the Colorado Avalanche back in playoffs, or even re true my front wheel.
My Dear Reader(s) we are here, in this beautiful – crazy mess for other reasons as well … To marinate in this tender (literally) moment – fully present and mindful. Have a fantastic weekend, and please take care!
A good traveller is one who knows how to travel with the mind-
What a jerk! I know, I just know that he cut me off in the pace line, on purpose none the less! Here I am, falling off the back of the pack … The race is over 20km in! Or is it?!?
Like you, I am an expert in regards to mind-reading. I used to walk through life ass-uming that if another person’s behavior caused me distress in any way, they must have intended to make me feel this way. Those filthy bastards!
I was addicted to attributing my negative motives and thoughts to someone else and their behavior. Why not – their actions did sting a little bit and they kinda pissed me off. My subjective (and biased) interpretation of other folks, rather than their behavior, finally made me lose my, cool.
Then something truly cool started to happen. It started with a deep breath, and then gently changing my inner dialog, slowly, patiently – I subdued the thoughts of starting a confrontation, replacing them with – “I won’t assume anything; These thoughts will pass” … “No mind-reading today, not now.”
Tuning into myself, rather than magnifying the stress when I was beginning to get upset, needing to address the other person, eyebrows furled, sweaty fists clenched … “It’s Saturday afternoon dude, the NHL and NBA playoffs are on, the sun is up! We’ll get ‘em next time around!”
Have a beautiful weekend friends and please take care!
The world isn’t fair, Calvin.”
“I know Dad, but why isn’t it ever unfair in my favor?-
I want to go back and touch on “should” thoughts for a moment before we move onto today’s post. Contemplative thought is truly a brilliant tool to exploring your true potential, just not when its time to perform. I like to call these – trigger happy thoughts or reactive thoughts. Let’s dive a little deeper and to maintain some clarity, I’m relating the post today to competitive outings and more specifically: Running.
What are your initial thoughts and feelings when I tell you that “Fairness” – Is a fallacy? Fairness is rubbish and compete utter nonsense?
Many of us (maybe this hits close to home for you) … Cloak ourselves with the falsehood that there exists only a single standard of fairness and – SPOILER ALERT! - It’s our very own! What we consciously choose to ignore, and this is when we start our “should” thinking, is that fairness is a completely subjective concept, based on our individual needs, expectations, and values. The big boy truth, is that your definition of what’s fair? Is completely self-serving (mine included).
If your buttons have been pushed in the past, or even right now because you thought you were being treated unjustly? Let me share a classic example most runners have lamented about: “I should not be in the 30-39 year old age bracket! It’s too competitive! If only the race organizers would change the ages – my time in a different bracket would get me on the podium!”
The next time you find yourself questioning fairness, your mind clouded with “should” thoughts? Try this on for size at the starting line - What I see as fair? Is a direct reflection of my own deeply held personal preferences. Then proceed to run the race of your life!
We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking-
We have been discussing “intention(s)” of late, and I personally want to thank each one of you who have commented during this time. Your kind words and thoughts help me, immensely! Keeping with the theme of intention, I would like to introduce - performance – “Umm what dude?”
Yup! We are going to talk about intention/performance as they relate to yoga, cycling, trail running and whatever really. Heck even making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Anything … There is another word hidden craftily in-between intention and performance though. A tedious, dirty little word that will completely mess up your best intentions and suck the very essence from your performance. What is this evil little word?!?
Our minds logical fallacy is that our “should(s)” are universal, no matter what we choose to do. That what is intelligent, reasonable, or “good” for myself ought to be for others as well, from one activity to another.
Should I push a little harder during class? Should I listen to the cramps gripping my legs? Should I use extra peanut butter? Should I put bananas on my sandwich as well? Should I step up to the starting line, knowing I belong with the best runners here?
Hopefully, by better understanding the “should(s)” in our lives, we can bring about meaningful performance <– Whatever that means …