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?
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!
Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength-
“Slow down, you move too fast … Life, I love you, All is groovy.“
Can you recall the last time you were in love, with life? Noticing the subtle – yet profound flowers blossoming from the dormant grass below ?
During lunch with a close friend this past Friday, I struggled to put into words this exact thought: When was the last time you fell in love with life. All of us have become multitasking savants, hastily doing no fewer than three things at once. Making breakfast while texting about the NCAA tournament and updating a post we have been working on for a few weeks. Our minds are literally filled to capacity, overflowing with “things“. When does the Sun rise tomorrow? The Sun does rise – right? Why does Windows take so long to boot? What’s the forecast for this weekend? Am I out of shape? I look bloated! What if I perform poorly in yoga class, my next 5k? This latte is too much, are they stealing my debit card information? Will it snow tomorrow? I need to book an appointment to have my nails did – done – whatever? What time is it, do I have time to workout/run/swim?
Time is flat, circular and restrictive. We continually arrive back at the same point, with a gadget of some sort close by.
Can you recall the last time you went for a leisurely walk after dinner? The “garden of life” variety of walk that didn’t involve a pedometer, taking a selfie or tweeting to the masses the calories you burned, and all the “other” information we vitally need to live.
If you can name the song and artist that set the gentle tone for the post today,without using your Google Machine – You win a prize or something! All, truly is groovy!!!