Change…You Gotta Love It

Nothing ever stays the same, ever. In nature, in life, in our bodies. Change is one of those immutable laws of the universe. It informs us with great constancy that all things are simply on a continuum: of birth and death; of growth and decay; of youth and age; of static and dynamic; of forward and backward. There is no place to shelter ourselves from change; it is the essence and life force of every atom and molecule found in the created world. To not love change, is to not love reality.

Change (v): to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be, if left alone. Dictionary.com

The problem with change for people though, is that we often do not perceive its arrival until its presence is most obvious and unwelcome. Like the proverbial elephant in the room, we often resist change wherever and whenever we encounter it. Like sleep walkers who are suddenly awakened from our slumber, change interjects clarity and reality into our once fantastical thinking. This may explain why weight gain of 5, 10, or more pounds on our bodies is so imperceptible to us at first, until it is not.  

Is it not also interesting how we try to manage and comprehend change by employing superlatives to describe its effects upon us (gain or loss, most or least, best or worst). But what if we were to consider change not in terms of either/or, but rather in terms of ONE. What if we were to relate to change in simplicity, realizing that its power transforms all things in the singularity of its ONE-ness, ad infinitum: one moment, one day, one inch, one pound after the other.  

Perhaps then we would become lovers of change. Perhaps then we would live our lives  with ONE purposeful step after another and another and another. And then perhaps we would love change, because we would know and believe and witness that each ONE step, each ONE action, each ONE belief accumulates; and this accumulation, whether we perceive it moving us along or not, soon works a change through us.

This is the law and nature and beauty of change. With our each and every thought or movement, change works on our behalf to move us along infinity’s continuum: closer to strength or weakness, closer to health or illness, closer to happiness or sadness, closer to failure or success.

Change…you gotta love it. The power of ONE. Embrace it, or not…  

 

Thoughts Well Chosen

Run the Mile You Are InI do not know who quipped these wise words, but they have been especially helpful to me in regards to my run training of late. In fact, when I consider how useful this mantra has been for my running, I realize that this idea easily transfers into my non-running life too.

Whether putting in the miles for long road races or technical trail races, I often find I need to avail myself of this wisdom. Run training cycles can wear on a runner’s mind as much as the miles wear on the body, and I find I am most tempted to quit a run when facing those tired, anxious thoughts during long solo runs. However, now that I have added this mantra to my runner’s tool box, I have discovered a powerful implement to beat off negative run-thinking.

As many runners will attest, the power of a well chosen mantra can allay and repurpose unproductive thinking during a hard run. This mantra has become my new best-friend and a powerful antidote for run-weary thoughts. When I focus my mind on these words, I  am firmly re-connected to my body as it moves in the present moment. From this present perspective I settle my breathing and my pace and I find it possible to relax my grip on the unknown, which is measured in miles to go until I finish.

Savor the quest, not the finish. The Cool Impossible ~ Eric Orton

Thoughts of the unknown are always projected onto the movie screen of the future. The minutes, hours, and days which we cannot physically inhabit, become the playground for bullies who taunt our imagination with fearful images of ourselves as incompetent, inadequate school yard failures.

This driving need of ours, to know what we cannot know, has the potential to strip us not only of physical energy but also of happiness and joy for the journey we are currently running; whether it’s the next 100 feet of uphill trail or the next blank page of a manuscript which needs to be filled with narrative, story and conviction.

Every race is a question, and I never know until the last yards what the answer will be. Long Run Solution ~ Joe Henderson

It’s funny how this one little mantra has taught me something about thoughts well chosen; about how thoughts have no power over me except to distract me into believing them as true. And I have become keenly aware of the importance of choosing quality thoughts, because quality thoughts produce quality running and quality living.

When I direct my thoughts to inhabit the moments of now, they clearly have their effect on me. When I run in the present mile, I have focus and strength and breath for each step I take in the present mile. I do not, I can not, and I will not worry about whether I’ll have breath or strength for the miles ahead. I am training myself to just keep moving…for now.

From this perspective I am able to focus my mind and body on the powerful physical movements I am making towards my finish line, rather than wasting precious energy entertaining ideas of what I may not be able to accomplish.

My run training has taught me that as my body responds to the training effects of physical repetition and practice, my mind likewise improves its ability to inhabit and reflect on the current moment rather projecting itself into the future.

I feel silly admitting that at 50+ years of age, I am still learning how to live positively in the reality of the present, fully inhabiting all the moments which make this time now.  But here’s the beauty of learning how to live in the land of now: with every step and stride I take, I grow in confidence that my breath and legs will be adequate for the journey…to carry me through the mile I am already in.