The simple elegance of running, has thus far been among the most subtle and surprising vehicles of inner re-calibration I have ever experienced. There’s a wisdom in the energy of motion that is itself a language and reveals itself in repetition. There is no art in life that cannot be mastered by this language.
I’ve come to learn that living a life of ragged, pleasure seeking, self-annihilation is the result of a base layer of patterns, which cannot simply be dropped. This just leaves a void. One needs to replace those patterns with something of equal weight and significance, lest one slides back to old ways.
Almost everything we do consists of patterns, the important thing to understand is, do those patterns serve or hurt us? From my own perspective I realized that life continuously offers us a chance to gain wisdom with which to re-calibrate our lives with patterns that serve us and others in a beneficial way.
It’s been almost 5 years, of an incredible journey of running many marathons and ultra marathons the first few by myself and the bulk with my awesome friend, catalyst, source of powerful positive influence and running partner, Jim. The power of profound friendship can never be overstated, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.”
There have been so many constructive internal shifts over this period that I now no longer recognize many elements of the person I once was. The main, enduring insight that has had a sharp elevation in value for me is that life is a sacred gift and the people close to me, an even greater gift.
With the running of my first 100 miler, the Addo Elephant Trail Run, I can say that I have never in my life, with such clarity come to behold a truth so clear , that the only challenge there has ever been, exists only in myself. For me, the analogies to life were endless on that journey. I could not find any difficult event in my experience to which this truth could not be applied.
And then, like Jim, with the Karkloof 100 Miler, I was expecting some kind of a deep epiphany commensurate with the Addo run but alas the experience was quite different. No endless mirages, extreme, unceasing pain and then euphoria of liberation and accomplishment at the end, it was in fact easy in comparison to the latter.
What did stand out for me was the incredible vibe and deep generosity of support on that race and the splendid friends made on the journey. It was an epic experience no less than the Addo, just different.
For all we wish to accomplish in this life there are many, many steps and often when confronted with the enormity of a task that lies ahead we are immobilized. The simple answer to this? Take the first step. Then repeat and refine.
The overwhelming majority of us are consistently unaware of the vast array of repetitions we perform in every hour, breathing, blinking, walking, talking and on and on. We are succeeding all the time, at something. The simplest of tasks form the foundation of the most complex and impressive results. Being present and mindful and focusing on your outcome along with one simple task at a time, one simple step at a time is all that’s required for any result.
Do you think you could run a 100 mile race? I never imagined that I could, it’s something that I would have thought impossible for myself for the greater part of my life, but I did it. My experience is one of many examples that proves a simple point; the “impossible” is just a measure of steps away from the possible.