Friday, August 30, 2013

Cultivation of One's Self

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” ~ Confucius

As much as I hate to admit it, life can sometimes get in the way of doing the things I love to do.  When life throws me a curve ball, or two, or three, I know my tendency is to place everything on hold while I attempt to work through said curve balls.  This is exactly why I have not posted anything on my blog in the last few weeks.  I let circumstances get the better of me and I have neglected my writing.  To an extent, I have neglected my running.  Oh, for sure, I have been out there putting in the miles, whether on the trail or the road, but my heart hasn’t been in it.  Running has felt laborious.  It has felt draining.  My legs have felt like dead weight.  It just has not felt enjoyable like it had been before I started dodging curve balls.  And, I want that enjoyment back.  I want to feel great out there.  I want to feel the pleasure of running.  But, how do I get back there?  That is an answer I don’t have at this point.

Because I am still within the first six months of my training as a runner, I don’t know how this will turn out.  I don’t know how long it will take to regain my love of running; my looking forward to putting in long distances.  It’s as though I just have too much time to think.  Too much time to ponder.  Too much time to wonder.  I reach points out there where I feel okay.  I feel lighter and gain a better understanding of myself.  But, I still don’t find any pleasure or resolution.  Too much exists outside of my control.  And, that is the real issue for me.  I feel vulnerable when my perception is that I do not have control over the situation.  In reality, we never really have control over our environment, only ourselves.  We cannot possibly know what others are going to do or say at any given moment.  We can’t know their thoughts or motivations.  We can’t control the weather.  We can’t control how others see us or what they think about us.  We can only take stock of the situation and control how we will view it and respond to it; how we will perceive and respond to others.  In the words of Sir Roger L'estrange, “It is not the place, nor the condition, but the mind alone that can make anyone happy or miserable.”

I have been working diligently for the past week to do just this.  When I feel myself spiraling into negative thought patterns and questions of “Why me?” or “What if this or that?,” I then ask myself, “So what?  Is there anything I can do to change the situation?’’  If there is, I do it.  If there isn’t, I stop ruminating over it and focus my energy in the present moment.  Is this easy?  No.  Absolutely not.  I am changing lifelong patterns of relating and it is hard.  It is uncomfortable.  But, it is worth it.  Instead of feeling anxious and fearful, I feel more calm and relaxed, more often.  I feel more confident in my own abilities.  I am learning to believe in myself and trust myself.

So, maybe my discomfort with writing and running is not so bad after all.  I am learning a lot about myself.  I am growing and developing into a stronger, more confident woman, which is what my journey has been all about and will continue to be all about.  With comfort comes complacency.  Moving outside that comfort zone cultivates growth and development.  As frightening as it may be at times, I think I’ll keep pushing those boundaries and limits.  I will keep running.  I will keep writing.  I will keep growing.  I will keep developing.  I will keep on keeping on.  And, I will remind myself of the words of Huanchu Daoren…“Happiness in comfort is not real happiness. Happiness in the midst of hardship, one sees the true potential of the mind.”

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