Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Mountains Shall Bring Peace to the People.....

Last weekend, I had the absolute pleasure of pacing my friend Fred for the last 40 miles of the  Wasatch 100.  For those of you who are not familiar with the race, The Wasatch 100 is described as “one of the most uniquely challenging ultrarunning events in the world. It is a study in contrasts: peaks and valleys; trail and scree; heat and cold; wet and dry; summer and winter; day and night; Desolation Lake and Point Supreme; "I can't" and "I will!"
 Dickens had the Wasatch in mind when he wrote, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." The primitive and isolated nature of the course is both its beauty and its challenge, for it requires the individual runner to rely primarily on himself or herself rather than the Race's support systems. Wasatch is not just distance and speed; it is adversity, adaptation and perseverance.”

Adaptation and perseverance.  The beauty at the top of the mountain calls like a siren, yet as soon as you begin your ascent it leaves you panting and breathless. 
The surface of the mountain is rocky and rough, yet beautiful plants and flowers cling affectionately. 
You plead for a downhill, which turns out to be slick, craggy and unforgiving. 
The sunset induces trepidation, but the radiation of sunrise brings optimism and promise.

I adore the mountains.
I’m quite sure it is the challenge of the crawl rewarded by the spectacular view from the summit,.
I treasure the eerie stillness and tranquility that cities cannot offer.
I am drawn time and time again to the grandeur.  I feel accepted by nature.  I am at peace. 
One day I will call the mountains my home.  Until then, I guess I'll  sign up for the next  race and keep climbing.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Paradigm Shift

Paradigm Shift

Not good enough.  That is the story that my brain feeds me daily. 
I should be a more knowledgeable coach, a faster runner, a focused worker,  a patient mom, organized, make nutritious meals every day, be a diligent housekeeper, a loving wife….the list goes on and on in a continuous story loop in my brain.   But yesterday, I had one of those “Aha” moments that literally changed my way of thinking. 

I happened upon Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and ever since reading this sentence very early in the book, I feel like a weight has been lifted.  Covey says “We see the world not as it is, but as we are-or as we are conditioned to see it."
Yes!  The way I choose to live my life is not “right” or “wrong”, or “good” or “bad”.   It just IS. 

I have spent much of my life being a “pleaser”.  Therefore, when other people disagree with me, I automatically become defensive.  What is wrong with me?  What is wrong with them?  The truth is that nothing is “wrong” with either of us; we just see things differently.  Aha!  I don’t have to worry about what others think, and I can even appreciate their opinions!   Wow, such a simple, life changing shift in thought.   Covey calls this difference in thinking a “paradigm shift”. 

I had my first paradigm shift after I first started running with a group of homeless runners in a Run On! sponsored program.   Going into the program I was admittedly a bit scared, and more than a bit judgmental.  I assumed that if you work hard, you would reap the benefits, for this is what I had always been taught.  This was my experience growing up in a disciplined family.    Through this program however, I learned that people are the same, we have just been dealt different cards.  Not right, not wrong….just different. 

Each person has their own perspective on life, and only when we learn to appreciate and embrace our differences, will we become a more interdependent (and successful) society. 

I look forward to the lessons that this book offers.  I look forward to a change in perception, and to stepping out of the “social” expectations that stifle me. 
After all, nobody’s perfect…but …what does “perfect” mean anyway?