Sunday, December 25, 2016

Wind, trees, change

Things do not change; we change. Thoreau.

Standing in the woods today as the wind blew strong against the trees, some alive and some already dead but still pushing back against each blow, I couldn't help but think how our brains, or at least mine, are afloat on a wind of thoughts that blow in both good and horrible thoughts. I supposed the great question for today was whether to let ourselves go where that mental wind blows or to stand strong against the gale and remain firm in our position like the trees. 
The past is firmly fixed like the trees. Memories are there. Unchangeable in fact. Miles run are miles in the book. Yes, it can wear with time and become blurry, but in the truest terms of fact, what happened is written in time. My brain sometimes blows against them and tries to move good ones into painful ones and painful ones into obscurity and I suppose that's similar to living trees that provide shade and protection and the dead trees that only take up space and provide nothing of value. 

The future, or our plans, are by nature unfixed. We see our goals ahead of us and we chase them with a passion built in the present. But when we catch them we are sometimes not who we were when we began the chase and the goal ahead becomes fluid. So no matter how solidly we paint the picture of the future it can never be anything but unknown. And that can be scary if we let our minds blow that way. 

I have intentionally refused to write about my Boston qualification because I don't know what to feel about it. This goal, so amazing and glamorous that I would chase it for 10 years, became less than monumental less than a day after it was realized. When it was the future, a plan, a goal, I had a picture of how it would be to achieve it. I'd train hard and throw myself into it with the full support of the people I loved and who loved me. That sublime scene, painted on the canvas of my mind for years, was me finally throwing my full weight into pushing that stone up and over the hill, standing on top, glowing like the Oklahoma sunrise, feeling a self worth previously unbeknownst to me. I'd be that guy I always dreamed of becoming. It wasn't so much achieving it that would give me that feeling as much as putting in the work needed to achieve it. 
Crossing the line seeing the clock read 3 hours and 14 minutes felt so good. For a moment. Then I looked around and the first thing I noticed was how different the scene was in reality compared to how it had hung on the wall of my mind for all those years. The things that I lost, and the things I found, on the way to achieving it played heavily on my mind and I cried sobbing, uncontrollable tears of joy and pain. It took me a long time to pull myself together at that finish line. I'm honestly not sure I actually did pull everything together. I left so many things on that course and in those final inches. They fell out of me uncontrollably and I couldn't gather them all back into my heart because they scattered once they were free. And now I still struggle, wondering if I should have held them firm inside me against the winds of change or is it OK that they blew away? My future became my past, being now for only a few moments, and now neither seem recognizable to me. 
Truth is, I now feel very little about accomplishing the goal. It just doesn't hold the consequence I supposed it would. It just happened. My feelings about it now are that I'd like to run it again, not to achieve a goal but because it felt so damn good running that like I did!  A conservative runner by nature, normally putting in conservative miles early with the hope of saving my energy for the later miles, in this race I rejected that old way and put my cards on the table in the first mile. Fuck it, I told myself, if you're going to do this you have to run each mile as if it's the final mile of the race and each mile split is the goal time. Throwing myself across the buzzing of my watch like the final 100 meters. It was a mental game and a fight against the fear that resides in the next mile. There was no next mile. Only this mile I was running. I might fall off the pace but that was in the future and couldn't be considered. I ran this mile. And then the following mile. There was no future because it was unknown and full of fear for me. Then couldn't exist in the now; there wasn't room. The miles gone by were fixed and done and there was no future. It was the most free my soul has ever been.

Although my 10 year dream didn't materialize in the way I had envisioned, It taught me to embrace a new way of honoring the present with my best effort and keeping my sail filled with the positive mental wind that's blowing now. Let it push my boat away from the safety of the conservative shore of the past and not to worry about whether it will be there to bring me back. The trees on that shore are dead anyway. Enjoy the breeze in my face and the sun in my hair because that's all there is. 

The reality is that my goal didn't change, I changed.

Thanks for listening

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