Yup. I love metaphors.
And mountains (just to be clear).
So when a trail running metaphor pops into my addled noggin (aka brain), it’s super-exciting..! For me anyway..
And, of course, what would be the point if I couldn’t share it here. With you.
In the early days of my illustrious journey as a runner, the flats and downhills RULED.
Yup, they were easy. And fast. Requiring moderate effort.
Hills/elevation/anything up was avoided. At all costs.
Why? Well, it was hard. And who chooses hard..?
Running uphill simply wasn’t my thing. It took MAJOR effort and resulted in MAJOR exhaustion (I won’t even mention the sweating bit..).
I was built for speed. And ease. Going DOWN..!
Now I must also add that in those days I ran in a pack. And in those days my ego was far more vociferous.
Which means that when I approached any form of gradient, my head would scream WIN WIN WIN leaving my poor body desperately trying to satisfy that claim.
Often with near-disastrous results.
Freaky nausea, dizziness and muscle cramping come to mind (it wasn’t pretty)..
Yes, I could blame my fellow runners (they could have let me win, right..?).
But the truth is that back then I thought that not being in the front MEANT something about me.
That I was less than. Unworthy. Not good enough.
Being up front gave me STATUS..
So I’d push myself way harder than my body felt capable of. Only to feel really crappy at the end (if I got there). Sigh…
So how does this little (sweaty) tale translate to our everyday lives?
Well, think about those hills/mountains that we face on a daily basis. I’m referring to those little annoyances and/or frustrations that creep into our realities waaay too frequently..
How exactly do we approach them?
The old me was a carbon copy of the running me described above.
Yup, in the face of a challenge (aka fear) I’d zoom headlong into a panicky fixit mode with the echoes of WIN WIN WIN floating through my thoughts..
And let’s be honest.
When do we EVER get clarity on ANYTHING when we’re caught up in a panic?
I’d make hasty (and reckless) decisions.
My words would often hurt or offend..
Yup, following this approach simply NEVER ended well.
So what’s the answer? Here’s my two cents worth:
These days, when I’m running on a mountain and I see an approaching climb, I slow down, assess and then begin the ascent at a pace that feels comfortable (I also prefer running alone now, which means my ego got bored and retired – lol..).
Inevitably, as I progress, I can increase my pace a bit.
Because I’ve allowed my body to shift to an appropriate gear and then gradually build momentum as it feels comfortable.
No stress. No fear. Just calm and ease.
And guess what?
I ALWAYS reach the top.
Feeling (pretty) GOOD!
And ready for the next climb.
And I apply the same logic to approaching my daily niggles.
Deep breath, banish the ego, assess.
Find that calm.
Find that ease.
FEEL the clarity.
Then, and only then do I decide on an approach.
Yup, even if it takes DAYS to find clarity, I bite the bullet..
‘Coz I believe in this process.
So I stick to the rule.
And it always works out for me.
Even when the choice of action is INaction.
Which, surprisingly, it frequently is.