Friday, December 14, 2012

How could EVER I forget such an important lesson?

The most perfect running trail ever...
but there must be no regrets.
Now this posting could also be sub-titled: 

"Proof that running 
(Please insert your own favourite, self-propelled outdoor activity there) 
helps you think - clearly.

Yes, it's been pretty quiet around here. There's been, admittedly, a significant lack of focus for blogging since arriving back in Canada. With time to think, I've been wrestling with the matter of why it's sometimes SO difficult to live the lessons that you've taught. It has, this past while, become a bit of an issue for me.

For as long as I have been a "teacher", a lesson I have passionately commended to others is about the need to accept and welcome "change" in life. My observation has been that change is a perfectly healthy process - and rather normal. Embracing change demonstrates that we are willing to live with a sense of adventure and a thirst for discovery, rather than seeking comfort and security in the "same old, same old".

To nurture change is to say "Yes!" to personal growth and development. With change comes all kinds of new possibilities that may never have occurred to us to seek out. Looking at change in a positive light helps us adjust (if necessary) our perspective on life. Instead of regretting "endings", we are enabled to welcome new "beginnings". Of course, there are risks and sometimes change is uncomfortable, but in meeting the challenges, not only do we become stronger and more resilient, we experience the kind of enrichment that can only come when we are willing to make significant effort.

These sandstone cliffs (near Arbroath)
didn't resist change over the millennia...
and see how an extraordinarily beautiful 

"sculpture"was created.
So what's my problem? Well, to be honest, I've been resisting change - and it's clearly not productive. Hmm...where have I heard that before? I've been wishing, for example, we could be back on what was, arguably, the most beautiful running trail in the world, high on the sandstone cliffs above the North Sea. I've been wishing we could be back up in the hills, amongst the sheep and the marvellous solitude of the Highlands. I've even wished for my old seven-day-a-week "job" back!

Running in the darkness, early this morning, Joan knew that I was strangely quiet. What she didn't know, however, was that I was thinking about how much I disliked running along the road and having my thoughts disturbed by the annoying traffic. I resented the noise and fumes of cars and trucks and their impatient drivers who were spoiling "my" running route. I wanted to be back on the cliffs, with the waves crashing far below. In between these conflicting thoughts, I was also aware of a little voice, deep within, a voice I have been ignoring...and a voice that wasn't going to go away. The message came through, loud and clear this time: I've been wasting time this past week, looking back, and I know better - a whole lot better.

Competitive runners are taught not to look back in a race. The consequences can be dramatic. Turning the head to look back is to risk losing efficiency, concentration, momentum, and stride. When winning times are measured in milliseconds, it can make the difference between a "gold" medal and absolutely no medal at all.

Looking back, in life, holding on to the perceived "better days" most often brings unwanted results. We get stuck, mired, and bogged down. We invite that most unpleasant and destructive emotion - regret. We lose track of direction and risk that hollow feeling inside when we have a sense that we are in unfamiliar territory and that we might even be lost. Most important of all though, we cease to live in the present moment - and the present moment is the most infinitely precious thing in the world. It is also impossible to retrieve it when it's gone.

On this morning's run, on a road that wasn't nearly as unpleasant as it had become in my mind, an old lesson returned in the form of a startling reminder. Change is to be embraced and the challenges that change offers are to be met with a sense of curiosity, openness, trust, and confidence. We don't always need to know where we are going. It is after all, in the journey along life's paths, that we experience the deepest meaning and ultimately, the greatest satisfaction.

When we face "forward" in life, we move forward.
There are often, in the distance,

discernible hints of great promise awaiting us.
As so often happens, the very act of self-propelled movement inspires clear thinking. Change, indeed, has great value. How could I ever forget such an important lesson? I'm human, I guess.

And so, there will be no more looking back - and I pledge to be a much more pleasant and sociable running partner on tomorrow morning's run. :)



  1. Hi D,
    How could you forget? Easily because as you have said many times, change isn't easy and the changes you are experiencing in your "career" life are huge. Besides, what person doesn't come back from a wonderful holiday experience and after a day at home wishes they were still back where they had been. :) It's life, you're human and very wise to have picked up on it so quickly. Just remember " All shall be well"

  2. Yep, wise words, L. In the scheme of things, and in the life of the world, the posting and the "whine" was completely about insignificant "potatoes". How easily we tend to think that the world revolves around us. Kind of humbling. Thankfully, we're all "a work in progress" - well, speaking personally anyway. :) D.