Last week I spoke about suffering being inevitable and how to live joyfully in the face of it.
This week I want to share a perspective that helps me during those times of suffering: Life is a marathon...not a sprint...
What do I mean?
I will use a running analogy. When I use to run, I gravitated toward distance running rather than sprinting. I often wondered, why distance? Then one day it hit me.
I like the distance running because it feels spacious and doable...comforting almost. The focus on running distance, over speed, suits my personality and my nervous system!! To thyself be known and then be true to you.
Distance running requires the ability to see the end, no matter how far off. Because all I had to focus on was "finishing", it took the pressure off of having to do it "fast".
And what I know about myself now is that fast makes me anxious.
Distance running taught me how to let go of "how fast" in order to focus on completion instead...a valuable life lesson as it relates to living the life of our dreams.
In the process of running to finish I also learned: how to breathe, how to pace myself, and most importantly, the belief that I would make it, no matter how long it took.
There is a peace filled sweetness that washes over us when we realize we choose our beliefs. As such our beliefs have the power to uplift and inspire us. Or not depending on what beliefs you choose.
The perspective of seeing and then living life as a marathon is comforting- especially these days when everything moves too darn fast for me.
This perspective has gifted me 3 pillars that guide my life...all of which I have written about to you countless times in different ways:
1. Be Real
There will be times of suffering, it's inevitable. Best to accept this with non judgmental compassionate awareness. Then get busy living again.
2. Practice, Patience, Pacing
Nobody starts off running a marathon on their first run.
In order to succeed you must...
Practice: Quite simply making the time to do the "work" because whatever "it" is, is that important to you. The excuse, "I have no time", simply means I have not chosen to make this a priority. In which case, reassess. Life is precious and short. Time is the only commodity we don't retrieve so invest wisely. Death reminds us of this. Use death to motivate.
Patience: Understand what patience is and what it is not. True. Rome wasn't built in a day. Some things take time. We are impatient. Yet sometimes we are being slowed down for a reason, we don't yet see. And still others times we are so painfully patient. We use the excuse, "I am being patient" when the truth is, we are afraid to take the massive action we need to in order to move ahead. Hiding behind impatience or patience is still hiding. Pay attention. Discern. Decide. Life = Short.
Pacing: Since energy is our #1 asset we must learn how to pace ourselves by caring so deeply for our physical, mental and emotional health so we don't burn out.
Physical- Balance your days with effort (working/having fun) and ease (relaxation/rest)
Mental- Commit to daily meditation to cultivate mental discipline and move beyond "I can't/I quit" and all the other stories the monkey mind creates.
Emotional- Accept feelings will come and go. Some days will simply suck...Practice non-attachment to the voice that alternately says, "I hate running/work/life/! I feel awful." and also says, "I love running/work/life! I feel amazing."
3. Faith- Your faith in your ability to run the distance/live the life of your dreams must be bigger than your feelings at any one time.
Faith in your dreams translates to your belief in yourself. Your "big" faith will carry you through times of suffering when feelings are at an all time low and you want to quit.
When we adopt the view that life is a marathon and not a sprint we give ourselves permission to live slow and deep...to pace ourselves so we enjoy the journey rather than rush to an "end". We practice deepening our faith that we will make it...we give ourselves permission to believe.
And maybe when we arrive at the end- death- it will be with less sadness and regret, and a ton more joy and ease...
arriving with a sweetness that says yes, our very own dreams have come true- because we BELIEVED.