Monday, August 26, 2013

Just Run

Occasionally one has the strange and utterly undeserved good fortune of seeing someone develop over time.  Such things are seldom vouchsafed to us even though we may spend months or years with a person; in my experience it is the rare relationship where I can look and see a person's growth.

Such an event happened over the last weekend with Fear Beag.

I watched Fear Beag over the last four years of our acquaintance as he has developed a sense of personal health, moving from a smoker and non-exerciser to a casual runner to a dedicated runner.  It has been a pleasure - not only for the health benefits of course, but in the development of his character and his way of looking at life.  He has developed from someone who could barely run around the block to someone who is contemplating 3 marathons this year.

He has been recently troubled by a leg injury - he has explained it multiple times, I think it involves a muscle of some kind - to the point he has had to pull back on his running.  It has troubled him to the point that he had numerous visits with a massage practitioner, icing and heating - anything to relieve the pain and get running again.

He has slowly been getting better but continues to be plagued by this injury.  He constantly laments his lack of distance, his time, his desire to be out on the course running.

Finally, he had an epiphany.  He was even kind enough to share it with the rest of us.

He posted that he was running and after one mile, was having issues.  Then, to paraphrase him, "I just gave up.  I gave up on Garmin time, on pace, on distance, on the perceived pain and just started running."

I read this post and was struck breathless by the thought.

How true is this for my own life - to get to the point that one simply surrenders one's concern about everything that is involved in an activity and simply do the activity?  How often am I concerned with how I am doing this or that, how this or that looks, how much progress I am making - and forget to pay attention to the fact that I am doing the activity at all?

Musashi would have recognized this.  The great swordsmen of the past would have recognized this.  This, to them, was the beginning of true mastery:  having learned the basics, one begins to become more concerned with the exercise of the art.  By internalizing and then acting on that internalization unconsciously one achieves not only mastery, one begins to develop one's own style and technique - in effect, one truly becomes one's self.

Strangely enough, this post gave me hope - not so much hope that the immediate arena of my own life will change, but the hope that by simply letting all the technical concerns and reasons not to do something fall away, the core of who I am  - of what I am trying to do - will reveal itself.

Fear Beag will run his races - and do very well, I do not doubt.  I am hopeful that his blazing the trail will allow me to run my own races of life with equal clarity of mind.

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