Training through the Narrows

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There is an old adage as true today as ever: “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle.”

A great battle in a relatively affluent country is being jostled and pulled in too many directions. We become acquainted with deciding what not to do instead of what to do. As many opportunities morph into ‘needs,’ it seems that some primordial, upstream-salmon gene activates in our brains and bodies, pushing us to grasp for more than we can do.

Many opportunities may knock, and when they do, be on the lookout for Mr. or Ms. Burnout at your door. This solicitor has bad teeth, dark circles under his eyes, a dehydrated look, burning flames of ambition receding in the irises, and a smoky smell – not cigarettes – but the reek of the grinding, engine-melting residue of neglect. For if we are not paying the insurance premium of exercise regularly, and descending from healthy habits because of it, succeed as we might elsewhere, we may not be around long enough to enjoy it.

One way to guard against a visit from this phantom of temptation is to adapt to it by physically training during his visit. This ends-justify-the-means ghost grasps at the wheedling, whining frustration of our unfinished goals; our haunting imperfections. It would ride them as your horses, pulling you and your life behind, clinging to uncertain ropes.

Imagine yourself answering the door as he or she knocks, earnestly beseeching you to listen and pointing to the pale horse out front; asking you to get behind this high-functioning stressor.

And you answer wearing your running shoes, shorts, and t-shirt. You tell the ghost you are going for a run, and you would love to listen to the pitch along your running route. As you establish your cadence on the asphalt, on the trail, and through the physical world of sunshine, air, seasonal scents, and sweat, you notice that he is having a very hard time keeping up. It seems you have come down to earth, and by doing so, entered a state of peace that cooled and moistened your brow, eased your mind, and helped you find your heart. Gratitude for what you have dawns in your heart, and you realize how much better you could devote yourself to what you have.

What is most important? Your run gives you a real opportunity to meditate on that. As you let the run go through your body, making you stronger, you let your mind drift over the topography of your life, and realize what are the tectonics, the foundations of your peaks and troughs. Soon you can distinguish between what is wise for you and what is not. You have outrun the pressure sell.

And that is a mighty fine pace for anyone to make.

Updated and Revised but Not Perfected: Is Perfection Really the Enemy of the Good? Why Yes, Yes it is.

Snowflakes prove there is no perfect snowflake...

Is there a perfect snowflake?

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Or flower?

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IMG_1004Or is there a perfect child, or grandparent, or wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, or friend?

There are so many good, for the good makes room for a small, small world of countless differences.

Perfection, philosophers assure us, is the enemy of the good. Yet it is good to excel. What do we excel toward? Perfection. Then how is perfection the enemy of the good again?

Because while we excel toward perfection, perfection is not the goal. Perfection is a divine gift, an ideal that British radar pioneer Robert Watson-Watt said, “never comes.” I believe he should have said, “..in this life,” but that’s quibbling with his context. Also, there is an exception to every rule, and perhaps an exception to that rule too.

Perfection evades our grasp as entropy dogs us, the unexpected delays us, or survival challenges tax us. Yes, attachment to this world seems to anchor us down, unable to fly up to havens of perfection.

All the dreams of perfection we want, such as immortality, eternal love, and inalienable acceptance are retirement benefits that vest only after our own personal work as the farmers of our souls and as helpers of our fellow farmers, is done. And the work is only done when we die, true? At the end of this life, everything takes extra work. Just ask those living into the golden years. Earthly retirement is not real retirement, for the work goes on!

Living and dying while struggling to excel in goodness-for-goodness-sake is the work of our lives that we can and must excel at. Genuineness in this quest can’t be faked, and comes with letting go of desiring and grasping, yet receiving all blessings thankfully with hands that multiply and distribute them to others. Some call this renunciation of self, yet it is more. It is giving of self, enlarging one’s heart by letting go, and expanding in spiritual freedom and vitality by giving.

Death is retirement from this noble work in this life. Afterward, retirement benefits kick in, that is, the Divine Gift (some believe by other agencies) of immortality goes to those who farmed within their hearts the seeds of goodness. There is more wisdom in our entropic bodies than meets the eye, as they fertilize with humility the spiritual seeds for resurrection and eternal life awaiting the Sunrise. Eventually, the Harvester of growing crops comes and transplants them where all are nourished without eating, and there is no entropy or waste. People of love rise again and the Spirit says, “It’s all good.”

So let go of grasping for receiving, and grasp your partner to dance, or grab a hand and pull someone up who is down, or grab a rock and pull yourself up for a better view by which to navigate for a greater purpose and destination than temporary self satisfaction. We handle the good to give, not to keep, but to share and distribute once it has taught us what we are to learn on the day. We excel each time we do this. We plant new seeds and make our fields more fertile with humility each time we do this.

And how will we know when we are prepared enough? When we’re done. When our spirits have left our broken bodies. How does that all work? I believe we’ll find out. Until then, let’s help and inspire each other. Let’s imbue each other with value, making value, multiplying value, and giving the value of love and all of its goods to one another, and do so for our entire lives.

Inspiration for Sunday

Take the windfall today and make peaceful silence, quiet words of calm, and simple warmth for those you are with.

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Combatting Loneliness By Training Life

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Loneliness does not discriminate. Probably everyone knows what kind of life events, states of being, and physical burdens correlate with it. Whatever isolation and loneliness comes from, those who suffer from it know why solitary confinement is one of the worst punishments prisons dole out.

A training life can move you out of the lonely place into a new life.

Growing your own training life from the ground up will lead you into short, manageable social interactions that begin slowly and gently to drain away the loneliness with each outing. You’ll have time to think, to hold problems up to the sun in your mind and heart, and to subject them to the light that dawns as you move.

The sunshine can boost you up some more.

Start simple: a walk or hike. Go to a nearby running track, a trail you know, or a park with long sidewalk pathways along a lake or river. Or just make the city blocks in a familiar area your training scape.

It is training, and retraining your brain, nerves, muscles, and body chemistry simply to get out and move in the outdoors. So much happens when you do this, there is an automatic element to outdoor outings.

Dress in what’s comfortable, do what you need to do to feel comfortable to get out the door. Then soak up the world’s outdoor riches as you journey.

Rocky Mountain Photo Journal: Seven Miles Dedicated to Snoopy’s Citadel

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Part II Internal: What Injury Did

copy-cropped-img_6270-e13762827104731.jpgAt launch, I was driven. I’d made the twisty-turning, detoured road to the trail head at about 10,600 feet. I started briskly, moving with intent to make a fast outing of it. I felt good. I was mildly irritated with the many distractions that had me coming out for an afternoon interval hike and run. Time is scarce these days.

I slipped, caught myself, and hurt my foot. See my previous post for that story and what it did externally.

Afterward, I was exasperated, scorning the decisions of fate.

Then I asked myself: what am I so attached to that I am upset about this?

As I tenderly hiked and occasionally ran along another six miles, I thought about that.

Is being “driven” healthy? Slaves are driven. Oxen are driven. Unloved horses are driven.

And yet, I’d been driving myself.

The injury stopped that with punctuation.

I was attached to ownership of myself, my day, my training, my business, my goals, my aspirations, and my expectations. All mine in Me-Myself-and-I-Ville. Forget my context, my purposes, what I was doing all of this for, and what I have dedicated myself to that is beyond me.

Yes. Subtly through growing impatience with delay after delay getting out there, I became more the slave driver. The Owner of everything. The hard-to-please judge of every little thing and how it was going. I allowed frustration to turn my day into a driven drought.

Then I hurt my foot and arrived at what I needed to do.

Let go and move, hike, and run free.

Breathing

Breathing works from the inside out, radiating gentle forces outward from within the body, expanding the musculature, then easing, expanding, then easing-up; all the while nourishing cells, over and over like the ocean waves. So basic, yet so beneficial.

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The Reset

Let the Reset happen. Your mind lets go of the intractables, puts them back into your heart, where the mysterious storms, the lightening, the oceanic forces of the Source break them up and produce a path forward for you.

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3.6 Twilight Rainy Running Interval Fit Into Family Camping Debut

Twilight Running in the Forest

Twilight Running in the Forest

Fitting In

Fitting In

Setting

Setting

Terrain: Mountain

Elevation: 10,000 Feet

Distance: 3.6 Miles

Time: Twilight after Sundown

Conditions: Rainy

Temps: 40’s Fahrenheit.

Priority: Last. Family-firsts came first, and therein, this writer’s personal, adaptive training purpose-growth.

Special Occasions: First family camp-out with our girl, first-time fishing with her, first-time rainy camp-out, first-time camp-out for dog, and first tent construction and fire build with my daughter, and first tent take down in the rain with my better half. Joyous experiences.

Tag-Team Family Training Principle: Covered for my spouse, enabling her time to hike and run without distraction, a rarity for her. In a setting away from home (absent the familiar rationales) one who writes about accessible training for others, for self, and tests these principles, faces own selfishness. The practice emerges with greater focus away from home, evangelized by reflection in a tent, and by a fire, symbolizing the burning away of my rationales.

Team Member Check: Ceded nutrition lead to spouse, whose professional vocational training, research, and intrinsic discipline better fills the nutritional knowledge role between us, as I pursue the adaptive personal fitness focus. Teams and their members share ownership. A family must choose teamwork, every member contributing, and every member respecting the others’ contributions. A dedicated zone of listening to the expertise and role, an area that calls us to expand this mutuality, and harmony.

All in all, a wonderful weekend, a wonderful place, and joy in the rain.

Mother Teresa: Personal Trainer

What? This:

By internal and external silence, we may bypass barriers, snags, and diversions from purer, more efficient training, study, and accomplishment.

How often does inner or outer chatter delay movement, and this delay, like gum on our shoes seems to swallow time.

I take this inspiration from my a current book in my reading list, entitled, “No Greater Love,” by the late Mother Teresa, a saint.

 

She also wrote that you can’t learn humility by reading about humility. Only by undergoing humiliations (which are guaranteed throughout our lives) do we learn humility. I wonder if typos are included?!

How do we deal with Aging and Training?

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the ascents…

How do athletes deal with aging? Answer may differ for each of us.

Something helps me. Remembering what I’m training for besides the immediate feel, look, and function. Or besides the next race, competition, game, event, or expedition. I wanted to share this:

If I find myself running one day with a gait that looks like my knees and ankles have been tenderized with hammers, what will I then be training for? I will be training with the goal that every person who looks into my eyes finds the peaceful warrior’s ageless resolve.

Angela’s Promise

Angela's Promise

That’s what I’m calling this one. Click on the photo to read her latest update. She’s a fellow WordPresser to all here whose ultra running blog Run Nature and reflective blog Mind Margins inspire many. She also happens to have taken the gloves off to fight with cancer at present, and I encourage everyone sharing community here to visit her blog and sound off their support and heartfelt encouragement for ultimate victory and much peace and goodness despite the hardship she is shouldering with a smile every day.

Windows in the Sky Symbolize Promise

photo(4)photo(3)With outdoor training of any type, you get to be in the elements. Yesterday, these ionized the air and gave a gift of raindrops.

the sun inside

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The Sun Inside

in morning stillness

my fingers slowly pull

a shoe on-

onto a porch a

door swings wide

to mottled stratospheres

pink-blue, high

vapors hang, plant-breathed

so fresh their mist is silver

gold-seared sky’s edge

butters the Earth toned bread

as I start to run

friends chirp

melodies

to the risen sun

Burst

Light within my heart

Genesis you

timelessly shine

from my he(art)…

Mountain Memories Make Me Want To Save The World

in a cloud

in a cloud

blue white blaze of cold bolt through my heart

blue white blaze of cold bolt through my heart

live on

live on

by my path

by my path

awed

awed

color

color

stalks of plenty

stalks of plenty

ledge

ledge

mountain towns

mountain towns

treading by light

treading by light

lead or follow

and take Earth back

and take Earth back

to heart

to heart

flow

flow

of God

of God

to hop to everywhere

to hop to everywhere

so much

so much

to come back to sense

to come back to sense

green and blue

green and blue

wildness

wildness

Elbert

Elbert

to you

to you

14 plus

14 plus

thirteen and some

thirteen and some

Torreys

Torreys

shalom

shalom

Midsection

When your day has been one service item to the next, responding to life’s priorities, obligations, deadlines and more, you can get home and feel like you need your last rites. Training feels like an impossibility.

Or suppose your muscles are sorer and stiffer than you remember 2 or 3 days out from a workout, and you don’t want to take another recovery day, but it seems all that you can muster.

Try a short interval of midsection and core work before dropping off to sleep. Put in 10 minutes, go slow and as continuous as you can, and see if you can relax extremities while working the trunk.

As warmth builds in the midsection, see if you can gently and gradually increase range of motion in the hips and back, and push circulation to the sore muscles that are dogging you, and to renew your tired body. Breathe continuously as you work with the basic leg lifts, bicycles, crunches, knee raises and the like.

Ten minutes later, you can come to a rest, breathe on, and go to bed.

There. You trained. It’s a success.

carry out a training run

putting in a building block today…