Sometimes, Slow and Steady Really Does Win the Race

Words of advice found on today’s trail run

After not trail running for more weeks than I care to admit, due to reasons legitimate and otherwise, I awoke today determined to return to the trails for a long run and absolutely nothing was going to deter me.  I literally ached physically, emotionally, and spiritually for the safe haven offered up on the trails.  As I laced up my shoes, my heart felt happy and free, and my baby soul felt peaceful and protected.  When I came to the entrance of the first trail, I was overcome with joy and gratitude at being back “home”, so, I paused before taking off and bowed my head reverently, as my heart and baby soul genuflected at the “door” of our sacred “cathedral”, and thought how I would not want to be anywhere else in the world at that very moment.

Sometimes, when I run, I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and have a host of problems to sort out and solve, and I use my run to think things through and outrun my troubles, even for a bit.  Today was pleasantly different, though, as I began my trail run already feeling calm and happy, so, I did not have anything pressing on my mind.  This was a rare treat indeed, and I savored it.  As a huge smile crossed my face upon entering the wooded trails, I took off for six miles of pure bliss through the mud, puddles, leaves, etc., and about a mile into the run, I saw the above image and stopped to take a quick picture of it.

The sign gave me pause for two reasons.  One, I have never seen graffiti on the trails until today.  Two, if you know anything about trail running, there is an art to knowing when to go faster and when to slow down to mind your step to avoid taking a nasty spill, which I happen to know a thing or two about from numerous experiences.  As I ran on, the words “go faster” went with me, and I began to reflect on some recent choices and decisions I have made about my life and who I want and need in my life. 

Sometimes, when I decide that I want my life to look a certain way, I hit the accelerator and “go faster”, too fast, to get where I want to go.  I focus so much on the destination that I miss the road signs along the way that provide me with both directions and warnings of roadblocks ahead.  I also miss out on the scenery and off-road sites that are available on a good road trip.  Because of my rush to get there, I miss out on important information and either get lost or arrive a disheveled, stressed out mess and cannot appreciate the end of my journey and enjoy being there. 

This week, thanks to some very wise, dear friends who had to point the obvious out to me once again, I made the conscious decision to slow down and regroup regarding a situation that overwhelmed me and that had taken up a great deal of my precious emotional and physical energy in my quest to get what I wanted.  I can recognize that my way of dealing with a situation is not working, yet I am so scared to let go to either try an alternate approach or to remove myself from the situation altogether that I keep spinning my wheels doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, which is the definition of insanity.

Since I have had my fill of insanity to last a lifetime, I decided to apply the advice I have dispensed to friends and clients over the years and the advice that I received from my friends recently, and much to no-one’s surprise but my own, I feel happier, less anxious, and more motivated than I did when I was running through my life with reckless abandon.  I thought that if I heeded the advice to “be patient”, “let go”, and “take time to do the work on yourself and for yourself” that I was quitting or giving up, and I am definitely not one to leave things unfinished or not complete what I set out to do.  It finally sunk in that even if my destination has changed that I still deserve to be happy and healthy, and I don’t need to postpone one or both until I reach whatever destination I am meant to travel to next, nor do I need a traveling companion.  I can be happy on my own with who I am.

So, in spite of my best efforts to allow the anxiety and depression to take the proverbial driver’s seat, I did something different this time; I chose to have the faith and trust I always say I have, but haven’t fully embraced or practiced. When I find myself feeling the need to try to control the situation or becoming anxious about the situation and/or my new approach to dealing with it, I remind myself that whatever happens will be in my best interest and that I have everything I need to survive and thrive.  It may sound trite and simple, and maybe, it is, but it works, and that is all that matters to me.  I have found that since trading in my negative self-talk and need to predict and control the situation for a positive perspective and the knowledge that I’ve got this, regardless of what happens and who is and is not a part of my life, that I feel so much brighter and lighter. 

So, to the author of the “Go faster” message on the trails, I say thank you for giving me something to contemplate on my trail run and to keep in mind that sometimes you have to slow down to find the proper footing and pace to stay on the path and to complete the journey.  Faster is definitely not always better, and it is up to each person to find their own way, although having an amazingly wise group of friends as tour guides and fellow travelers certainly doesn’t hurt.

That’s another story . . .



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