Monday, May 19, 2008
A few days ago my children and I set off to our neighborhood park for our new ritual of cheering on the runners in our annual city marathon which is a qualifying race that brings thousands of runners from all 50 states and as many Canadian provinces. It isn't usually very easy to get them dressed and on their bikes before 9 on a Saturday morning but this is something we have come to look forward to as we rush to arrive at the park before the first runner comes through. I greatly admire the runners courage and enjoy seeing all ages, shapes and styles and sizes flutter on past the bleachers where we join others to yell out praise and pump our fists.
I also program in the joy I'll feel should I ever get a chance to run the relay or even perhaps the half marathon. I've set my sights realistically due to poor genetics in the knees. It's too early to tell if I'll be able to physically withstand the challenge. But it still brings a smile to my face as it is the LAST thing I would have thought of doing just a few years ago. The actual weight is the last to budge but I've come to accept it will either be or it won't be at least I'm in great enough shape to consider it!
After watching the race I visualized all the 3 aspects of my self - Body, Mind & Spirit- as 3 runners. I contemplated if and when the positions of these 3 "runners" have changed along the way. I was comforted with the feeling that in mid life now I finally have a great deal of balance and team work between the 3 which makes for a much more effective system and to actually even enjoy the process of this Spiritual marathon that is Life!
Body in my youth kept a swift pace without even thinking about it. I suppose that is how it is for many of us. If we've always been thin, we just take it for granted right? I was fortunate enough to always be pretty healthy physically aside from intense growing pains (I later learned this was from all 3 "runners" being too far apart as I was completely clueless to my spiritual gifts). I was athletic and a decent competitor in swimming, track and neighborhood football games. I ate without consideration and stayed very thin without any effort.
Then came the birthing years and the stress years in my 30s. Metabolism was slowing, pounds were creeping on, and then leaping on- 60 pounds in 2 pregnancies in 20 months. Body quickly lagged so far behind it was a constant nuisance to the other two "runners". It wasn't usually until Mind overheated that the system overloaded and the gaskets and springs would pop, zing and zap out and even then care was given to Mind not Body! Body was so far back that Mind and Spirit needed to come to a stop after Body couldn't been seen and allow Body the time to catch up again. On and On this process repeated itself. Body never fully kept the other two from going on. There was no obvious abuse or recklessness to sabotage the race. Just always a steady lollygaggin from the Body's need for the same attention given to the other 2 more seasoned "runners."
Spirit has always been, even in childhood, way far ahead. I just didn't know it back then. Spirit was and is the workhorse of my system, so far ahead Body and Mind would often lose it, until Spirit would eagerly push the other two to hurry along and stay close behind. Often times, Mind was able to keep pace as long as it obediently followed and didn't let it's Ego think it could surpass Spirit! Ha! But very often Mind would grow a bit weary as well,trying to keep pace as well with the elite Olympian that is my Spirit.
Now in mid life, Mind has allowed Spirit full reign and has enough where-with-all to catch the draft behind Spirit and have great fun keeping up, letting anything and everything that might drag it behind to effortlessly roll off to the side without even breaking stride. And Spirit has become a better team mate, recognizing it has to coincide here with a Body! A body that is a great gauge of how this whole system is functioning and where it is breaking down if it is! Great care is now given to the Body to ensure that all 3 run swiftly and smoothly. Two words: Personal Trainer! I know soon Body will even be mano a mano not in a relay but in a 3 way hand in hand steady run up front that works well for all 3.
This is a run that has been far longer than 26 miles of course. How long? Perhaps 26 years. Maybe more. It certainly feels like the metaphorical end is near but I can't quite make out the finish line yet. But when I do, it will be nice to finish upright and strong. Hand in Hand with Mind-Body & Spirit. It will mean the understandment and unfoldment of all I have been learning along the way. Someone once said the essence of Enlightenment is no more questions. So I guess that's what my "finish line" will be! Complete Peace & Enlightenment...no more questions!
Learning to balance all 3 aspects of myself has allowed me to enjoy the journey. Initially, I thought I just don't know if I'm going to make it. I'd sit on the sidelines wanting more water, more rest, more help! Could someone just come and carry me to where I need to go? Other times, in excitement, my spirit or mind would run way too fast, wearing myself out in antipation only to find I had a ways to go yet and needed to pace myself. Still others, I could only walk slowly, which was difficult because I knew it would take much longer but patience was necessary to make it to the end as was the discovery that, just then, was the best I could do.
Consider your life's journey and where these three aspects of yourself are in your spiritual marathon. Contemplate how the race has changed and how much "teamwork" you have going on right now. I found it to be an enjoyable meditation for illustrating the wonderful progress that has been made and what yet needs to be done. I'm sure you will too.
And don't forget to recognize all the company you have running alongside with you. Loved ones both seen and unseen. Guardian Angels. Holy Ones and Masters of this amazing journey as well as the mighty Wind to your back that is the Holy Spirit! As well as the Oneness of all those in Light giving you the courage and the wings to make it through to your finish line.