Many times in our lives we think about the outcome as determining the quality of the effort. If the goal is a race, we think to win the race will determine the quality of effort. If the goal is to have a solid yoga practice or to perform a particular pose in a certain way, we strive for that end and cringe at anything less. How sad it is to have such a mindset. It only ties us down and boxes us in. If we can enjoy the process and do our best, leave nothing behind, go down swinging (add in the metaphor of your choice) we realize that all we can do is our best, and at the end of the day, that speaks for itself. One of my favorite yoga teachers used to say, ” Do your best and let your best be good enough.” It was such a beautiful sentiment for a culture so focused on the end game.
Many times in our lives we try to reach a goal and we are so connected to a particular outcome that we cut ourselves off from accessing our true power. Our power lies not in winning or succeeding but in putting ourselves in situations where we’re pushed to our limits, where we’re out on a limb, where we’re asked to perform outside our comfort zone. And in that lies all the reward and goal that anyone could ask for. Think of people in your life who you admire; people who inspire you. I’ll bet its not so much for what they have achieved on paper but what they have strived for in life. And many times, it’s in not reaching a goal— “failure” if you will– that we gain the biggest rewards. Failure is a word laden with all sorts of connotations and perceptions but to try and fail is better than to have never tried at all.
One of my other teachers used to say, ” The prize is in the process.” We know this as kids, when we do things just for the sake of doing them, of loving them, for having fun. It’s as we age and as we desire for things that all of a sudden there’s a shift from doing things out of pure joy to doing them to achieve a certain result. Buddism talks about non-attachment to results and it’s one of the hardest things as adults to re-learn. We’re born with that mind-set but slowly we shift to one of attachment and it plays itself out in our jobs, our relationships and our athletic endeavors. It’s common sense to relax before that big play, that big putt, that big race. But how many times do we put pressure on ourselves and end up choking? It’s only after that we’re kicking ourselves and wishing we’d had just relaxed, taken a big breath and realized that we’re already a winner just for putting ourselves in the position to ‘fail.’
My goal for this marathon is to finish and to finish healthy. To know that I put the time in and regardless of what the clock says, to know that I was able to get it done. Yesterday was my longest run yet- 16 miles- so I’m right on track. Two more long runs and then it’s a taper schedule.
Peace and Love.