The Surprising Benefits of Thinking Like Water

The Surprising Benefits of Thinking Like Water

I was exhausted. I really wasn’t fully prepared for this 5K trail run. Unlike road running, trails offer potential danger in every stride. The extensive network of exposed tree roots and randomly placed stones, all covered with leaves still wet from the heavy rains from the night before, made a challenging course that much more challenging.

Running, for me, is equal parts physical and mental. Sometimes the body is willing but the mind works to convince it that it’s not. On this particular day my mind, too, was racing. The wet, uneven terrain gave it lots to talk to me about. Lots of inner resistance to work through.

The week prior I had hiked this particular preserve just to get more familiar with the trail. On that hike I unexpectedly came upon a small waterfall, fed from the gentle stream behind it. As I stood on the small wooden bridge the water continued to pass under me and then on down stream, gravity taking the water to wherever it was going to go, it’s flow and path greatly influenced by the obstacles it found on the way.

You can learn a lot from water.

The water and the runner shared something in common. We both met resistance on our paths. But the type of resistance we each faced was dramatically different.

Unlike me, the water wasn’t working against itself.

Water never works against itself. Any resistance water faces is always external, always outside of itself. It’s the stones and branches and boundaries and gravity which determine where the water will go. Water never fearfully looks down stream and worries about where it is going and if it will ever get there. It just goes where it goes, never working against itself.

A stark contrast to my running style, where the mind can greatly influence if I even continue to move forward. Much of my resistance is internal. It’s often me working against me, fearfully looking up a hill and doubting if I’ll be able to run up it without stopping.

How often do we allow our thoughts to work against us? Not just in running up hills but in running our lives? How often does our mind create an inner resistance to our own efforts to keep moving forward, to climb up the hills life can often place before us?

Our greatest resistance is almost always self-inflicted.

When we are not working against ourselves we are better able to work through and around those external obstacles standing between who we are and who we really want to be.

Maybe its time to think like water?

 

Photo by Taylor Leopold on Unsplash

The Inheritance of Limitation

The Inheritance of Limitation

“So much for going for a small role, huh Dad?”

Her face was fully aglow from the brightness of the iPhone as she read the email. And in an instant the size of her eyes doubled.

She got the part.

My daughter auditioned for a rather important part in her school’s drama club performance of “Willy Wonka”. This being her first year in this new school, she would be competing with seasoned students, more well-known to those who make the ultimate decision as to who gets selected for the roles. And since she has never been in a school play before, I had actually tried to convince her to try out for a smaller, less visible role.

Something safer.

She didn’t quite see it that way.

One of the countless joys of being around my daughter is her blissful enthusiasm. Continue reading “The Inheritance of Limitation”

Go Unstuck Yourself

Go Unstuck Yourself

Steve grimaced after completing the four-mile hike. He had been favoring his left foot for most of the walk. He sat on the bench, took off his boot, and removed the annoying pebble from his boot. He mentioned the stone found its way into the boot early on in the hike. “So, why didn’t you stop and remove it once you first noticed it?” I asked. “Well”, said Steve, “I guess I just kind of got used to it after a while.”

Ouch!

Life can often feel the same way, can’t it? Disappointments and discomforts become something we just decide to live with, even if on some level we know it doesn’t have to be that way. But sometimes we get stuck in an emotional place for so long we simply accept our temporary situation as our permanent reality.

Perhaps in some areas of your life you’ve gotten used to struggling because you’ve just struggled for so long? Have you settled for being disappointed in a less-than-ideal relationship because that’s just how it’s always been? Or perhaps there’s a career move you’d love to make but you’ve decided your lot in life is for you to stay who you already are instead of becoming all you’ve been created to be? Simply because that’s what you’re used to?
Continue reading “Go Unstuck Yourself”

The Top 5 Good Excuses For Not Living Up To Your Potential

The Top 5 Good Excuses For Not Living Up To Your Potential

Boy, did I set myself up for quite the challenge.

My task this week was to filter through a lifetime of learning and living and come up with the definitive list of the top five good excuses for people not living up to their potential.

Not to brag, but at one point in my life I would have been considered an expert in this field. In fact, I probably would have won the lifetime “lack-of-achievement” award for my consistent and innovative excuse making if, of course, the world actually awarded those who’ve never done anything other than make excuses as to why they’ve never done anything.

Based upon my extensive research and unquestionable qualifications, I present to you Continue reading “The Top 5 Good Excuses For Not Living Up To Your Potential”

It’s Amazing What You Can See While Running In The Dark

It’s Amazing What You Can See While Running In The Dark

It’s dark. And it’s cold. My mind logically presents compelling arguments as to why I should go back under the covers and get just a little more much-needed sleep.

But I made a promise to myself. And fitting this promise into my schedule requires me to start my day much earlier than my body and mind both feel I should.

It’s just before 5:00 AM. I’m standing in my driveway with a halogen lamp wrapped around my head, wearing a reflective vest and holding my iPhone.

Time to run.

I will win no awards with my running, either for speed, endurance, or technique. But that’s not why I do it. In addition to the health benefits, accomplishing a goal before the Continue reading “It’s Amazing What You Can See While Running In The Dark”

Candles, Cake, and The Life Of Your Dreams

Candles, Cake, and The Life Of Your Dreams

55 candles.

That’s a lot of candles to blow out.

But that is my task this birthday weekend.

And before the candles are blown out, the all-important birthday wish must be made.

How cool would it be if we could simply wish our desires into reality? Imagine…just the thoughts in our head, a puff of air, an extinguished candle and a cloud of smoke.

The problem is for many the wish is where the dream ends.

I look back on my just-completed year and see I have accomplished a quite a bit. I’ve enjoyed a great deal of success and growth in many areas of my life. I find my best years are not the Continue reading “Candles, Cake, and The Life Of Your Dreams”

What Happens When The Plastic Horse Is No Longer Good Enough?

What Happens When The Plastic Horse Is No Longer Good Enough?

She didn’t even care. And I’m certain she never even thought about it. It looked like fun, especially the ones which moved up and down.

Behold the world through the eyes of a six year old.

Going through some old photos, I found a picture of my daughter at an amusement park from a few years back. There she was, with a smile from ear to ear, her eyes as wide open as they could possibly be. She was holding on tightly to the brass-colored pole which connected the plastic horse to the mechanism which allowed it to go up and down.

When it comes to exciting amusement park rides, the carousel pales in comparison to the more modern gravity-defying, vomit-inducing rides. But there she was. In the moment. Fully present. Simply enjoying the ride. Never comparing the Continue reading “What Happens When The Plastic Horse Is No Longer Good Enough?”