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

Life Is A Journey, But Are You The One Who’s Driving?

Life Is A Journey, But Are You The One Who’s Driving?

Maybe we shouldn’t have bought her the car?

Recently we needed to get my daughter a car to get her to and from school. She did all the research, scouring the local dealerships’ websites for her first car. My job was easy; I just needed to pay for it.

She settled on a used, rather sporty Honda Civic, two door coupe. Her only concern?

She didn’t know what the clutch was for.

The car was perfect, except for the fact it had a stick shift. My job was to teach her the art of driving with a manual transmission. At some point it just became easier for me to simply drive the car myself.

I had forgotten how much I had always enjoyed driving with a stick shift. I had gotten used to the less-involved, far more simplistic version of driving with an automatic transmission. But just like riding a bicycle I quickly regained the mechanics of smoothly negotiating gas-clutch-shift. For the first time in years I felt like I was actually driving, an active participant interacting with the road ahead. No more free ride for my left foot.

The biggest difference in driving a stick? Awareness. You focus far more intensely on things you wouldn’t ordinarily need to when driving an automatic transmission. You need to more fully understand your environment, observing and accounting for the contours and elevations of the road, shifting and adjusting accordingly, listening to and feeling the vibration of the engine in order to purposefully and intentionally respond with the fluidity and grace of a tai-chi master. A rather tactile experience. Continue reading “Life Is A Journey, But Are You The One Who’s Driving?”

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”