Imagine you are a runner standing and waiting for a race to start.
In each hand you hold heavy rocks. In your left hand you hold a big rock that represents all your fears of what could happen.
You’re afraid of not running fast enough, that you didn't get enough sleep, of getting tired, of being passed by competitors, or of coming last.
The heavy stone in your other hand the represents your past. The training you didn’t complete, the failed session where you didn’t make your splits, the race you started too fast and blew up, the times when you gave up too soon before the finish. These events are past. They are done and you can’t worry about them because they aren’t going to change.
When I was a young track and field athlete I used to have this recurring dream. I would be trying my hardest to run as fast as I could but going nowhere. My legs were impossibly heavy and they wouldn’t turn over fast enough for the race, no matter how much effort I put in. It felt like I had rocks tied to me ankles or I was running through thick mud. It was a dream, much like the way our fears are dreams.
Most of our fears don’t come to fruition, and in our worry, we miss what’s right in front of us.
All you can do about the past is learn. You can reflect and have intention to improve and be a better version of yourself.
Running while holding onto these stones will be difficult. Far more difficult than it needs to be. You will feel burdened and heavy and they will slow you down.
Can you see yourself setting these stones down. Can you let the heavy stone of fear just drop to the ground. How about you uncurl your fingers from the heavy stone of past regret and disappointment. Let it fall.
And now, unburdened by a past you can’t change, and a future that is a dream, step up lightly to the start line. Pretend to hold feathers in your hands. These feathers are light, soft, and represent freedom, strength, and courage. To hold them you must be relaxed and calm.
Step to the start line and feel free, happy to be right here in the moment, working with what you’ve got.
Run For Joy
Writing about the art of moving well and the lived experience of a life in sport.