This is the question I was asked on the final flight of our journey to Wisconsin. We could not get seats together, so Gavin and I were seated away from Eric and James. Gavin slept and I had a very interesting conversation with the man we were seated with. It all started when he saw my book, “Born to Run”…
He asked if I was a runner and I told him my quick story of how I just began in January. I , of course, asked the same question and he told me that ‘he used to be’. Of course, I followed that with, “were you injured?” He then let me know that he was in stage 4 of colon cancer. Wow. Wasn’t I just complaining about my ‘clear colonoscopy’…here comes my lesson! I believe that every conversation, person or situation you come across is brought to you on purpose. I was reminded of a HUGE lesson through this conversation, a lesson that I always need to learn over and over again…let it go.
This gentleman was a CEO of a software company that he started. He was a traveller, a writer and a father. He was diagnosed in August of 2009 and has gone through 24 rounds of chemo plus numerous surgeries. He was full of amazing theory, ideas and insight. We discussed the reasons we enjoyed running (which I slowly took away by my incessant worrying of being better or faster), parenting and the difficulties that come with it, travelling, religion, and the idea of ‘letting it all go’. A few parts of our conversation had me both nodding and shaking my head. I know that by letting it go, I always bring forth what I really need. I know that by just accepting the situations I am in and seeing them as situations I create, cause those situations to improve and benefit me. I know that by slowing down letting go of the ‘rush’ or ‘need’ to get things done ‘right now’ always manages to get things done faster and easier.
This conversation reminded me to get back to not just ‘knowing’ these things, but once again, practicing these ways of being. While we were discussing the joys of being a Type A personality with control issues, I mentioned how I have a hard time enjoying things because I over think or analyze them. For example, I was so excited with that first 5k and the second….then I started to feel like I had more to prove. I needed to up my distance, quicken my pace, run with better form, not feel sore, etc. I took the enjoyment and purpose out of my running. The purpose was to use running as a way to relieve stress, take time to process thoughts and set goals that had nothing to do with weight. When I reached the goal I set for myself (the 5K), I started becoming aggressive with myself when setting the next goal. Instead of setting a goal of continuing to run 3 miles and improve my time (which is more attainable at this time) I set goals of going farther, even though it was making me feel anxious. I felt like 3 miles was not far enough, and that I was limiting myself by staying there. In reality, I like running 3 miles and would like to just run it a bit faster….then, when it is not challenging anymore, move for more distance. Stop analyzing, stop worrying it is not enough, and just keep it enjoyable.
When I mentioned this, he laughed a bit and asked, “are you a tense person?” I laughed out loud and said, “absolutely”. He told me that he also blogs and his last post was based on that very question…a question he was asked and realized it was something he needed to address in his life. This is something I also need to address. I need to keep a constant reminder to ‘Let it go’ around me so that I can say I am a ‘relaxed’ person and not a ‘tense’ person. What is the point of being tense? How does it benefit us? It does nothing but cause ailments and bad experiences. Since I am a control freak, I need to focus on my OWN control…control my thoughts, control where I let my attention go, control where I focus my energy.
I reaffirmed my intention of letting go of the stress and tension and grabbing control of my focus and intent. We both agreed that the best way to get through life, was to live it and not force it. Control the focus, control myself!
Are you a tense person? What areas do you want to re-control in life? Where do you need to re-focus your energy and intent?