Thursday, February 21, 2013

The power of the moment

Under a blanket of stars with the moonshine lighting the way, I embarked on yet another running adventure. It is indescribably beautiful, energizing and comforting being out in the mountains at night, alone, with the sound of the snow crunching beneath your feet with every step you take, the crisp air filling your lungs as you exchange breaths with nature.

I am lucky to live in a place where it is completely safe to head out on a run at any time of the day, or night, without having to worry about my safety. Feeling solitude without fear is an incredibly liberating feeling and continues to fill me with joy. That night I decided to leave my trusty headlamp, that usually lights up the dark path for me, at home and trust in the ground, my footing and the strength of the moonlight. As was ascending I began to realize the false sense of security the light of my headlamp gives me. I felt uneasy, because I could only see what was directly in front of my feet… I couldn’t see into the distance… I couldn’t see ahead like I usually could. There was literally nothing other than myself and nature. As I began to hit a comfortable pace I began to relax, my eyes began to adapt to the dark and my mind began to adapt to the idea that I couldn’t see too far ahead.

The mountains were towering around me like peaceful warriors and my favorite mountain, the Eiger, looked like the King of them all with a fine layer of clouds gracefully draping its silhouette. The stars were tangibly close and my mind was evoked to think. There was more to this run than simply getting a training run done… it was telling me something that I could translate to my life. Looking too far ahead isn’t such a great thing. On that run I learnt that you need to trust in that moment, because that moment leads to your next moments. By looking too far ahead I could miss something that’s right in front of me - an uneven surface, a stone, an opportunity. You have no control over the present moment if you’re living in the future, if you’re constantly thinking one step ahead. On runs I often think ahead, anticipating the end, especially on uphill runs because they tend to burn the most. That night was different though. My mind and body were in complete harmony, my mind clear letting my body do its own thing, not dictating a pace or stride, just letting it flow. I felt like I was effortlessly floating up the mountain.

As I summated I was rewarded with a spectacular view of the village and an extremely content feeling, which caused me to break out into a little dance on the freshly groomed ski slopes (I’m glad no one was there to witness that!). One of the great things about running uphill is that you get the thrill of the downhill as a contrast. I love letting my body roll on the downhills, cranky up the pace, jumping off rocks, face planting into powder snow, which is what I did that night. I was still forced to not look ahead, adapting my stride spontaneously to the obstacles ahead, anticipating the next step without pre planning it.

That night I learnt that missing a step is like missing a moment in life. Not every step is easy, but every step is a part of the bigger picture. We can’t control what happens in the future, we can merely influence it… Step by Step.

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