Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Trail

As I looked down the technical, steep and narrow trail I was filled with fear. I could see it happening; how I would twist my ankle or tumble as I tripped on a protruding root or stone. My body stiffened and my heart rate increased as my fear and apprehension grew. After minutes of internal monologue my mate finally began the descent and I followed in his footsteps, or tried to.
I was mesmerized by the elegance of his descent. He floated down the trail, dancing over rocks and roots as though they were his dancing partners and kicking up a solid speed. And then there was me, squirmishly tip toeing down the trail, ensuring that I wouldn't trip or hurt myself, ironically tensing up so much that, no matter how slow I went, I still ended up tripping and rolling my ankles. As we hit the bottom of one section, and Yannick had been waiting for me for quite some time, I asked him: "how do you run down the trail so fast and securely? I just don't get it." His answer was simple, "lose your FEAR, TRUST your feet and let it FLOW."

As I was lazing at home, licking my wounds from the multiple tumbles and missteps, I was triggered to think that a trail is not all that different to our path of life. If we approach that path with fear and apprehension we are per programming ourselves for a fall or "injury". Because, as soon as we allow fear to invade our lives it sends tension through our whole being; physical, emotional and mental tension. It causes an interruption to your natural flow. Sometimes fear is associated with caution. Trying to avoid a, potentially, bad outcome. This caution however, gives us the space to over think or over intellectualize things. Just like on the trail - if I spend too much time thinking about my next step I will very likely trip on my current step, because I forget to be in the moment and flow.

A trail presents you with the most unexpected yet, at times, obvious obstacles. Rocks and roots lay scattered along the ground, sometimes covered by slippery leaves only to surprise you as you step on them and quickly have to adapt your step. If we don't stay present it is hard to adapt your step, because you are already focusing on the next. Those steps aren't always elegant but you need to finish that step before you can take the next.

A trail teaches you to be in tune with your body, to open you mind - body connection. To perceive with the eye and adapt with the body. To feel into yourself and flow in motion. It reveals the meaning of the word Trust, which outshines the feeling of fear.

As the months have passed and my trail running has increased I have had more time to play on the trails. I have allowed myself to feel fear and let it go. I have allowed myself to Trust the ground over which my feet dance. I have allowed myself to move with my flow of motion and not against it. Trails give me so much pleasure now, because we have, and continue to, evolve together. It's not always a harmonic relationship and the trail still likes to test my skill, but I always remember that I was the one who chose to run that trail.

Run freely over your path of life. Lose your fear. Enjoy the beauty. Let yourself fall. Get back up. Run with life!

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