Each morning I wake up and go for a walk. I contemplate my day as I take my little two-mile stroll from my house around the Marina. My little morning jaunt is more meditative than a part of any fitness strategy. It’s just a walk and talk…with myself.
I try to walk around the same time of day and, as such, I tend to encounter the same people. I like this part. I see the little Asian gal jogging and stopping to do some air squats. I see “Bob”, a pretty old guy that I meet “again” about every two weeks. And I see an older couple who walk holding hands and smiling and seem as happy to see me as I am them. I enjoy seeing them, though I may really just enjoy the smell of lady’s perfume. It’s nice…
These mornings, I am reminded of my past, consider my present, and ponder my future. I breathe in some sea air and exhale the little toxins compiled since the day before. It’s a cleansing time. I take steps and think thoughts and don’t think thoughts. I feel the wind or the sun or a raindrop on my face.
A thought which danced across my mind recently was my/our “destination”. My thought played out like this:
A great fallacy of life is that there is a finish line, besides the grave. There is a great tendency to believe in the fantasy that upon arrival at a particular milepost in life, we will find the peace, certainty and security we seek.
This deception is diabolical in its power to create false expectations which set us up for disappointment. We never arrive. The finish line keeps moving. For every hill we conquer, another pops up in the near horizon. This fact is not meant to be depressing or disheartening. When we understand this truth we can avoid the pain of believing a lie. And I much prefer an uncomfortable truth to a happy lie.
When we know the truth, we can respond with our own truth. And our own truth – while sometimes being flawed, scarred, bruised and afraid – is also beautiful. It is real and human, and the best of us lives inside of this truth.
Our doubts and fears and insecurities – all of the weird little confusions we suffer as human beings walking this earth – are where our truth lives. They are our power and they are our beauty. All these little things that scare us and shame us, also serve us. All life stories are survival tales of over-coming, of facing our fears and keeping moving. All of us.
On my whiteboard at my CrossFit gym, I had a couple of quotes. The first was, “Learn to love the climb.” This addressed the idea that certainly fitness, but really life, is a forever climb. No finish line exists. We can always get stronger, smarter, better…forever. This idea softens the expectations of an “arrival place” and gives permission to simply enjoy the process of living life in forward motion.
The second quote was, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Certainly in the context of a gym, this quote served to disarm the tendency to define ourselves by standards other than our own; the idea that somehow we are less; that others possess something that we do not. And while sometimes it is true that others possess things we do not, it is also true that we possess things that they do not. We are all wonderfully unique and enjoy strength beyond our mind’s eye.
This reminder is especially potent when the hill we’re climbing feels steeper than we believe we can climb. Trusting in the power of our personal and powerful little truth changes the grade of every hill we climb and can transform raindrops into sunbeams on an early morning walk by the water…and at all other times, too…
[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). He also runs the new Waterland Arcade, located at 22306 Marine View Drive South. Dave extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, Dave needs more friends – find him on Facebook here.