Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Journey and the Destination

I have always been a goal oriented person.  Even as a young girl, I was goal driven.  I was a gymnast and that by its very nature demands a single minded and dogged focus on attaining perfection.  After years and years of setting and chasing goals, it is now at the very core of my being.  I suppose you could say that so far on this long run, I’ve been pretty destination focused.

Focusing on my destinations has taught me many things along the way.  I am not afraid to test myself.  I know that if I say I’m going to do something, I will.  No. Matter. What.  I have learned that when I make up my mind, set a goal, and dedicate myself to it, there is no finish line I cannot reach. 
However, I realize now that in the process of running with my focus soley on the finish line, I’ve really missed out on the race.  There is a popular saying that life is about the journey, not the destination.  And while I am not sure I fully agree with this thought, I understand the sentiment behind it and I’m ready to take in a little scenery while I run.  In my new journey, I want to observe the beauty around me and I want to help others find the beauty in the run.  I want to learn to let the journey fulfill me on the way to the destination.
It was in this spirit that I recently set out on a quick run before dinner while I was visiting Austin.  I found a trail and set off to enjoy the run.  And I did enjoy myself as I tested myself (it was at least 90 degrees and not a cloud in the sky).  It really was a beautiful trail: tree covered and along the water.  I was surrounded by other determined runners, kayakers, paddle boarders, and some wonderful scenery. 

I would stop and take pictures and continue on my “loop” run.  Until that is, I finally realized the “loop” was no loop at all and I was lost.  Totally and completely lost.  I had no idea where the road before me would end and I wasn’t sure of the road behind me either.  What started as a four and a half mile joy run turned into a 9.2 mile test of my strength, stamina, and courage.  I was exhausted and I was hurting.

Thank Goodness for my concerned friends!
You see, it turns out, without a goal, you really don’t know where you are going.  And by the time you figure out where you need to be, you’ve got to loop back around and revisit roads you’ve already traveled and just in general, made the run longer and more difficult than it ever needed to be.
So, where do we find the balance?  How do we keep our eyes on the finish line and our hearts open to the journey?  My friends, I don’t know the answer.  I wish I could solve the riddle.  I started this blog in hope of providing you (and more likely me!!) with some guidance in getting through this long run.  But finding balance continues to elude me.  I struggle to lead a goal driven and purposeful life and also to be open to receiving the joy of the run along the way.  What I can tell you is that I will continue to try.  I will continue to focus on the road in front of me and I will do my best to look up and take in what’s around me.  In doing this, the real struggle may be not to trip and fall!!

And the real failure of it all - I had this map with me the whole time.



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