“Sticks and stones may break my bones– No chance your words will phase me!”
~ G. Kourtesiotis
I am a very physical person.
I enjoy athletics, and I love training like an athlete.
I also love trail running, I find it more absorbing than regular pavement running– and though I do find myself hitting the concrete from time to time– the other day was definitely a trail day.
The trails nearby are predominantly occupied by mountain bikers. And though I bike these trails as well, this particular evening had me running through them.
In any case, I enjoy the athleticism and constant change of direction. There is something exciting about the fancy footwork needed to navigate around stumps, roots, and rocks that could very well lead to some pretty nasty falls.
Very well still into the start of my run, I found myself sprinting downhill around a narrow corner. Before me was a group of bikers crowding the trail— they were cheering each other on for the obstacle that was ahead. The path we were all on came out through an S-like curve, that descended about 10 yards below.
In seeing how large their group was, and with most of them grouped in a dead stop, I felt it was better to cut through the very small cliff side in order to land on the path underneath me– and below them.
Now I am no showboater, and I feel that I am very conservative relative to my talents– at least publicly. But in sharing with you this story, I will easily admit that I am very athletic, and carry myself very well athletically– especially for my size.
I also happen to think like an athlete. More notably, as a former contact sport athlete– I have gotten used to the idea of shooting first, and asking questions later. I’m not saying I disregard my body, or that I don’t care if I get injured– I do, and it pisses me off — however, I do a good job of boxing out limiting thoughts of action.
In this case, athletic action means relaxing my body enough to perform the necessary task. Afterall, what makes an athlete “an athlete” is their remarkable capacity to relax and contract physiologically. In other words, the ability to contract and relax under stress, in a very fast/efficient manner relative to their performance.
Now that this chauvinism is out-of-the-way, I will fall back on my publicly conservative image of humbleness.
As I was descending down onto the trail, I heard one of the older women sitting by on her bicycle in observation offer me up a suggestion as I was sprinting away.
She audibly remarked loud enough for me to catch it on my way over the next hill in turn:
“May I suggest a smoother path?!”
You Definitely Cant!
To be honest with you, my instinctual reaction to her words was humor.
I didn’t take it as an insult, nor do I feel she threw it at me as an insult.
Quite simply, a comment…
More specifically– “I am a person with a big group” comment— you know the type. But if you don’t chances are that you’re that person.
All jokes aside, it takes a seemingly simple comment like this one to show the limiting subconscious reasoning of someone else.
Naturally, as I progressed through the 10km run. Her comment slowly burned itself into my mind…
It burned, and burned, and burned itself deeper into my conscience.
I began to become aggravated, but without hinderance.
In fact, it actually fueled my capacities, in the sense that I was determined to NEVER be bound, or to bind myself to the projected words of someone else.
I began to find offense in her words, but without any resentment to her.
Her words took on their own being— A separate entity.
No hate for her, not in the least, but her words— comparable to a -VOCAL- intruder.
But here is the kicker:
Though I didn’t genuinely feel offense originally, I actively practiced feeling offense throughout the trek.
Here’s the thing:
I HAVE TO FIND OFFENSE, in order TO BREAK THROUGH these BARRIERS— Through the labels of:
So why find a smooth path?
Why limit myself?
Why take the easy approach?
Why limit myself to the norm?
Why limit myself to more standardized forms of running?
Why should I limit myself ever to the words of a stranger?
And for me, to write this here is a concluding reassurance to my own ego and drive… Yes I said it… EGO!
You don’t necessarily have to feel hunger to be starving. BUT, you might actually starve.
In similar fashion, I have to fuel my body– regardless if I feel the hunger or not.
But in this case, I HAVE TO FUEL MY MIND, despite the absence of “hunger” to elevate beyond her words. I have to feed my mind, until I feel “hunger”, in order to absorb that fuel.
Hunger = Empowerment
That is why I train these days– not for physical VANITY, — though a pleasing by-product– But, to hone my mind.
To practice effort, to persist through hardships. To persist, to fight, and to keep fighting– regardless of circumstance, or chance, or exhaustion.
Your mind will carry your body, but your body won’t necessarily carry your mind.
So prepare yourself mentally— It is all you have when you are out pursuing the challenges in your life.
Anything beyond the scope of your mentality will influence you against yourself— But only if you let it.
With ferocious ferociousness,