Last night I dreamed that I was running a marathon. I didn’t do it intentionally – in the dream I even thought, “I decided not to do this because I haven’t trained and I’m not ready.” The course was through the state zoo (a place I have never visited), and I only ran it because I was searching for someone who had been in the official pack. There was some vague urgency about finding this person that pushed me to begin. I started out long after the race had begun – so long in fact that some people had finished it hours before. I was running through an obstacle course of objects in the path and bizarre detours. But the point is, I was running.
In this dream, and a few others I’ve had over the years, I have been amazed with how easily I could run. I’m a big girl, and it’s been years since I ran more than few feet. But in this dream, my pace was steady. I remember that I just kept my eyes moving, searching for anything that might make me trip. My breathing wasn’t labored. I ignored the mile signs for a long time. I knew that seeing how far I had come, and how far I had to go, would only discourage me. I made it to mile 8 before I allowed myself to look.
And that’s when I stopped for the night. Yep, I decided in the middle of the race that I needed to take a break (even though I wasn’t tired), because ME making it to mile 8 was an incredible accomplishment, and I deserved to finish in the morning. I wasn’t tired – I could have done more. But I stopped. I must have turned over at that point, because I did pick up the dream at “the next morning,” when I started running again. I woke up before I finished the race or the dream.
I keep thinking about the lost time, and the lost momentum of the first leg of the race. How far could I have gone that night if I had just kept my eyes on the path, and not looked up at that mile marker?
I know that this applies to the rest of my life.
I often start things feeling unprepared, and only get going when it seems that it is necessary by someone else’s standards, or for another person’s needs. I am frequently surprised that I do as well as I do because I wasn’t fully ready for the task to begin.
In spite of an unsure beginning, I can stick to a task and do well with it, as long as I know that there is a definite end to the task (such as 26.2 miles), and I don’t look around to see how far along I am in the process. When I do that, for some reason I just lose momentum.
I need to keep running. Focus on how easy it is to move my feet and my arms, feel the breath moving through my lungs. Look out for obstacles.
I need to keep writing. Focus on the process, moment by moment. Watch the thoughts as they rise, and my fingers as they type. Get out of my own way.
Let go of how far I’ve come, and how far I have to go.