I’ve been at a lot of races lately and some sounds and sights are familiar. Cold mountain air in the morning, frantic energy at the starting line. Heavy breathing and panting, feet grazing and flopping on dirt roads, quiet muffled sounds of headphones, and the crazy eyes. Those crazy eyes. Watching as the normal gaze of distraction turns shiny and human desire bubbles up from the belly of determination–color unnamed yet so familiar. Ruddy cheeks frame the eyes, the blush of anticipation that transcends anything sexual. Eye color doesn’t matter because it’s not the color that’s doing the talking. The hue becomes the energy of someone who has tapped into what it means to be elite. This person will be fast. This person is creating their experience.
What inspires me is being around limitless passion. Passion that transcends suffering, pain, or any imagined barrier (because they are usually imagined, this life is limitless if we create it so). Raw, messy, passion that pulled Viktor Frankl through a concentration camp—creating meaning in an inherently meaningless world. His spiritual strength fed the fire that fueled his will to continue on, to survive, because life took on some kind of meaning. It became bigger than him.
Struggling and suffering are not always bad. It is through struggle that growth occurs—when the river is forced to find a different path because the force of the suffering, the winter melt-off, is too great. The path might be slow at first but the river carves land, edges of rocks, rumbling loud in spring, gathering strength in winter. It becomes its own artery of life and aspiration. Find something bigger than self and struggle becomes universal. A mountain to climb. One hundred miles to run. A prayer to an open sky. A race to win. A story to write. A fable to tell.
Take the first step by going out of your comfort zone. See yourself as part of an infinite story. You are not the first or last to arrive on this path. And the key is to do what you have to do to get what you want and realize your own strength.
What is it that you want?
What is it that you will do?
How will you become limitless?
“If you can’t run, then walk. And if you can’t walk, then crawl. Do what you have to do. Just keep moving forward and never, ever give up.”
― Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner