After last week's 5K, I've been doing a lot of thinking about victories, goals and as usual, karmic destiny.
Thursay, I met with a friend and we talked about my personal victory last Saturday. He told me he'd heard a speaker once who described the original meaning of the word athlete. I don't remember exactly what he said, so I looked it up.
"One who contends for a prize" -- now no where in that does it say, "contends for the prize and wins" or "Must be skinny to be an athlete" or "must contend for a prize within a sporting event".
What if, really, we are all "athletes" in contention for the prize and that prize is: us.
Our own happiness, our own ... enlightenment. We're all athletes in a marathon and that marathon doesn't really end until we transition from this life to the next.
To really embrace this thought, I have to let go of the "athlete" stereotype created by modern definition. An athlete doesn't have to be the jocks who parked in the lot by the gym, with there confident walks and letterman jackets. The athlete doesn't to be the zero-body-fat runner who looks at you in disdain when she runs past you saying "on the left". The athlete doesn't have to be the face on the cereal box.
The athlete is ... me.
We're all trying to reach a finish line while over coming obstacles along the way. Those obstacles are not necessarily metal and wooden hurdles placed there by the coaching staff, although they're there. My obstacles are the voices of others (real or imagined) who tell me, "I can't" or "I'm not worthy" of finishing.
As I've written in the past, I named my negative voice Vicki Should. Naming her and giving her a structure has helped me deal with her...she's not some faceless voice in my head... she's a voice that I can talk to. I know she is just a part of me -- made up of negative messages I've picked up from family, media and other people who truly don't mean well -- but sometimes I just need to talk to her.
I have to remind her I'm in control, not her. That when I hear my voice instead of hers, I find Light and Joy ... I'm closer to God and the Universe and that I don't need her approval to do anything.
For a long time, I thought I'd have to kill Vicki Should in order to be free. But lately, several friends of mine have reminded me that sometimes you have to embrace your "shadow side" -- the side of you that is dark..not living in the Light. That is where Vicki Should lives in my life.
Perhaps Vicki Should is my sparring partner or the second string. She is the other athlete that makes me stronger, better than I was before. If I can beat her, drown out her voice -- then I should be able to silence the other voices (again, real or imagined) that hold me back.
My friend Bard described this as getting a sword ready for battle. The blacksmith takes the steel that is already strong -- already good -- and then puts it through the fire, pounds it straight and then puts it through the fire again and repeats the process until the sword is strong and ready for battle.
We have to have that shadow side. We have to have the dark to balance and recognize the light.
So rather than trying to kill off Vicki Should, I've decided to live in peace with her, to use her to my advantage. I now know I'm an athlete and stronger for each step in the race, so I won't allow her to control my life.
What I will do is continue steadily forth in my own marathon.