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Dark Night

I’ve made it through another dark night. While I can’t say for certain that it’s over, it does feel like I’ve stepped through a door. And on this side of the threshold, I can see two things that have helped me reach this point.

Consistent, healthy routines
During this difficult time, I’ve relied on practices that support my wellbeing. Over time I’ve learned that there are six keystones to my health: sleep, good nutrition, community (support and connection**), time in nature, regular exercise, and daily meditation. I’m constantly tuning each of these but they have all proven to be essential. Thanks to having fostered these tools through regular, consistent, intentional execution I can lean on them, trusting in the process. And when daylight shines, I continue to invest in them so that they are always there—faithful companions.

Economy of movement
Early in my life I learned a habit of stuffing emotions and using anger to hold it all in. I then used the consequent tension as a fuel for every fire I lit or came up against. And while I’ve achieved a lot in my life with this method, it eventually left me burned. It also had the effect of braiding my muscles into knotted ropes thereby limiting their ability to function. (David Goggins discusses this in his book “Can’t Hurt Me”.) During these last few months, as energy levels decreased and soft tissue pain increased I no longer had the fuel to throw on the fires. Instead, I had to start learning how to move efficiently with the energy available. I love investigating biomechanics, so it’s an amazing discovery to suddenly feel parts of my body move in concert rather than as a cacophony that inflames the strain/fatigue ratio.

For the past several years I’ve been able to share that my health and fitness improved, with each being the best of my life. That’s not the case this year as I’ve been struggling with a medical issue that has hampered my training. (Note: Initial blood test results gave a strong indication to what’s going on and how to proceed.) On the flip side, there’s been spiritual growth such that I am perhaps more present than ever before.

My easy run yesterday morning was one of the most delightful runs I’ve ever had. Sure, a lovely, cool summer day aided my outlook. But it also felt like I stepped through a door into my ‘masters’ life, and did so with a relaxed, peaceful, happy, sustainable, lightness and connection.


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**On the topic of connection, I recently listened to two podcasts with Cal Newport (Rich Roll Podcast, 10% Happier). He talks about our need for solitude and that many of us no longer experience solitude. Curiously, as I purposely, and with intention, step into and embrace moments of solitude (which is not the same thing as being alone or lonely) I find there’s a sense of connection with myself, others, nature, and the process of life.