I was talking to a friend the other day about living joyfully. Writing, relationships, exercise, chores... everything in life flows so much smoother on the days I approach life with a playful "let's just see what happens here" type of excited expectancy. I think the Universe works to bring us what we want when we don't spend so much time and energy fighting for what we think we need.
I was thinking about this on today's trail run. I've been doing a trail run once a week after I work out with a friend. We work upper body for about 45 minutes and then I run. Last week, I was miserable. My arms and shoulders hurt from the workout and I brought this into my run. My mantra that day was something along the lines of, "Ow, this hurts, this sucks, I'm not going to make it." Guess what? I had a crappy run, walking a good part of it.
My upper body hurt just as much today but my mood was different. It was a beautiful afternoon, I had plenty of time before I needed to get back to the gym and shower, and I was simply happy. Happy to be healthy, happy to be outside, happy to be running. I didn't focus on the run. I figured I'd do what I could and if that meant a bit of a struggle, well, that was all right. That's all part of it.
I did struggle but the difference was that this struggle was fun. I'm not sure how to explain it exccept to say that last week I was fighting the run and this week I accepted it. I pushed through and finished it.
And there was a bonus. As I headed out today, I was thinking about my time at Wildacres when I went on a Writer's Retreat. I was hiking one day and had an exeperience that stuck with me. As I came to a clearing, something inside me said STOP MOVING. It wasn't a voice so much as if someone put a hand on my shoulder and jerked me to a stop. It was so definitive and abrupt it startled me into coming to a full stop. Then I had the clear impression that I should STAND STILL AND WAIT. Again, no voice, but there may as well have been. So I stood and waited, and waited, and waited, and after about 45 seconds I'm feeling like an idiot, when out of the clearing this huge group of deer came flying through. It was beautiful. They were everywhere and it was like a gift being able to stand still and watch all of them charge and dash and play. I would have missed it if I'd ignored my instincts and continued on with my walk. It was my favorite moment--possibly my only good moment--from that entire week.
So I'm remembering this moment as I jog out today. As I'm running back, I'm almost to the end and I have the urge to walk. Not because I'm tired and can't make it, but just... because. I almost ignored it. I was so close to the end, why would I quit? But I walked and as I rounded the corner there was a huge, beautiful deer standing in the center of the path. We looked at each other and she didn't look at all alarmed. I took a few steps back, wanting to show her I meant no harm, and as I did, a baby fawn appeared in the brush and came out to stand beside her. We all just smiled at each other for a few minutes, then I took a few more steps back so I was around the curve and when I looked back, they'd gone into the brush.
Beautiful creatures. So happy to have seen them.
My challenge to myself is to stay joyful. Kind of builds on the Hell Yeah! post. Choose things and people in life that make you say, "Hell Yeah!" and having chosen them, follow through with a playful, curious attitude. Be less stringent, more lighthearted. Less stress, more play. Less "I have to" and more "I get to."