Anyone who can run (or jump or skip, for that matter) has my full admiration. Mark Allen, a six time Ironman World Champion, is a record-busting triathlete with a great verve for life. In his recent book, Fit Soul, Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You, he reveals how he moved away from beating the clock to expanding his spirit. He moved beyond his limits nNot only physically, but also spiritually. He writes:

“When I began my career as a professional athlete in 1982, I judged my sucess in terms of the minutes and seconds I could shave off my competitive times, and how close I could get to my body’s breaking point without breaking. For the first six years of my career, I won plent of races ~ but always fell short of my goal: the ironman world championship. After meeting and studying with Shaman-healer Brant Secunda, I learned how to channel the power of nature to make me calm, focused and strong. By expanding my idea of fitness to spirit and emotions, not just physical fitness, I learned how to harness courage, self-confidence, and self-love. I became free and humble. I saored when I cimpeted, and felt really happy doing it. Combining my athletic training with the wisdom of the Huichol shamans, I went to win six world ironman championship titles.”

There is something to be said for perception. Where your head and your heart are at informs where you are at. Imagine being in full alignment with yourself? I may never compete in a triatholon, but there are plenty of other competitions to win in life. How might you apply yourself today?

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My dad occasionally sends me really cool stuff that he finds along his cybertravels. This one made me weep (I’m a sucker for Tim McGraw anyway). This young girl, Stacy Westfall, rides her horse with neither saddle nor bridle. She doesn’t speak, but gives her horse commands using her bare hands and legs.

May the power of slow embrace you with warmth and joy and remember to always live like you were dying…and, oh, this one’s for you, Dad. I love you with all my heart.

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Slow Motion Monday

June 28, 2010

Last week was tremendous. Picking up the pace a bit, I travelled with book author, Deborah King (Truth Heals), acting as translator of both words and meaning. It was an extraordinary experience into the depths of the human soul (she does energy work). Despite the tiresome travel, I was left feeling energized and centered. I even learned that hugging a tree can ground you like nothing else, except perhaps my husband’s feet.

The kids came with my husband to the Austrian resort, which was our final destination on the week-long tour. My daughter rode horses, played with the animals and had a great time helping herself to the buffet. My son fell in love with our friends’ dogs and made mental plans to see them again soon. The warmth of the sun offset our despondence at the US loss during Saturday night’s World Cup soccer match.

Because I had kept up with most of my emails, I came home with less overwhelm than usual after a week’s absence. In fact, I realized how fine the balance can be between too much time ‘on’ and too much time ‘off’. We sometimes think we have to be ‘on’ all the time. Not so. Unplugging for a weekend of fun and frolicking can be just the thing to make your Monday joyful and slow!

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Awaken the senses

July 27, 2009

The other day I was at my friend’s office when the book Vom natürlichen Umgang mit der Zeit by Friederun Pleterski and Renate Habinger caught my eye. The title translates as “How to Have a Natural Relationship with Time”. umgang mit zeitAstonished that someone else thought the way I do about time, I devoured the book on our car ride to the Alps in one sitting.

The most notable chapter is about awakening the senses through Nature. As we sped toward the mountains, I took the opportunity between chapters to soak up the landscape. Then, as we rode the cable car to the mountain’s apex, I breathed in the fresh air, noted the ever-changing vegetation, and the coolness surrounding us.

Our four-hour family hike took us eight hours to complete. Somewhere along the way, in all our wonder (and in our children’s eagerness to hike quickly), we took the wrong path. It was a great lesson in the power of slow ~ the faster we went, the more lost we became. Seven hours into it, we finally found the right path. Too much of a good thing can also be detrimental to one’s well-being. Our senses were beyond awakened  ~ they were on steroids with eyes bulging!

In all truth I get my best ideas in Nature, but another important point in the power of slow is realizing what your best pace is. After traveling about the country for a week on tour with a book author friend of mine (post forthcoming), I was looking forward to a steady, yet painless meandering through the forest. Instead we embarked on an odyssey of epic proportions. The sagest lesson learned? Even as we get lost and things take a wrong turn, the best you can do is put one foot in front of the other. Eventually, you will find our reward. In our case, it was a banana split!

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