I went on a 10-mile run by, around, up and down the area called Spruce Mountain, which is about 10 minutes up the road from my home here in Colorado. There are many trails all around this little mountain (by 14,000 ft mountain standards) and it has about 600 feet elevation gain to a peak of about 7,600 ft above sea level. Yesterday I did the 10 miler, and found myself with a deep peace along the way and at the finish.
So come along with me on this virtual run, as it’s a great analogy for living your best life! The best thing is you don’t need to run a single step!!
On the day before our run, we had a few inches of snow. Some snow had melted and turned back into ice overnight. So the trail will be a mix of slushy snow, muck, clear trail, pure ice, water, and some nice snow, as the sun is shining and the temperature is in the 40s.
The run started with a little tightness in my muscles, and I took it easy to begin. I often think of the many things I am grateful for, and that makes the warm-up go by faster and easier. Here I am, 60 years old, launching on a 10-mile run, in the beautiful Colorado forest! I was in gratitude for that, my health, for the Fitbit around my wrist letting me know how my heart is doing, my eyesight that I can see this wondrous area, and for life itself. Gratitude … the perfect way to start and finish our long run. What are you grateful for?? I challenge you to start each and every task or major effort in gratitude, it will go much better.
So we are past the warm up, headed due west on the mostly flat trail, and we crest a small ridge. Now we are heading down, and after a couple of miles, we get to the first turn off. We take the turn, and it’s a winding trail with S shaped turns. We are in the open meadow, away from the Mountain, and its pure muck!! Woah … slipping and sliding along the turns. I almost landed on my rear end a few times, but managed to stay upright. Now into the wide open meadow with the trail mostly dirt now.
It occurred to me that in life, we get into situations where we are on a slippery slope. If we are not careful, we are headed for a fall. It may hurt. We need to let go of the addictions, lazy, greedy, or any other thoughts and actions that take us to our own slippery slopes. We are all on life’s journey, this is the long run, get past those slippery mucky mud sections and into the flow.
Farthest from the Mountain
We continue to the West to the farthest end of the open area. To the right we see a few deer curiously looking at us. Why would that creature be running when there is no danger??? They were amused with the site of a human running.
We move up to the ridge and there are no more human tracks, just the deer tracks. In solitude, but at peace. Sometimes in life we are far from the mountain, town, or village we live in. We are alone. With a peace within, we can be in solitude, and not feel alone or afraid. Enjoy these moments.
Now at the 6-mile point, after looping back to the east, we are now approaching the west side of the actual mountain. There is a service road that will take us straight up the backside of the mountain. Simply put, it is a beast! It will take us to the top of the mountain in less than a mile, a brute that has 14% gradients, followed by a small elevation gain, and then followed by 2 more 10%+ gradients into the sky. Get ready beast, I’m coming! I’m going to flatten the service road.
10 minutes later, we are up on the top rim of the mountain. We did it, we flattened that climb.
As in life, we are often faced with “beasts of different kinds”. These are the tough times that can evoke a deep fear in ourselves. If I get scared, I will be miserable during the climb, or maybe even avoid that beast altogether. Hey what if I go get drunk, maybe the beast will go away?!?! But the beast stays. It will stay in our lives until we face it, and go through the pain.
When I charge into my “beasts”, lighting it up with courage, a sense of adventure, and a fierce determination … it goes by quickly. We are at the top rim now, that was actually fun! We did it! The human body loves when we take on these “beasts” in life, and rewards us with Oxytocins and other wonderful chemicals. Every time we finish a tough task, we get rewarded with these chemicals. Face my fears, go into them, and they dissolve. Simply go through them, go for it.
Gliding in the sun
Sweet, we are on the top rim of the mountain, which is flat. Spruce mountain has some steep sides, but the top is relatively a big flat circle and the trail is roughly 4 miles around at the top. Since we came up the service road, we are half-way around and about mile 7.
We get to the far south side, and what awesome views! Beautiful! The sun is shining down and the trail is clear of ice and snow. We are gliding in the sun, life is great. Its flat or downhill from here to the finish.
In life, I’ve found when I have the courage to face my fears and go straight through the “beast”, what comes next is a wonderful, Spiritual glide in the sun. I am happy, I have a peace within, I have serenity. I am connected to Spirit and the Oneness of all. From my experience, we must do the work first, such as running the “beast”, and then the serenity, that pure peace follows every time. Other blogs I write will talk of the work we must do to get to that place of deep peace within.
We finish the loop around the mountain top, now the sign says 1.6 miles to the finish. Hurrah, all down hill, this will be a breeze, as we’ve done the 8.4 miles to get us to this point.
We drop down again on the north side of the mountain, and the sun is blocked down here. Now the trail down is a series of descending switchbacks taking us lower and lower until the final chute to the finish. The snow from yesterday had melted, but had refrozen overnight.
Yikes … the trail makes a very sharp U-turn. Its pure ice. The snow had melted but bathed the entire trail in a carpet of ice. Its steep, with a large fall-off down the left side of the mountain, and pure ice. I take it easy. I shuffle my running shoes, just treading through this dangerous section. I hold onto the icy rocks lining the trail. I slow down and take great caution.
In life, we sometimes come to icy patches in our lives. Perhaps we lose a job, a close friend, or we incur bad health. Its icy and treacherous. Its dark, cold, and filled with fear. Yet we move through it, slowing down, taking care of ourselves, nurturing ourselves, moving ahead as best we can given the circumstances. Life deals us tough times, we keep moving forward.
Finish: Into the Sunlight of the Spirit!
OK, we round the last switchback and come back to the east side of the mountain. We are greeted with a burst of sunlight! Beautiful! The trail is clear. We are in the last section of this run of life!
We did it! 10 miles in a little under 90 minutes, not bad considering the muck, snow, elevation gains, and icy sections. We feel the shower of endorphins, opiates, and that wonderful feeling of serenity and peace within. The body rewards us with a shower of “happy” chemical cocktails.
We went on a long journey. We balanced through the slippery muck. We faced the “beast” and went straight up and through them. We glided in the sun. We faced the icy times and nurtured ourselves through it. We finished in the sunlight!
Thanks for joining me on this spiritual run. We are getting Spiritually fit together. What a great way to live life!
I want to hear all about your 10 miler through life today! Blast through those fears, run with Spirit, live with that peace within.
p.s. I read Gabby Bernstein’s book “The Universe has your Back” afterwards …. fantastic at removing fear and turning to faith and results. Trust you can make the long run.