Strength of the Soul

“Why should we think upon things that are lovely? Because thinking determines life. It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment. Environment modifies life but does not govern life. The soul is stronger than its surroundings.” William James

I went on a long run this morning without music so that I could be alone with my thoughts.  This past week has been disjointed and overwhelming for me.  Admittedly, the stress levels have been high and unfortunately it has gotten the better of me a few times.  I have been fortunate that my friends and family have taken very good care of me, in spite of myself, and two critical pieces of advice sunk in this morning while I was on the trail. 

My good friend Kendall, who arguably has one of the most inspiring approaches to and zests for life gave me some really good advice last night… she told me to be kind to myself.  It was so simple but it stopped me in my mental tracks.  Additionally, another good friend has told me (more than once) to be patient and let time do it’s job and recognize that “this too shall pass.” 

I have been pushing so hard to get through things it’s been like slamming myself against a brick wall.  True to my normal form I kept thinking that if I just keep at it, I would knock it all down and break through it if I just went as fast and as hard as I could go.  I just wanted to be on the other side NOW. I have felt uncharacteristically weak and that has further deepened my frustration levels.  My friends have reminded me that breaking through isn’t the only way to get past a wall.  Being kind to myself, knowing I won’t be perfect, but remembering that I am inherently made of breath, and light will help to rise above the wall and move past it. I don’t need brute strength, I need soul power. 

I realized this morning on my run that for me, some walls just aren’t meant to be broken down.  Pushing, straining, fighting isn’t how I need to get past some of the tough stuff.  I think that for me walls sometimes have to stay fully intact in the past to serve as a reminder of what is there, what I’ve overcome.  And when I am past the pain, I can return to those walls and reflect on their purpose for being and with clarity and peace, accept their place in my life. 

My run was cathartic today, hearing the breath in my lungs, my feet on the ground, feeling the cool air on my skin, made me feel very connected to my center for the first time in week. My run was like climbing back into a familiar place… coming home… walls and all… 

If
If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!
Rudyard Kipling

2 Comments on “Strength of the Soul

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