In January 2019, I ran my first 50K.
After running for nearly 20 years and specifically training for 6 months using all of my mindfulness tools, I was ready: ready for the adventure of running farther than I’d ever gone before, ready to experience new limits, ready to be present and take in the beauty of the trail, ready to use this race to celebrate the end of my 40th birthday year.
I crossed the finish line, with a smile on my face, deeply, deeply satisfied.
And then, one week later, the real mindful endurance challenge that was 2019 truly began.
The year was a tough one.
Along the way, I allowed many of my mindfulness tools to start to dissolve. I let go of teaching my weekly yoga class to focus on family priorities, which led to my own personal time on the mat diminishing. I prioritized sleep and exercise as my forms of self-care (along with several not so healthy ones!) as my workload increased, which led to my daily seated meditation practice becoming, at most, one intentional deep breath while cooking dinner every day (if I remembered!).
And while I deeply believe and regularly teach the value in micro practices, I also know that, for me, these contemplative tools serve me best when I use them in daily, structured way. As 2020 begins, I intend to embrace on beginner’s mind, and simply begin again. No need to berate myself for allowing my practices to fall too far away. No need to ruminate on should ofs or could ofs. No need to over analyze and blame. Nope, not this time. Instead with each breath, I get to choose to be here now.
Like many endurance challenges I’ve moved through, I’m grateful for the gifts that 2019 gave me: greater patience, increased connection with my own feelings and needs, deeper empathy. And like many tough runs I’ve endured, I’m ready to let this past year go.
Here’s to setting our highest intentions, moving in the direction of our best selves, employing the practices that serve us, and beginning again without judgment whenever we need to.