When a belief is challenged, the mind fights back. What is my challenge? A belief that spending a few hours in a park everyday is self-indulgent. And then writing about it is even more so.
When I first started 30 Days in Stanley Park, I emailed friends and added a request. “And I’m not too proud to ask for external motivation and support”. But that wasn’t true. I didn't need motivation -- I needed permission. If I got permission, it was as if I had evidence to show my mind. “See, I’m not the only one who thinks it’s okay to do this, so-and-so said I could go to Stanley Park everyday. And they’ll read what I write too. So there!”
And I didn't know how to work with my mind without being over-the-top. “Back off you mean mind or I'll beat you senseless with a stick." Being aware of these mind tricks is good but fighting them off is draining. I no longer wanted to fight. I wanted to let it all go. So today, I was open to try a new tactic when my mind revved up. “Stop being so hard on me, I’m trying. You be nice to me!” If I sought kindness, could I give it too?
I continued running. When The Dandy Warhols’ Bohemian Like You came on near the end of the hour, I first thought, “Man, I want to keep on running.”
“What?” said my mind. “But you have work to do!”
I put my stick away and tried kindness.
“I know, thanks, I’ll do it when I get home” I said. Uh-oh, I’m getting close to the path that takes me back to the car.
“But you’ve got a lot of work to do,” said my mind.
“Uh-huh, I know, thanks,” I said. Don’t look at the path. Look at the seagull doing his one-legged yoga pose just ahead.
“But your hip is going to hurt,” it said as I got closer to the path.
“Uh-huh, maybe, thanks,” I said. Almost. Look at the seagull.
“But you might get a ticket on your car if you’re late,” said my mind. It knows me well and it’s hitting lower.
“Uh-huh, maybe, thanks,” I said. Look at the seagull. Look at the seagull. Almost there. Look at the seagull.
“But, but …” said my mind.
I ran past the turn-off and kept right on running.
And then, there was quiet. My mind was silenced.
I barely remember the second hour of running. Songs came and went in the background. There was only silence in my head. Peace. Space. This, I like.
About mile ten, I passed two young women on rented bikes, purple with wicker baskets. One was taking a photo of the other.
“Hey, would you like me to take a photo of you both?” I asked.
“Oh, yes please, that would be great, thank you,” said the one with the camera. “Sorry for wrecking your run.”
“No, no, this is absolutely my pleasure,” I said. And it was. It makes me happy to help tourists with their photographs. I offered and yet she apologized.
Why do we feel the need to apologize, justify and make excuses for everything? Ok, here goes...
I love Stanley Park. I am going every day and I'm writing about it too. Period. Said. Done. Yikes!
Twenty-three more days to practice believing it.
Photo by: wirecanvas