Posted by: pursuingsub17 | May 9, 2016

Living life without expectations: free your mind and the answers are there


I’ve been really struggling with the whole “should I or shouldn’t I” question about Challenge Penticton. During the day or while training (whether the training feels successful or not), I feel I can commit. In the evenings before bed and mornings when I’m filled with anxiety and overwhelmed by the fact that I just can’t keep up with everything in my life, I really have doubts that this is “THE year” for a long course triathlon. For the first time ever, I’m afraid to spend a big wad of money for fear I can’t put the training time in dealing with a huge life change. That leads to…I’m not much of a triathlete then if I can’t do this.

I explained what happened to me in a previous blog. I have Celiac disease – diagnosed March 30th. Now the disease in itself isn’t what’s making me tired. It’s all the work involved. In the past I was able to fit in the long training days but I feel like I can’t now. I’m tired a lot – it’s very time consuming, as I explained in the past blog.

On top of that, I feel like I’m on the precipice of a big change in my life. Not just going gluten free but at 48, I think I’m going through a change, mentally and spiritually. Physically, not so much. Still the same weight and pretty healthy, just a few more wrinkles. I’m sure my boss and my mom would like to say it’s hormones but I don’t know. Maybe. But I did study psychology and I know people go through phases of change as they hit certain times in their life. Inner turmoil always happens to me leading up to that change and then it levels out. It’s like the economy or war or environmental changes:  Upheaval, followed by change and a leveling out.

To deal with the mess in my head and process not just the fact that I have this lifelong life changing disease but that there is some other personal growth that I’m experiencing, I’ve returned to the practice of meditation. This time, I am really trying to practice the real Buddhist approach to life and develop a deeper understanding of the faith – if that’s what you call it – maybe doctrine. I’m taking it much more seriously than I did in my 20s. I’m sure, just like a visit to a psychologist or a teenager trying acne medication for the first time, the shit comes to the surface first. I feel both clear headed and anxious at the same time. But it has helped open my mind and receive guidance from the most surprising sources on quite a few things…the “should I or shouldn’t I” question in particular.

When you still the mind, you open your awareness to the present and all the answers you need come forth. I have a guided meditation session I particularly like that teaches one to live life without conditions or expectations. The main goal of Buddhism is to understand that the ego is attached to the past and the future. Any fears, doubts or anxiety about future events is because the ego is afraid that things won’t turn out the way it wants. That’s how I’ve been feeling about this big race. What if I spend this money and can’t do the training? What if I do a half ass job and can’t finish the race – like I did in 2013? If I race and can’t finish, I fail. If I can’t train because right now life is getting in the way, then I fail. I fail being a triathlete. Back when I had the energy and thought I was healthy, I told everyone I was committed to this race. So if I can’t finish or can’t even sign up, I’m done. I’m done as a triathlete.

No – not so. What I learned from my meditations is that I shouldn’t put those expectations on myself. Who I am isn’t in the future – who I am is in the present. And who I am is and always will be a triathlete whether I do this race or not. So the answer is to just let things be and let things unfold naturally – because no matter what, the way the universe works, it will be the right thing for me. If I get the training in, and I will definitely try, I will register then. If I try but life changes prevent getting it all in, I will decide then if I have enough in to at least attempt to finish the race or would be better off being Marc’s sherpa this year. If I decide that I can do it and I am the last one crawling across the finish line, that doesn’t make me any less of who I am. Whatever the outcome, it isn’t because I’m a failure and don’t deserve the title “triathlete”. It’s just the simple fact that I couldn’t make long course happen this year so that I can find the much needed time to adjust to my new lifestyle and eating habits. Maybe this year, the universe wants me to focus on adapting to a big change in my life. But I don’t have to throw in the towel either. I just have to let it be. If this race is meant to be this year, then the means to get the training in will happen.

On an end note, today I received a notice that Jasper Blake posted a blog. Usually I wait until I get home from work but I read it on a break. I learned a lot from the post as it touched on a lot of what I’ve been going through in my indecision to register this year. Sill the mind and the answers will come to you. They say when the student is ready the teacher appears. Mr. Blake has helped me realize that I already am who I am striving to be. I’m a triathlete and if I accept that, the universe will put the wheels in motion. This just reinforces how important it is to turn off the mind chatter, live in the now and be receptive to the universe sending you the answers.

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