"The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we were called to be." -Patricia Deegan

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Emu 48 Hour: Creating a Mandala

Today it struck me. The five months of training to build up my running speed and economy after 850km of sub-Arctic walking, the search for the optimal 48 hour race event, the searches for and visits to massage therapists, sports chiropractors, and physiotherapists in Australia, Canada, England, and Switzerland, the daily nutrition for my body, the recruitment of an incredible crew team for the event...everything has been like the construction of one of those beautiful sand mandalas. Admittedly, I have not looked nearly so poised, composed, or mindful throughout the process! But I aspire...always aspire :)

Tibetan Buddhist sand mandala being created

Running for me is often an active meditation. It's a way I experience a calmness of being present in the moment. There is no before or after - just now. But I make no claims that it's always like that! And it took a few years of building up fitness to where I wasn't always just focused on the future - getting to that next hilltop or street light - or just getting home to drink that beer!

I find that running in what might be thought of as "challenging" circumstances gives me a superb opportunity to practice the skill of being in the present moment. There's a curiosity within me. To find a flow and stay in it, but somehow without trying. If I grasp at any particular mental state, I'm guaranteed suffering - either it isn't quite as I imagined it or it doesn't last as long as I want or or or....

The suffering of grasping at the right shoes to wear. At least it's not a colour choice ;)

A mandala is a symbol. It can be a symbol of the (a?) universe. It can be a symbol of a quality or principle, like compassion or wisdom. It can be an offering.

This weekend, I'm off to Hungary, one of my ancestral lands, to run around in circles for 48 hours, gratefully supported by two adventurous people. I have goals - national record-breaking goals, maybe even a world age best goal - but I also have a goal to not be caught chasing and grasping at the goals. Not to chase, but not to refrain from chasing. To see if I can notice that the experience I'm "having" is actually the experience I'm "being." Enjoyment without preconception. A dance like no one's watching.

In other words, to have the #bestdayever. I'll start with today :)

The Nuts and Bolts:

Time: Friday 10am (Central European Summer Time) - Sunday 10am
  Perth time: Friday 4pm start   Calgary and Moose Jaw time: Friday 2am start
Location: Füred Camping, H-8230 Balatonfüred, Széchenyi u. 24. (Balatonfured/Lake Balaton, Hungary)
Circuit: 926.82 metre "round," with plenty of trees and shade in a campground/park setting
Accommodation: Two bedroom cabins for each runner & crew "track-side"
Forecast: 6-8 degrees C by night and 18-19 C by day, no rain, light breezes
Will I sleep? Planned 20 minute catnap if needed on day 2
Crew: 2 amazing people, JC and Anna. JC has crewed me before. They're both athletes.

How do you follow?

Live broadcast link - scrolling down on that video page should also show real-time (within seconds) standings/distances run for all athletes
Facebook for news and photos - they have a 6 day race each May - don't be thrown off by the "6 day" name. This particular event includes only 24hr (starts Saturday) and 48hr

In between watching people run around in circles on your computer, you might find one of these links of value:

Rich Roll podcasts
Saying YES to Your Weirdness YouTube video by JP Sears
Smiling Mind website and Australian-based free mindfulness meditation app for all ages

1 comment:

  1. You can find the live video and results here: