I seem to have decided that all Ama Dablam entries will have a letter from Ama Dablam. It’s fun to watch my mind work with seeking out options for which letters/words could summarize my recent experiences in preparation for Ama Dablam. If I’d gotten it together to write a blog entry last Friday before heading out (sans internet) for the long weekend, it would have be “M is for Motivation,” because I felt so lifted and inspired by the Tickle Swim for Mental Health that I helped with. This moment below, so beautifully captured at the end of Jody’s swim kept me training hard for a few days.
if I’d written my entry yesterday, it would shave been entitled, “D is for Ditches.” This would be a reference to the Buddhist teaching of the Middle Way using an analogy of wanting to be travelling down the middle of the road, rather than falling into the ditches on either side. I described to a friend that recent life had been either all on or all off, up or down, here or there. “Very dichotomous,” I realized and I typed those words to her and told myself that I could back off that kind of thinking which wasn’t being particularly helpful.
Today, after getting back on the horse by completing a hard work capacity training session, I went with “L is for Life.” Life is truly like a river. It has current. It has rocky obstacles. Sometimes it flows steady and deep, other times it is boiling whitewater that threatens to swallow you whole. Very much like paddling a whitewater canoe and driving a motorcycle, the life lesson is to “Look to where you want to go.”
If you stare at an obstacle (rock, pothole, log) for very long, you are sure to hit it, be caught by it, be hurt by it. If, however, you can look ahead a bit, see a path, and steer to an opening, you might get through. So, even if though I want training to be easy (it isn’t-especially when the work is hard enough to make your ear channels sweat) and even if I want getting myself to train to be easy, it might not be-there are obstacles. There are things that compete for my attention. My energy is finite. That’s life. I am reminding myself that I can get stuck in a monster whitewater recirculating hole, get maytaged, swim down to get out, and then catch my breath. Then, and only then, get back in my boat and flow on down the river, both going with and across (and occasionally against) the current. My L is for Life lesson for today is learning to steer through all of the obstacles with ultimate compassion for myself and those around me.