Yes, I have an ego. Yes, I have some big ideas of how to do things my way. But what I have discovered is that when I bring my ego and all my ideas to the center and say, ‘hey, I’m willing to give all these up in favor of what actually, truly wants to unfold here because I trust that Love has a plan that is already underway anyway,’ I experience more ease, peace and joy.
I’ve had a number of significant experiences lead me into the direction of this truth. One of the most prominent examples might be my senior year in college. By that stage of my life, I’d established myself as a highly competitive track & field long distance runner. My training found me consistently running 80 to 90 miles a week. Going for a ten-mile run literally felt effortless.
However, two weeks into my final year of track, I experienced a mysterious back injury. An injury that forced me to stop running entirely for seven weeks. As an alternative to maintain my fitness, twice a day (without a floating belt) I aqua jogged in one of the universities swimming pools. Aqua jogging is like treading water with only your head above water while mimicking the full body running motion.
After those seven weeks off, I was able to resume running again. I certainly felt rusty but, there remained one final race that I’d qualified for before the injury. This race was the NAIA National Track & Field Marathon, and I still desperately wanted to compete in it. I remember having to plead to my coaches to run in what would be my very last collegiate race. I’d convinced them that despite the time away from competition, I’d earned the opportunity and wanted to at least try to complete the 26.2 mile race.
I feel like a seven year old waking up Christmas morning when I recall toeing the starting line the morning of June 11th 1991 in Stevensville Texas. I was so excited and grateful to just be able to run. For probably the first time in my life I was experiencing the shear joy of running. I felt no pressure from myself or anyone else.
The early stages of the race found me settling into the middle of the pack of qualified runners. My prerace plan was simply to stay positive throughout the entire race while silently repeating the words “stay calm, stay steady”. By the races midway point, I’d found myself amongst the top 15 competitors. However, I still had a long way to go and knew staying true to calm & steady was absolutely essential. My preinjury goal prior to this event was to finish in the top six, which would earn me the Athletic All-American honor that had eluded me.
As I entered the university stadium approaching the finish line in 2nd place, I knew that I’d leaned into something I’d never forget. It was an experience that significantly changed the trajectory of my life!
It opened my eyes to what love, desire, and commitment can manifest into an individuals life. I was beginning to understand that love and fear couldn’t occupy the same space. Fear was the blocker, and love was the entrance into unlimited potential.
There’s no question this was an ego-based experience for me but, without it I may not have had the opportunity to grow and experience life’s richer meaning. Revisiting my “stay calm, stay steady” personal mantra, still serves me while I continue to stride towards love.
Sometimes knowing when to let go is the best thing we could possibly do. Maybe it’s time to step aside and let love’s plan unveil itself?
Children’s Author & Founder
of The Emotional Agility Matters