ONCE UPON A TIME

Posted: July 29, 2013 by smrtnsasy in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There was a time when I believed that right was the strongest force in the world; and that right defeated wrong every time.  The horseman in the white hat was always victorious over the horseman in the black hat.  Light subjugated dark.  I was taught to make sure I was right before forging ahead, then stick by my convictions, and everything would be for the best.

Time was when I thought I could be the best.  I thought I could win.  It would just be a matter of time.  If I did everything right, worked hard enough, then winning and being the best would be attained.

At one time I thought the world to be clear cut and well defined.  It was easily detectable what was good and what was bad.  Good and evil.  It was pretty easy to determine which was which.  It was as clear as right and wrong.

But, as I grew into the world, blue skies turned to dark clouds.  I discovered that right didn’t always win.  There were forces on the darkside that, at times, were stronger than light.  Good was not always victorious.  Sometimes, good was the victim.

I found that I could not always win.  No matter how hard I worked, I might not win.  Thinking I was right and working hard did not prevent my opponent from being better.  Winning was not always under my control.  There were other forces out there.

I changed as I grew.  I became involved in more and varied pursuits.  That was part of my education both formal and informal.  I learned from a lot of people.  Some of those teachers taught from the church, some taught from manual labor, some taught from schools, some taught from the family.  Whether I realized it or not, learning was happening everywhere.  Living and growing was being a student.

The simple look into life from the simplicity of a child faded.  Things became complicated.  What I wanted to be real truth was but a ray of light into each day.  How much light was determined by things I didn’t understand at the time.  But, more understanding was discovered as I learned, as I grew into the world.

The world gave me people to deal with on a daily basis.  People I had to try to understand.  Some of those people became friends and some became enemies.  Some were just passing by.  Still, good and right and darkness were intertwined in those people.  Discovering which was where was a problem.  Learning to deal with it was a different problem.

Authority was a door I encountered on a more intense level as I matured.  Teachers, coaches, bosses were just a few that presented different problems.  At times, life was less enjoyable because of them, and life was also more enjoyable because of them.  School, college, work, daily life gave opportunities to learn to cull the bright days from existence…to live more in the light than the dark.  But, barriers were always out there.

Change was still happening.  I was alive, and I knew it.  I relished it.  Change was becoming the watchword of the decade when I was in college.  My life grew from the pacific 1950’s into the torrid 1960’s.  I was changing just like everything around me seemed to be changing.

I was latching on to new ideas.  Some of these came from enlightened professors in my classes.  Others came from sources outside the classical educational realm.  I was soaking in new ideas in all the reading I could find.  These reads dealt with educational ideas, recreation, and athletics.  Since I was majoring in physical education and wanted to coach, I was intensely interested in some of these seemingly “off the wall” ideas…because it was a change from the status quo.

Even though there were a lot of things in the 60’s that I rejected, the openness to new ideas in athletics fascinated me.  I had learned the traditional approach; now, I was a child of the 60’s in learning new things.  It was exciting.  It was change.

Time moved on.  The following decades brought stability lacking in the 60’s.  There was less change.  This was interpreted to be a good thing by a lot of people.  I was settled in to teaching and coaching and raising a family.  Surviving in our society.  I became a victim of a changeless regime.  Status quo.

I’m lucky in that I recognized this situation.  I wondered if I would become a fatality of the status quo.  Was I figuratively dying?  I needed answers to questions unanswered.

This scenario happened to a lot of people during this era.  Some buckled; some survived; some thrived.  Those who felt the world had changed too fast and then too slow buckled.  Those who tried to move with the rhythm of change survived.  Those who observed societal changes but chose their personal changes thrived.  They were the lucky ones…or, the prepared ones.  They are the ones who are thriving today as our world once again accelerates change.

Changing fast or changing slow or not changing at all has always presented personal problems to society members.  Within the sea of change, be it fast or slow, is needed a home base, a place of solidarity.  If one has this, then one can face any change that is presented…and, it will be presented.  We hear about it all the time.  The change is perhaps the major stressor in our lives.  On the street, we refer to this problem as “stress.”

Our society is inundated by various methods to deal with this onslaught of change, stress.  We have TV programs that want to teach us how to cope.  Bookstores are loaded with solutions to the problem.  Agencies and organizations exist to help us survive the situation or to survive the problem the situation causes, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, or obesity.  We pay money to buy the secret solution from unproven sources.

It may seem odd to a lot of our society members that our chosen activity cuts to the core of the secret of dealing with the big problem.  Running distance has been referred to “the Western form of meditation.”  The East gave us various forms of introspection and meditation to calm the inner world so the real world could be dealt with effectively.  The West gave us a work ethic that help put our country in the forefront, and gave us individual problems.

In our modern times, the West and our country in particular has given the masses the simple gift of distance running.  This was “jogging” in its earlier formative years.  Now, with our running, we find the best relief from the stressor that change represents. In our running, we have found a way to deal with all the changes our society throws at us in this technological age.

When I go for a run, I again experience a world in which right is the strongest force.  Good is dominant.  Light kicks ass over darkness.  My running simplifies my life no matter how much change is happening.  That simplicity is hand-in-hand with the pursuit of happiness as a life goal.

Running cannot progress if one does it incorrectly.  No matter what, doing it right will cause progression.  Even if one thinks the running is not good enough, it is still right if one is getting better.  “Proof in the pudding,” so to speak.  This correctness carries over into moral bounds.  Running is the right thing for the human body to do.  The conscience is activated through running because of the moral picture of the world that is presented to the runner.

The world of good is opened when I run.  No matter how bitter I may feel starting the run, I see the world as a better place after the miles pass.  I tend to see good things happening and see the beauty in the world around me.  The rhythmical activity causes the brain to tune in to “feel good” thoughts that in turn influence how I see the world.

I am a child when I run.  Running is a seemingly simple action, and that simplicity takes me unconsciously back to “once upon a time.”  There the world is again clear cut.  Happiness is found in the simplicity.  Movement initiates this manifestation.  As miles pile up, the mind is in its base level of existence.  The mind will reduce the world to a simple level.  Running, breathing steadily at an increased rate, muscles repeating the action, the body being stressed in evolutionary means, takes me to a focused level of non-focus to the point that I am living as a human is meant to live.  When I am running, that is easy to see and understand.  It is simple.

That may be why I run.

RW

“Running is the classical road to self-consciousness, self-awareness and self-reliance.  Independence is the outstanding characteristic of the runner.  He learns the harsh reality of his physical and mental limitations when he runs.  He learns that personal commitment, sacrifice and determination are his only means to betterment.  Runners only get promoted through self-conquest.”

Noel Carroll

Comments
  1. David Warady says:

    Man, that’s some heavy stuff. You’re definitely a product of the 60’s…and all generations. The true Renaissance Man. You should pack up all this good stuff & put it in a book.

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