As an educator, I often pause to ask myself, “What am I learning?” I try to do this often, and especially when I feel things are going extremely well or poorly. I tend to assume I get my biggest insights at these times. But I’m also trying to be mindful of the in between times. When things are just kind of going along, nothing outstanding–when things just kind of are, the mundane times. There are so many rich possibilities for learning and growing in these just-kind-of-cruising-along-times.
I’m working on a project about the marathon lessons for life. It’s remarkable how many lessons there are. Most of marathon training, at least for me, consists of hours upon hours of plodding along. Step, step, step, breathe, breathe, breathe. My watch beeps to let me know when another mile has gone by. That little noise sharpens my awareness, analysis, and reflection. How did that last mile go? How do I feel right now? Mentally, what is my mood and outlook? Spiritually, am I connected to Mother Earth and the place where my feet step, step, step? Physically, how do I feel? I scan my body, paying attention to the smoothness or tightness of my movements and each muscle group and joints who support them. I adjust my gait accordingly. I note my breathing–do I have a sense of ease, sustainable challenge, or–as with occasional spadework–am I at my cardio limit with effort so great I can barely get enough air and even my teeth hurt?
Mostly, though, it’s just an easy pace. Step, step, step. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Notice, notice, notice. These hours and hours of plodding along don’t seem remarkable in and of themselves. But when I look at the long-term plan, I know each step will get me to the starting line, and then the finish line, of the marathon.
It’s kind of magical, this journey of transformation, taking the mundane and weaving it into a dream come true. And when I find magical lessons in the mundane some of my greatest learning indeed takes place. Step, step, step. Breathe, breathe, breathe.
Do you have time to pursue your dreams? Join the Indigenous Time Management workshop on March 29, 2021. More info and registration is here.