On the day of the race, he waited with the others and felt that life was waiting in the hills. He couldn’t quite say why, but a blessing was about to happen. As the gun went off, he could hear the rush of all the racers breathing—like young horses in the morning.

He had trained for months, up and down the sloping hills, cutting off seconds by wearing less and leaning into curves. His legs were shanks of muscle. He often said, “It’s the closest thing to flying I know.”

On the second hill, the line thinned and he was near the front. They were slipping through the land like arcs of light riding through the veins of the world. By now, he was in the lead. As he swept toward the wetlands, he was gaining time, when a great blue heron took off right in front of him; its massive, timeless wings opening just in front of his handlebars.

Its shadow covered him and seemed to open something he’d been chasing. The others were pumping closer, but he just stopped and stood there, straddling his bike, staring at what the great blue had opened by cutting through the sky.

In years to come, others would ask, “What cost you the race?” Wherever he was, he’d always look south, and once in a while, he’d say, “I didn’t lose the race—I left it.”

Source | Mark Nepo, As Far As the Heart Can See: Stories to Illuminate the Soul
(Health Communications, Inc. 2011) pages 13-14


Tell the story of a time when your hard work had an unexpected outcome and what you learned from that experience.

Close your eyes, breathe slowly, and imagine something you are working hard to achieve. Notice without judgment which has more energy for you: the process or the goal.

Close your eyes again, breathe slowly, and imagine your hard work without the goal ahead of you or your reason why to do this behind you. Focus, if you can, only on the process you are in.

Close your eyes, breathe slowly, and picture a bird flying without knowing where it’s going. Or a cyclist riding with no destination.

Open your eyes and enter your day.



Author: philipchircop

An artist at heart and madly in love with all things beautiful and soulful: music, painting, sculpture, photography, film, theatre, poetry, good company, good food, good wine and more. I believe that beauty is a wonderful entry into the mystery of the God “whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” God can be sensed in all things if and when we engage in a long, loving look at the real that surrounds us. I consider myself a seeker with bottomless curiosity, an eternal student of life, exploring fresh and creative ways to proclaim the Good News in the hope of helping fellow pilgrims and seekers to embrace real and radical changes that will lead to conversion and transformation.

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