A step a second, not a mile a minute...
I don’t think I’m the only one who can get ahead of myself. The only one who wants to get somewhere just a little faster than I did last time. The only one who starts with the end in mind fixated on the final destination.
I’ve taken to running over the course of the last three months and I’ve noticed something. If I think too much about the end, my body tends to tighten and tire. If I think about making it to the next mailbox and then the next, I celebrate the small finishes which ultimately lead to the final finish. Call it a psychological tactic, but it works for me. I whisper to myself as I’m running, “Jason, a step a second, not a mile a minute.” I will tell my body that all it has to do is concentrate on the next lunge forward, that’s it. I don’t have to obsess over whether I’ll be able to get to the park and back, or to the end of the road and back…I just need to take one more step in the right direction.
In life, I’ve noticed that “slow and steady wins the race” as it’s described in The Tortoise and the Hair. Another way of saying it is that life is often incremental, not exponential. We all want to believe that we can take quantum leaps to get from here to there, but the truth is that most of life is the “slow grow” process. If it’s healthy, that is.
So back to the power of “the step”. I can’t tell you how throwing a party for each step strengthens the soul. Celebrating small wins in my life and the lives of those around me gets me to the “mile-marker” in due time. Not in a minute, but in time, and probably, in God’s time. He is a “lamp unto my feet”, not a headlight or spotlight shining way out in front of me showing me the next mile of the journey. Nope, just enough light for the next step. Daily bread, not a monthly meal plan. Just enough food for the day, the next meal. Just enough energy for a step, just enough bread for a day, just enough light to lean into the unknown. And with every “little by little” you begin to make much more of life than you would think. It’s not the speed of light, but truthfully, it’s the speed of life. And that makes it sustainable, bearable, and even enjoyable.
Day after day, I run. I don’t think about the miles, I think about the steps, and the miles take care of themselves.