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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Doing What You Were Created To Do

When I was out running this past weekend, I remembered this story that my friend Ryan told me when we were training to run a marathon. I have no idea if it is true or not or even if it was based on some legend, but it still inspires me, so I thought I'd share it. I can't remember every detail as I was half delirious when I heard it, so I'm filling in the holes in my memory with what sounds good.
There was a young Lakota Sioux who loved to go out and run through the hills. Some times he would run for hours at a time. He loved to run because it was what he felt he was created to do.

As he ran mile upon mile his body would grow tired and he began to wonder how he would ever make it back home, but he kept running anyway. On one particular run he was growing tired and thirsty as the hot sun beat down on the rocky ground making the temperatures rise. Nearly ready to quit, he heard the screech of the red tailed hawk echo off the hills around him and he squinted into the sun to see it's silhouette soaring far above with it's wings spread.

He thought how nice it would be to have wings like the hawk so he could fly home and began wondering how much easier his life would be if he could posses the abilities that the great hawk had. If his eyes were strong enough to see a field mouse from hundreds of feet in the air life would be easier he thought. If I could soar on the wind instead of run step after step stumbling over rocks on the ground, life would be easier. But then, with the wisdom of the tribal elders, the young boy realized that he was not created to be a hawk and soar on the wind, or see from such a great distance. He was created to run on the ground.

His body grew more and more tired as he contemplated this and he continued his journey. After many miles, his body near exhaustion, he spotted the hawk again, circling above, and called out to the creature and asked for its help to give him strength to keep running.

His body ready to quit, he threw his head back, held his arms out and closed his eyes, drawing on the power of the mighty hawk above. For miles he ran like this, feeling the energy grow within him and his strength somehow returned. He was able to finish his journey.

He realized that while he would never fly like the hawk, he could draw on the inspiration of the hawk to do what he was created to do, running as one with his surroundings.

My friend told me this story as we were both feeling exhausted on one of our 14 or 16 mile runs. So, we decided to stretch out our arms and throw our heads back looking skyward. We never closed our eyes for fear we'd get hit by a car or trip on something, but regardless it somehow gave us strength to continue and finish our run.

To this day, and on this day I'm not nearly as fit as I was then, when I feel like stopping when I'm running, I still, for a few seconds stretch my arms out and look up for strength. And to this day I still feel stronger, realizing if I draw on the inspiration around me I'll never quit.

So, with whatever you find yourself struggling, find what you can draw inspiration out of and let it empower you to continue your journey. I'm always amazed at what you can accomplish after you think you can't continue any more.

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