I’m reading this little book, maybe you have heard of it, called Once a Runner, written by John L. Parker Jr. There is this great line in it:
“What was the secret, they wanted to know; in a thousand different ways they wanted to know The Secret. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heart-rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottoms of his training shoes. The Trial of Miles, Miles of Trials. How could they be expected to understand that?”
Maybe it is my working class Catholic ethics, maybe it is my general romanticization of martyrs, but this really speaks to me.
There are no tricks, no secrets, no magic bullets, in running, on the path to healthy living, or in life. There is only the day in day out training, practice of living the life you want to live, of simply showing up.
I learned about showing up from both my father and my step-father. My father (also once a runner) who grew up on a farm in Ireland, and who for as far back as I can remember was a janitor at a middle school, would admonish me to simply show up, and study, show up and practice an instrument, show up and cut the lawn. For him it was all about the discipline to stay on the path to creating a better (economically) life.
My step-father grew up in a Keene, NH son to a single nurse mother (after his father died while he was young). He is a cabinet maker/working class philosopher. When I was younger and worked with him on carpentry crews, or in his shop building cabinets he would always say any job is really 80% showing up.
Of course the society we created doesn’t really honor all of us when we show up. There are a lot of barriers to actually advancing on projects that extend beyond the boundaries of our skin. But everyone can still work to show up.
The barriers to showing up are multitude. Previous individual or group trauma, current individual or group trauma, etc. These barriers become ingrained in our biology, ingrained in our actual bio-chemical response to the everyday stresses of life. So what do you do? You show up.
Showing up is the only way to getting faster, stringer, healthier. Where are you today?