One of my favorite spiritual rituals is my Sunday morning run up No Thoroughfare canyon. I don’t go every Sunday, but when I do I make it a time for meditation and connection with the energy forces of the Universe- or however you see it.
Today the trail was hard-packed snow for the majority, but the rest was ice. Lots and lots of ice. The First Pool was just a trickle the last time I was up there, but today it was a 5′ flow of ice. The First Waterfall was immensely beautiful- 100 ft high and layers upon layers of frozen goodness. It was a castle of ice.
I was lucky enough to catch a pair of elementary school teachers ice climbing on the falls. The pictures with them in it gives the scene perspective. They asked if I had ever been up there before. I said, many times, and several times beyond. The climb that takes you up and over the falls leads to my personal paradise, and to the Second Waterfall as it cascades down a slippery granite face.
Slippery was the name of the game today and I was wishing I had put the spikes in my running shoes. I slipped more than once, and one time took a miss-step that broke my right foot through an ice flow and twisted my ankle. I didn’t feel a thing it was so cold the last mile. Cold and starkly beautiful. I don’t think I will ever get over the contrast of the white snow on the red dirt.
When I approached the ice climbers they kind of looked at me with query in their faces. “Did you run up here? Because you don’t look dressed for much else!” I was in a single layer top and bottom, with my Nike track shoes. I guess I didn’t look the ice-trekking type.
I could have been more than a little self-conscious at this point, and usually I would be. But I’ve been attempting to live the mantra “I don’t negotiate with insecurities”. After all, I used to live in fear. I kid you not. Constant, penetrating fear.
And fear of what? Acceptance. I can’t describe it any other way. What do people think of me? What will they think of me? What am I doing wrong? I was terrified of other people’s judgement of me and incurably brutal to myself when their judgements found me wanting in any way.
Right or wrong I let this need for acceptance control me. Then one day I went swimming. It was the day after I decided I was going to do a triathlon. I went to the Orem Community Pool at 6 am. I had not been swimming in more than 10 years. I was overweight. I was incomprably self-conscious. But I was determined.
I walked out of that dressing room and decided that I wasn’t going to care what other people thought of me. After all, at that time of day it was mostly old women. Most of whom had the same physique as I. So why should I be self-conscious? I was with my own kind.
Then I got in the pool to swim. 50 meters. I couldn’t make it. I got maybe 20 meters when I realized I was going to die right then and there and THEN what would people think of me? I guess I shared that with the old women, too: familiarity with death. But again my determination won out and I kept swimming. I kept trying. I didn’t care what anyone thought, I just kicked and flung my arms and somehow survived to the other end of the pool. It took immense debate and no less than 5 minutes, but I turned around and went back.
Nowadays, I’m a little bit better at the insecurity thing. But not by much. Today while running I was reminding myself how happy and relaxed I can be when I don’t care what other peeps think about me. Sure I don’t get invited to parties. Yup, I was, as one man put it, “The center of controversy on the -______________ Facebook page.” But what does that matter? I know who I am. And I like me.
Then I realized this whole blog thing- tracking this experience- it’s really not for anyone else reading it- heaven knows my insecurities are more than apparent if you ARE reading this- but it’s more for my own growth and development. It’s for my own history. It’s a scrapbook.
So. There it is. I ran to an ice castle and I live in a palace made of glass.