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Spartan Sparks

The things that excite you are not random.

They are connected to your purpose.

Follow them.

Yesterday I watched the first episode of The Spartan Games. Twenty four elite athletes from a range of sports came together for four days to compete against one another in, well, everything. Seriously, everything--from an obstacle course, to a looong swim, to wrestling, tug-of-war, Scottish Highland-esque games, an ultra run, mountain biking...and I. Was. Riveted. The first time I watched it, I was riveted. I had butterflies. I stopped eating. I don't know the name for what I was experiencing, but it was race day and Christmas day and Saturday morning and being complimented and loving your outfit and morning coffee and puppies and ALL THE THINGS that make you sick with nerves or give you goose bumps or make you act like a kid--all at the same time. I didn't know what to do with myself. I didn't understand what it meant. So I watched it again. This time I saw all their different body types, all their different strengths, the strain on their faces, which muscles rippled...I could see who was scared, who was doubting themselves, and who is singularly driven by competition--like by some kind of ancient competitive spirit god. There were two athletes that I couldn't read at all, and I bet nobody could--all of their thoughts and strategies contained. I laid in bed thinking about this--why did this grab me like this? So, I got up and watched it again.

And here's the deal: I can't name it, and I don't know why I'm reacting this way. I have some inklings, like:

I want to be as strong as I can be. Not just strong. Not strong enough. AS strong as I can be. That's a long way from where I am right now, but I've also traveled a good distance down that road in the last few years; far enough down the road, now, that I can no longer see my starting point. And that's exciting. And it's even more exciting that there is so much more ahead, and I think I could be kind of good at it, which is icing on the cake.

I want a strong mindset. (I want a killer mindset, if I'm being honest. Martha Stewart said "I can almost bend steel with my mind." Geez. I want that.) I'm fascinated by the mindset of an elite athlete. I have that mindset inside of me, but it's not what does my performance look like when it is? What does my life look like when it is?

I want a strong life. There are so many different kinds of athletes, all with different strengths and weaknesses. There are different kinds of sports and things to challenge our bodies, not even to love or be good at, but just to try because it's new and you're alive and you can. Then there's commitment, dedication, joy, fight, those gods of the competitive spirit--am I even talking about athletics anymore? I don't know! Athletics and Writing and Life; one just rolls into the other. It doesn't matter, actually. Because, as the quote says,




So I'll keep following running and this athletic journey, because it's as exciting AF to me. It certainly keeps revealing me to myself, and I do feel more connected everyday to the idea of a deeper purpose. As Dante said, "A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark." Let the sparks fly.