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The tender edges of limits

"Barn burned down. Now I can see the moon."   -unknown

It's early morning and my hands are tight and puffy. Maybe a result of food choices, maybe a little inflammation. And maybe (definitely) age. I call them morning hands. They have to warm up. 

I am aging. We all are. But I am acutely aware of it because I let so many years go.

I have not come to peace with how I lived my 30's and 40's. Part of me is okay with that, because it's served as fuel for change and action. During the very last breaths of my 40's something shook me, like waking someone in a fire. GET UP!  GET UP! GET UP! GET UP! Diane WAKE UP!  GO, GO, GO--get moving!  WAKE UP! I've lived 20 years in the last five because of that. But, there is another side equal to it that is not at peace--it does not know how to make peace with what I lost, with the loss of possibility personally and professionally, and with all the depths those possibilities held physically, mentally, and spiritually. And that part that isn't fuel is a burden. It's the weight I carry, and I want to let it go. But letting it go, truly, means you have to really look at it first. You have to look into the remains of what burned down and be willing to see what was in there, and to accept that it's gone now. You cannot look up at your life and have the peaceful resolve of -- Barn burned down. Now I can see the moon -- until you first look into the ashes. 

My very first post title was the same as the name of the blog: No Limits. This idea was new to me and  important to me. It still is important to me, but like most things it has changed and shifted. Mostly, I've learned that the edges of limits are tender and dynamic, and it takes guts to go out to those edges. 

Before I started running all I knew were limits, and I believed them with my whole heart. But running showed me possibility. Running introduced me to the limits of my belief system and my own mind. Now I sit at my writing desk, because of running, and when I'm stuck or taking a break I look up at the wall covered with the most choice pages from my daily running calendars from the last few years. The 13 x 9 ft wall was quite literally covered in motivation, and I recently went through and took 75% of it down, leaving me with the pointed, concentrated pieces of what I need to be reminded of:

Actually, I Can

You Already Have What It Takes

You Must Expect Great Things From Yourself Before You Can Do Them

Running Can Change Your Life

You Really Can Do Whatever You Want

Part Of a Runner's Training Is Pushing Back The Limits Of His Mind

No Mud, No Lotus

The Obsession With Running Is Really An Obsession With The Potential For More And More Life

Life Is An Adventure. Take Risks. 

The hard part about limits for me actually has two parts:  You have no idea how far you can go, but you will have to hurt to find out.  and  You have limits, and you won't be able to know what you could have done in your 30's & 40's, and it will hurt to accept it. Learning to live with life's seemingly opposing truths is messy living, but the rewards are buried somewhere in that liminal space between the two truths, buried there in the ashes. Somewhere in that liminal space are the answers to the weight I carry. And I have a sense that if I root around in that space, that my peace is in there, too.  

I can feel the purpose I had behind starting this blog is shifting, almost like I've mastered the initial lessons from running and now I am moving to the next level, very much like base building. I had to learn all the things, and take in loads of information. I had to sift through all that information and learn what was for me and what wasn't for me. I had to take two steps forward and ten steps back and multiple variations of that, over and over and over again. And I had to gain the mental and spiritual strength to watch the barn burn down and then look into the ashes, and that's where I'm standing right now. 

I don't know what I could have done had I not gone down the road I chose. I don't know what I can still do. But I'm pretty sure that I am bigger in possibility than I believe myself to be, and I know for sure that it is brave and vulnerable to seek the mystery in the edges of those limits.