Some believe in signs from the universe and others believe in coincidences… I think it is more fun to believe that the universe sends signs to us… and I often get the feeling that something or someone is sending me messages. A few weeks ago I kept hearing references to Stoicism. You must admit that Stoicism is a pretty random topic for anyone to hear about but even more so from three different sources in the span of a week. So it grabbed attention enough so that I had to go and look it up to see what Stoicism really meant….
If you are like me when you hear the word “Stoicism” or “Stoic” you think about someone who displays little or no emotion when it comes to enduring pain or hardship.
And in some respects you’d be correct but that isn’t the only definition. In a nutshell the other definition of Stoicism describes “a philosophy based on a belief that we can’t control the things around us in life, we can only control our reaction to them.
I don’t know much about how the universe works…it’s just too deep a topic for me at this point in my life but from what I have learned is some people believe the universe speaks to us. It could be in the form of a quote, a conversation, something that you witness….
In my case a specific topic like Stoicism that through coincidence or not, keeps hitting me in the face for a few days. So what can you make from these signs? I choose to take them as the universe is sending me a message to embrace and in a way asking me to consider embracing the Stoic philosophy: Listen..you can’t control the things around you in life, so control your reaction to them. I think that philosophy has merit and I’ll take that as a message received.
Triathlon – Signs and messages from nature
Triathletes spend a lot of time in the outdoors. Tuning in enables me to be more aligned and at harmony with my natural surroundings. I feel it also positions me to be more receptive to messages. The trick is to focus out beyond yourself, extending your connection to what surrounds you.
Mark Allen a Champion Pro Triathlete spoke to his connection to Kona in the book Iron War.
Mark: As much as I loved Hawaii, and I did, the Big Island was just intimidating to me. The wind, the heat, all of that stark black lava… When I went to Nice, everything there just seemed so easy for me, and Hawai’i was so completely opposite. But I had no way to confront it, no mechanism for turning it around. So when I got to Kona, I went to a quiet spot down by the water on the run course, and I had a little conversation with the island. I said, “Hey, just let me be at peace and feel that same ease and grace that I feel everywhere else, but have never felt here before, and let me have a great race.”
Mark was keenly aware of the power of the island. He tapped into it as an energy resource that he later drew on when his resources were low. I don’t want this blog to become a “Deep Thoughts” From Jack Handey episode … but more to state that we have the power to see and react to whatever we want to.
If you can believe the universe or nature is saying something to you, bend its message to fit your desire. Our minds have a way of turning pain and suffering into comfort during the long hours on the swim, bike and run course.
Yesterday I participated in my 1st triathlon this year… The Cranberry Trifest in Lakeville Massachusetts.
I am always freaked out, stressed and cranky before a race and expend a lot of energy trying to calm down. My coach told me once to think of it as the body’s internal mechanism readying the body for the explosion of effort. Kind of like racing the engines ……
The swim was one of those crazy zig-zag pattern races that tries to fit the overall distance within a smaller Pond/Lake courses. The race director cautioned us to beware of the “shallow” regions near the pinch points which meant that if you swam wide right you may end up running on a sandbar. The deepest route was close to the buoys but as one might expect everyone wanted that route making it very crowded.
My plan was to stay the center, try to calm down and get relaxed… I knew I was risking the shallows a bit to avoid getting wacked in the head by slower age groupers in the wave before mine… Typically this is when I need to tune out the gitters and tune on “the flow”
Then I saw it……….What the hell is that??? Is that a turtle? Wow ….now that’s cool….Then I start to wonder what else might be floating out here (snakes, piranha)…then it does a quick maneuver downward and heads quickly toward the bottom of the pond.
I’m now totally aware of everything around me… I don’t freak out but I do spend a few minutes thinking why mother nature sent me a turtle.
I reasoned that … I had a choices to make about this race…I can either pull my head back into the shell and hide in fear …..or dig hard and go deep…
Today you will not be fast…but like the rabbit and the tortoise …The tortoise will finish…and based on your spotty training regime this year that should be considered a win.
Recognizing and receiving information through signs depends on ones willingness to seek and bear witness. The universe is always here to help us, so let it help, and pay attention to what it is telling you.
I did finish the swim in fine shape, breezed through the bike and suffered on the run.. but I am grateful to my friend “Shelly” the turtle for delivering a message to dig harder and go deep within… I couldn’t control crossing paths with a turtle mid race, but I did control my reaction to her and used it to draw on throughout the race.