Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mountain Top Moments

By Susie Crossland-Dwyer

This time last year I noticed something strange. I was enjoying my version of "high holy days" at the World Spinning & Sports Conference in Miami, FL, riding along to tribal drums during African Storm (taught by one of my mentors, South African genius, Elsa Storm), when, all of a sudden, it hit me. In front of my bike on the big screen was a large spanning view of a mountain.
I've since discovered that my mountain image was Mount Kilimanjaro. No surprise = it's now on my list to climb.

Spinning conference bliss
When I say, "it hit me," I mean I had a visceral reaction to the image. My breath paused, my skin broke out in a sheet of goosebumps and something inside me said, "Uh-HUH!!" I was mystified how a single image could cause this type of reaction but as my feet continued to pedal, my mind stopped and bookmarked this moment. I had no idea what it meant but I had a feeling I would know some day.

The power of intuition is one that I am slow to understand but fast to trust. It has never let me down. I have followed it and it has proved a trustworthy source. I have disregarded it and it has proved a trustworthy source. I have had years where the feeling of flow has enveloped me, and years where it has totally eluded me. Not coincidentally, these years have also aligned with doing meaningful work and abandoning it for ego-filled reasons. This moment on the bike was most certainly a moment of intuition.

As another one of my idols, Charles Eisenstein puts it, "You don't know how to get from here to there but ... [some]thing larger than yourself does and it arranges ... synchronicities. We can enter that state when we let go ... of control and bow into service to this thing larger than ourselves. And what is this thing? The more beautiful world our heart knows is possible."

The time to re-open my mental bookmark came sooner than I expected. One of my observations about intuition is that its timing is not our typical human, let's-hurry-up-and-go time frame. It has a lifetime in view. In my short three-plus decades, it has used small as well as large sections of time to reveal itself.

This time around, however, a mere six months later I had my ah-ha, there it is moment when I registered for the Leadville Marathon. I had been researching races and listening (more on that process in this blog). Leadville had been on my list the second I became an ultra-marathoner. But, in a moment of realism, I concluded that I didn't have the desire to complete the most famous of Leadville races, the Leadville Trail 100 (100 miles of running through the Colorado Rockies), though I knew I could get close enough to the experience to be satisfied.
I was scrolling through race reviews when I landed on a blog recounting a personal journey through the Leadville Marathon. The second I opened the blog and saw pictures of this 13,186 ft. mountain pass called Mosquito, the tears started pouring down my face. Within minutes, I had connected the dots between visceral reaction #1 to Mount Kilimanjaro and visceral reaction #2 to Mosquito Pass and had registered. My third confirmation came as moments later I grabbed one of my favorite running books for training plan inspiration and it FELL open to a quote by the founder of the race.
So, even though I have yet to know what my Leadville adventure will awaken in me or teach me, I do know that I supposed to be climbing my very first mountain this June. Whatever is waiting there, seen or unseen, I also have a strong belief that it won't just be for me but also for something I'm to offer the world.

At the end of one of his very powerful talks, Eisenstein asks the question of whether we are ready to "bow deeper" into flow, into "being in service to something larger than ourselves," something that will feel like it's "just at the edge of [our] courage but not past it." I am and hope you are too.

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