Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.
So many adventures start with the decision to tri.
Tomorrow, if everything flows as desired, I will have completed my first triathlon.
I find myself in an odd place right now. I've trained and prepared extensively for something that will be over in (hopefully) 90 minutes. There was a goal - there is a (literal) finish line.
And there is the inevitable, "what now?".
I think we all face this in more ways than we realize. We strive for what is next, for something more or perhaps just something different. The next job or phase of parenting, the next creative inspiration or scientific discovery. We reach our goal or time passes and the expected does not occur. Either way, we are left in a space - a vast, often terrifying space of what-now-ness.
In this space, we often grab for something - anything - to act upon. (The typical mid-life crisis is a perfect example of a vast space.) Anything that provides that illusory comfort of permanence ...if we are moving, we can't die, right? There are still things to accomplish....
I do not think the exploration of "different" is harmful. I think it is our attachment to expectations of "different" and the fears of the space in between that causes suffering. Instead of being IN the journey, we are looking at nothing but the finish line...and not even allowing ourselves to rest if or when we cross it.
A triathlon is certainly different. New. I've definitely enjoyed the journey.
My practice now is being fully present for whatever is happening - the day, the anxiety, the race itself, the space that exists after it.
I remember a few hours before I walked down the aisle to marry my soon-to-be-husband, one of my best friends noticed how scattered I seemed after months of planning and preparation preparing to meet the final crucial hours. In her wisdom, she asked me to pause and remember "This is happening now".
Releasing expectations of how things "should" be, I fall into a flow of being. The running, biking, swimming, and perhaps most importantly, mental preparation I have done up until this point was my path; the anxiety and delicious strength I feel is my path now.
Whatever may be will be.
I hope that I may maintain this presence tomorrow after the race, in that vast what-now-ness, knowing that there is no reason to be sad or fearful.
Because the answer to the question, "What now"
is simply "Now".