Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Clean Slate

After finishing a masterpiece, even Van Gogh, eventually, had to sit down in front of a new canvas, and start the next painting, the next masterpiece, hoping this would be the one that would make him immortal.

A clean slate can feel liberating. Or it can freeze you up solid.

There's good. There's great. And there's perfection. Humans seeking their best selves strive for perfection.

When you've been thisclose to perfect, it would be easy to walk away. How intimidating it must be to have to follow up something brilliant, but not perfect. To have no choice but to try again.

And if you do have the courage to try again, the familiar path, the one that got you so close, must seem so appealing, even natural, with the idea that a tweak here or there will push you to the next level this time.

Another painting of haystacks... more of them this time. Or maybe fewer. Taking the path so well traveled, yet littered with not-quite-perfect, is so easy. Falling back to familiar habits is insanely hard to resist.


Striking out in a new direction is terrifying, and can seem, frankly, stupid.

"Let's try swirling starlight this time instead of haystacks.", said Vinnie.

"Are you nuts?" his brother screamed. "Why risk something so different? How do you know this will even work? How can you ignore the haystacks that have brought you so much success when you've come so close?"

What his brother should have said was, "Yes! Yes!! Screw the haystacks!! You can't keep repeating what isn't getting you to your absolute best?"

We need to trust ourselves, our talent, our intuition, to guide us to our best self?

The clean slate isn't really clean if you project a pattern from the past onto it before you even start.

Wipe that mutha clean!

I have a couple clean slates in my life right now. One of them is my running.

After months of trying to train, retrain, rebuild, reconnect with the best version of myself by repeating the training patterns that I'd used before, I've wiped that slate clean. Now, I'm running when I can, as far as I have time and strength for, and at whatever pace my body is telling me it is ready for.

Monday it was just 2 miles, but a hard, vigorous, rousing, and quick 2 miles. Saturday before, a lazy 3.

No plan. No expectations. Just whatever works. That day. And I am feeling great. It's been a long time since I've felt great about my running. But that's what a clean slate can do for you.

The other slate that's been wiped (recently, sorrowfully, painfully) clean is my personal life. A lot more tricky, that one. Not sure what to do, what heading to take. I've frozen.

I imagine I will be staring that this empty canvas for quite some time. But, I can tell you one thing, my dear, faithful readers… I'm not stopping short of anything less than my Starry Night.

Good running,
Doug

Respectfully in homage to DA, to whom I owe so much. You will always be so, so special to me, and you will very soon be one lucky person's Starry Night. You deserve nothing less.