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Do Epic Shit.

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Heroic, majestic, great, spectacular, very impressive, awesome, of unusually great size… epic.

I am all for doing epic shit, but I wonder if we have lost our way in our pursuit of the next big thing?

I am a risk-taker, I love a challenge and I adore doing what seems to be impossible. I have done things that fit into each of those categories: jumping out of planes, completing Ironman races and being clean and sober for 23 years.

I have had nudes taken at 50 years of age (do this), performed a lap dance for a man 11 years younger than me at 51 years of age (do not do this). I have climbed mountains, whitewater-rafted, hot-air-ballooned, presented case studies to 500 American SWAT Officers and Hostage Negotiators and won a gold medal in cycling.

I think it is safe to say that I have stepped outside my comfort zone on occasion. I have pushed myself past physical and mental limitations, and despite some of the bad choices I have made, I do not regret any of those experiences… but I no longer have the desire to one-up them.

I have chased, battled and slayed my demons.

I know I am walking a fine line here because more, bigger, better and badder is so in vogue and sexy right now. Epic is a big money-maker — epic sells!

No sooner do we get a 50-inch television than we must have the 100-inch. We have a modest house but we must have a 5000-square-foot one, because someone else does. We are in a constant state of competition; hyper-vigilant for what is next to do — buy, score, achieve — but to what end?

Do we do this to feel superior, to fill a void, to be more celebrity-like?

Are we turning ourselves into ADHD adults — flitting from one shiny thing to the next — never really satisfied with where we are? What is going on for us inside if we are in a constant competition to beat our friend, neighbor or fellow racer?

Granted there are those that merely do want to challenge themselves, but let us be real here — there are those who get their sense of self by making you less than, even if only in their eyes; superiority is heady and gives many a hard-on.

In case you have not noticed, there is a movement out there — If you aren’t out there doing epic shit, then you aren’t living. You are a nobody, a nothing, a has-been, an already-ran, and you quickly get trampled, ignored and pitied.

When your conversations are consumed by your current epic pursuit, and your friends are only chosen by those who support that pursuit, I think the point may be missed because eventually that pursuit — that striving — will stop.

What happens when we stop challenging ourselves? Is the end of challenging yourself with epic pursuit’s death, or is the constant pursuit its own type of death?

What is all the stuff that we are running from? Is it an unhappy marriage, a job you hate, a loneliness that you fill externally? What are we so fucking scared of that we do not sit still? Has the pursuit of epic shit become an addiction, constantly seeking that new thrill high only to find yourself seeking more like a heroin addict?

We all logically know that first high, that first race finish, that first adrenaline rush, can never be recaptured, yet like the junkie we keep seeking it. Are we so dissatisfied with life that we risk all to find a thing we seek?

Maybe U2 says it best when they sing they still haven’t found what they are looking for.

Have you found what you are looking for? Is it close? Can you smell  or taste it? Is it just out of your reach? Will you know it when you see it, or have you become so consumed with pursuit that you missed it?

I admit, my idea of epic has shifted recently. I find that the deeper I go internally, the more attuned I am to what is important externally.

The deafening silence of the forest is epic.

Looking into the eyes of your pet and seeing unconditional love (the only seeable being who is truly capable of evoking this) is epic.

Watching the sun set over the water is epic.

Reaching for and finding a hand to hold on to when you are scared is epic.

Being present for the illness and death of a loved one is epic.

Lying on your back and staring at the stars is epic.

The view from the top is epic.

Rescuing an abused animal is epic!

When there is silence, when there is no more competition; when there is complete self-acceptance, when right here, right now is perfect — that is epic shit.

When there are no more bikes to buy that shave two seconds off your total race time, and no more over-the-top, harder-than-Navy-Seals-training plans to do. When there is no more must work harder to get more, you are left with one thing:

Peace… and peace is fucking epic!

Maybe it is it my age, maybe it is my hard-fought-for wisdom, or maybe it is that I have nothing to prove to anyone anymore, but the risk does not have the same hypnotic pull it once had.

I would never change any experience, any challenge, any love, any pain, or anything that I have done to get here today. I am grateful for it all, but today I am more interested in breadth and depth. I am interested in knowing what makes a person tick, where they have been and what they think.

I am interested in what they hate and why.

I am more interested in traveling to faraway places and having conversations with complete strangers. I am more interested in challenging my thoughts, beliefs and in knowing yours. I am more interested in finding harmony and balance in a body that I punished for far too long.

I am more interested in your fears and hopes, in what makes you weep. I am more interested in getting to know more souls.

I am more interested being rather than doing.

I am not saying I won’t do epic shit again; I know I will, but the reason for the epic pursuit will be different… for I have found what I am looking for.

 

*****

RhondaCochrane02Rhonda Cochrane is a Yoga instructor, personal trainer, life coach, Ironman competitor, athletic coach, lover of all things spicy, and an aspiring author. She has a passion for helping others realize their strength and potential through all forms of physical movement.

 

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