by Matt Gray
It's hard to imagine that nearly two months have passed since the BLU 50M. My life was organized around that race for the better part of five months. Much has evolved and transpired since March 16th, but so many of the lessons I learned that day have remained with me, and I've deepened on many of them through reading, discussions, life events, reflections, and of course running.
The lesson that maintains the strongest current in my running, that of community, resonated sharply and tragically in Daniel's post last weekend. While his tribute to Lucas was about honoring and remembering a young man who left this earth far too soon, it was also about community. I was at lunch with my family in Idyllwild when the news about Lucas came down from the rocks. From that moment throughout the rest of the weekend, I saw the community in Idyllwild come together and share in their grief. It is that community that will enable Lucas' family and friends to negotiate this tragedy and adversity.
There is also a larger community of rock climbers, mountaineers, and outdoor enthusiasts who feel the sharp pains when an event like this happens. There's a knowing, understanding look shared between this community, an accepting of the bewildered truth that the mountains both give and take away. That community also strengthens the individual's resolve to head back out into the hills, to experience the next summit, to round the next bend in the trail.
I'm currently reading "Running with the Mind of Meditation," by Sakyong Mipham. This Tibetan Lama Marathoner also reflects on this sense of community as he unpacks the Shambala Warrior practice of the Dragon. When we reach the Dragon phase of our training, we strive towards egolessness . . . our writing, our rock climbing, our running become about more than just ourselves and our own satisfactions. The Dragon is a protector, a caretaker, a compassionate being, doing things not for its own gain, but in order to take care of its community.
It would be dishonest to say that every mile I run is for the care of my community. But as we continue this website to raise awareness and funds for Lymphedema, as we give kudos to those who helped us along the way back on March 16th, and as we remember an adventurous, kind-hearted young man, our running absolutely manifests into an act far different from a simple jog around the neighborhood lake.
The contemplation of the Dragon focuses on compassion and selflessness. My next race is the Golden Gate Diry 30 on June 1st, and I can ensure you that I will be meditating on the thankfulness I have for our community of readers, family, friends, donors, mountaineers, and runners. As I take off down the trail at dawn, I will be giving thanks for the preciousness of life and the gift brought to us by each day. This run is about Juniper, Lucas, and all of you.