By Suma Varughese
Viewing herself as a long-distance runner has helped Suma Varughese persist in all enterprises
What has always helped me, both on my spiritual journey, and in other areas of my life, is to view myself as a long-distance runner. From that perspective the many stumbles, falls and even crash landings are simply a part of the journey. They do not determine your identity, nor do they determine your destiny. You simply pick yourself up, dust the seat of your pants, put iodex on your bruises, and start off again.
The one thing I know about myself is that I won’t give up. Like all crabs (I am a Cancerian), I am tenacious. Whether it has been mastering my food addiction, or resolving a relationship, or attaining enlightenment, or even handling my work, I have always hung in there, determined to succeed despite having faltered innumerable times.
Indeed over time, this quality has led me to increasingly view myself as a success rather than the failure I once thought I was. Through the powers of persistence, I have slowly (very slowly), reshaped many of the disempowering belief systems I once had of myself.
One of the first big challenges that came my way after getting on the path was the editorship of Life Positive, which my publisher offered me 10 years ago. I was then still struggling to increase my powers of focus, concentration, discipline and organisation, which were poor. This had not come in the way of my being an effective writer, but an editor’s job requires a great deal of liasing between writers, artists, and the marketing team. Moreover, since I lived in Mumbai and was unwilling to shift to Delhi, the editorial office there would have to be dismantled. Jobs would be lost. And what after all, if I failed in the enterprise, given my indeterminate mental capabilities? Restlessly, I cast around looking for a perspective that would give me the strength to arrive authentically at a decision. I did not want fear to push me into rejecting the offer.
Eventually, it hit me. I was a long-distance runner. I only had to do what I had done in my spiritual journey so far, just pick myself up if I stumbled, and keep going
Heartened, I immediately told my publisher that I would take the job. It has been 10 years since, and the journey continues. There have been umpteen times I have been tempted to throw in the towel, but thus far, I have kept going.
This same perspective has helped me mightily in handling my food addiction. Soon after my enlightenment experience, the Universe put me on the job of de-condiitioning by making me aware of the entire contents of my subconscious mind. To my horror, wherever I went and whatever I did, tantalising images of food were always on my mind. The more I resisted, the more I was gripped in its coils. No matter how much I told myself I did not want to eat this or that, I would watch helplessly as my hand reached out and bore the forbidden morsel to my mouth.
It has taken me years upon years to free myself of this addiction. Although the freedom is not absolute, I am experiencing a newborn determination to prioritise health, happiness and a trouble-free old age, no matter what.
So yes, being a long-distance runner is a useful perspective. I would recommend it.
About the author : Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, seeker, latent crusader and Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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