As I sat down for a coffee after the ultra marathon I ran over the weekend, I was filled with an odd joy. The kind of joy that comes not despite the soreness and tiredness, but because of it.
Embrace the soreness! Welcome it, for it is proof that you are alive, that you have pushed yourself, that you have dared to go beyond your limits. There is no rush to go back into the fray, into new projects or challenges. Allow yourself some time.
You've exerted yourself, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. You've traveled through the storm and emerged on the other side - a bit battered, perhaps, but also a bit wiser.
Now comes the time for integration. It may sound like a heavy word, but it's a crucial step in the process of growth, a step you can't afford to skip.
For years, I jumped from one endeavor to another, never allowing myself enough downtime to process what I had just been through. I'd go straight back to work, back to training, back to the hustle and bustle of "normal life", already planning my next move.
Looking back, I see how draining this was. It was a cycle powered by insecurity, by a fear of stillness.
But I've come to realize that gentleness and compassion for oneself can be the catalysts for true strength. Slowing down doesn't mean falling behind; in fact, sometimes it's the best way to make real progress. Rest is not the enemy of fitness, but a vital ally.
And so, here I am, at the trough of the wave, reveling in the stillness, the calm before the next surge.
What a fantastic opportunity it is to savor this moment of pause!