I have often thought of the phrase "Life is not a sprint, it's a marathon." I excused myself from that cliche, my life feels very much like a sprint. I feel pressure to get things done, meaningful things, before I die. I have been running at full speed since my second transplant, my eye firmly focused on winning this race before the clock runs out.
Today I was meditating and I began asking myself what this "winning" the sprint would look like? Is there money involved? Does it depend on fame? Prestige? Amount of books written, talks given? When I reach the finish line, how will I know I've won?
I'm sure you're smart enough to know the answer to this riddle: I won't. Because there is no winning and my life isn't a sprint. My journey isn't a straight line of asphalt and no matter how fast or slow I'm traveling, it's a winding road forever changing in texture and scenery.
Today my meditation showed me another metaphor, a better way of seeing my life. Instead of a race, I saw myself putting paint to canvas. Creating a life with different colors, brushes and techniques. Sometimes, the shapes on the canvas look beautiful and other times the colors blend together to make an unattractive hue. But it is no matter. Pretty or ugly, fluid or stilted, what matters about this canvas is that I have no idea what I will paint on it next. What matters about this painting is that it has no beginning or end. It has no deadlines so there is no reason to rush the creation. All that matters is that I continue to paint, continue to choose new and intimidating colors and always remember that this painting will never face a judgmental eye. This painting, even in progress, is already perfect.
Just in the moment I shifted this metaphor of my life, my breathing became easier. I am no longer running a sprint, hoping to win some arbitrary prize for "fulfilling my destiny." My destiny is already here and it exists with every stroke of the paint brush. There is no need for running unless it is out of joy for living.