Written last night, before my 28th birthday. :)
Three days ago, I ran around 56 miles (90 km) through the coast of the Sonoran Desert, right through Seri territory. Undertaking an endeavor such as this, naturally makes one think profoundly about life and things relating to it. I went into some deep moments of meditation while moving one foot after the other (and while feeling I was physically dying), for over 8 hours in total. As if that weren’t enough to stir things up within my spirit, it’s 45 minutes before my 28th birthday. And the one thing I can’t stop thinking about is The Process.
I’m not certain if this is original thinking or not, but I have been going back and forth in my head about how each and every thing and person we run into in this life is inevitably the result of a Process. I was originally going to write about my 56 mile run with that deal being the centerpiece of whatever came out of my fingertips. I didn’t expect the longest and hardest run of my life to become a secondary part of a more important matter at hand. This post is about The Process, and casually my run is a story that fits well into that more important and essential narrative.
We humans start out our lives having no idea of who we really are. We don’t know what we’re capable of, we don’t know what we stand for and we are definitely clueless about what our role in life is. And that’s where The Process comes into play. Depending on how we go through The Process, that is how the end result in our lives will turn out to be. We are all a Process and everything we do and try to accomplish involves a Process. This is invariable. It’s the way things work in this life. At least, that’s the way I have observed things to work in my brief 28 years of existence.
Running 56 miles was a Process. It started with me running to keep fit. It evolved into me running longer and longer distances, and then it turned into me running for passion and adventure. Then I met people who were into running as an obsession, and so it became a bit of an obsession to me. Along the way, I watched movies, pictures and live examples of people who just went out and did things, no questions asked, no hesitating involved. I also read about people who did these things and it sort of became more and more natural to me as I read about it more, and as I heard about it more. The Process was slowly being unfolded. One day, out of nowhere, the thought just came very naturally to my brain: “hey, I think I’m ready to run a very long race”. The thought came seemingly out of nowhere, but in reality, it was The Process that led me to that.
Many things have been said and written about how overnight success is a huge myth. It really is, because overnight success is nothing but the culmination of a very long and grueling Process that was embraced by an individual or by the individual members of a team. The same with great monumental deeds. They didn’t just happen, they were the result of this gradual, unstoppable but voluntarily enigmatic Process.
Everything necessarily involves a Process. Building a business from the ground up, becoming an artist, creating music that never existed before, climbing a mountain, writing a book, becoming the person you truly want to be, traveling to new places, etc. These are all worthy activities that can’t and won’t exist if The Process doesn’t happen first. You can’t cheat The Process, you can’t go around it and you can’t avoid it. If you do and you truly don’t pass through it, you will lack substance, because The Process is what creates substance within human beings.
I think most people who have done something remarkable, such as climbing a tall mountain or completing a very long race, will agree with me. The Process is not really the process of making it to the summit or to the finish. It’s just not quite that. The Process is the part of the journey where we suffer, where we mentally give up, where our spirit breaks into pieces, where we get mad at life itself, where we become vulnerable as larvae, as newborns. It is by going through these unpleasant sections of the journey that we end up acquiring substance, maturity and strength as human beings.
We read about remarkable historic characters such as Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, and we say to ourselves: these are such amazing people. We wish we could be more like them. The reality is that these people became who they were because they went through many Processes in their lives. They experienced pain, loss and fear of uncertainty. They felt naked, alone and miserable at one or several points in their lives, but they did so because they a found a cause worthy of following, even if that meant going through The Process.
Don’t try to take short-cuts or go around The Process, because the results of doing this will speak for themselves. You will miss the opportunity to gain more substance as a human, to close cycles that need to be closed, and to gain life lessons that will be priceless as you continue your path through existence. These things inevitably show and other people (the ones who have gone through their Process) will notice. Whenever I have taken short-cuts, I have had to swallow bitter medicine in order to make things right again. Just another part of the bigger, wider Process, perhaps. Walk your walk, and as you go, embrace your own particular Process, remembering it will improve you the way heavy pressure improves a potential diamond (very cheesy, but true :).
Sometimes I have entertained the thought that in this life, there are two kinds of people: those who understand and those who don’t. It sounds very vague and general, which is why I’ll explain myself. I think the people who don’t understand are oblivious to many subtle facts and details of life, precisely because they have taken short-cuts or have tried, consciously or unconsciously, to avoid their Process. Sometimes the reasons behind this are voluntary, but most times they are rather circumstantial. These are the people who blame others when things go wrong in their lives, the people who are unable to listen, and the people who are incapable of creating and sharing value with people around them. This is obviously a generalization and my intention is not to judge, but merely to observe this fact and use it to emphasize the importance of going through The Process in life.
On the other hand, the people who do understand are quite the opposite. They look inside themselves for answers, they understand the value of people around them, they don’t hold grudges (mainly because it is beyond them to do so), they listen intently because they are eager and anxious to learn more and see more. They look at you in the eye and with every word that comes out of their mouth there is an unmistakable evidence of absolute honesty, purity and transparence. They truly mean no harm, they truly want to improve and become better human beings. They understand. And they don’t just understand because they were born with some sort of super-power or super-human ability. They understand because they have diligently, and many times valiantly, lived their Process.
Or at least this is what I think, in this humble way that I’m sharing right now…
All this being said, we should all learn to value and cherish The Process, for it is this Process the one that allows us to become notable human beings. The Process is good, because The Process allows us to transcend our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Running 56 miles was, for me, another phase in my own long and ongoing Process. I still have a long way to go. My family, my job, my inclinations, my passions, my closest circle of friends, and my goals are all part of my life’s unique Process. That Process has led me to become the person I am today and it will continue to lead me through unexpected paths. That’s truly exciting. Now that I’m finishing these lines and my 28th birthday is just 20 minutes around the corner, I feel gratitude for being able to understand my Process a bit better, a bit more.
We need more people in this world to understand life and its contents as part of a broader and more perfect Process that transcends each one of our minds and brains. We’re incapable of digesting information of such magnitude and elevated significance in just one bite, so we have to be humble and patient that at first we won’t understand The Process and that this will make us feel uneasy, anxious and maybe even mad or powerless. Gradually, however, if we truly have a wish in our hearts to understand each day better and better, a moment of clarity will suddenly come to us and we might be able to tie the pieces of this big, complicated puzzle together.
I’m no sage. I have an ocean’s worth of learning to experience. The thing is that seeing things from this perspective, I become excited as a kid and grateful as an old sage, all at the same time. The things I do contribute to my own unique Process, which is still unfolding very gradually and steadily.
Have you found, noticed and cherished your Process?
In the next few days, I will publish a full chronicle of our 56 mile run down the coast of the Sonoran Desert. Stay tuned… :)
Post written by @ememorato.