I’ve set myself a challenge myself to get out running /walking every other day and luckily there’s lots of great places to go here in Yorkshire.
Just a few miles from our front door is Almscliffe Crag, which is where I’ve been this morning. It’s a gorgeous outcrop of rocks at the top of a small hill just a few miles from where I live. 
It’s been a beautiful sunny day and I’ve ended up feeling very grateful – happy to be alive and have legs which work and lungs which breathe and lots of reasons to 😃 smile.

Hard Work

I never relish going for a run, I must be honest. I’m hoping this changes over time as I commit to giving it a good go, inspired by a number of my friends who recently have run marathons or half marathons from a very modest start point.
As I was approaching the Crag this morning the usual resistant thoughts crossed my mind…
I could just stay down on the flat roads today
Got loads to do back at my desk
…the rocks looked just that little bit too far away on the approach and my legs were aching. Easier to turn around.
Too much hard work, too little reward, my lazy voice told me. 
But instead I pushed on and up and up I went. 
Outcrop of rocks on the top of a small hill


It was amazing to reach the top. Of course, the views were stunning and I was able to stand and take some deep breaths and gain some extra perspective, enjoy momentary solitude and peace out in nature. The change of scene helped me clear my mind and get focussed on some things which have been bothering me lately. Some time to slow down and to see different pathways and routes which weren’t visible from my usual place down on the ground. It reminded me that things are rarely as bad or serious as I’m making them out to be – and there’s a big and beautiful world out there to explore.

It reminded me in the most visual way how important it is to keep perspective. To celebrate simply being alive. Breathe and smile, keep on climbing.

Blown Away

Hilariously the wind was blowing furiously up there, despite having been completely still and gentle down on the flatland! This made me laugh joyously out loud. From the bottom it looked as if reaching the top of the rocks would be blissful & calm. Once I got there, I nearly got blown away! This was not what I expected, and this surprised me. I felt so invigorated and glad I powered my way up.
Often, when we push ourselves and scale the rocks, we will find a surprising new challenge to overcome. It’s easy to look up and imagine ‘oh life will be easier and so beautiful once I’m up there’ but the reality is often different. You won’t know that until you get there though, so the fun is in making your mind up to go and find out. Put the effort in and Do the Work and see what happens. Yes, you may well  get blown away by a unexpected new problem but perhaps getting blown away will be the most fabulous gift to receive.  A welcome challenge, one which teaches and invigorates you and makes you laugh. 

The fact is that no matter what the next level is that we reach, there will always be new challenges to deal with. There will always be life events to throw us off course. You can choose to let them push you down or you can choose to enjoy them and look for the lesson and opportunity. 

Sometimes when we look at people we admire – a sly thought creeps in – “yeah, well – it’s alright for them, they’ve got x y z to help them do that – it’s not something I could do because [insert excuse]”

Those people you’re watching and comparing yourself to and saying “I could never do that” are overcoming their own challenges right now. They may not be talking about them openly but believe me, it’s going on behind the scenes. And the difference with moving upwards is that you learn to welcome the challenges or at the very least accept them and deal with them, building your resilience and new perspectives as you go. 

Your challenge – which path to choose?

It’s up to you! You get to choose whether to push onwards in pursuit of high reward, or to retreat backwards on the flat, less windy path. It’s not right or wrong whichever way you choose, and each day is different. But make the choice consciously. Consider the following as you make your choice today:
  •  I won’t be put off by thinking that the peak is too high and it’s not worth the effort.
  • Equally, I won’t fall into the trap of thinking “when I achieve x y z then everything will be perfect.” Because it likely won’t *and that’s ok*.
  • I’ll choose the path which excites me, even though there’s more than a touch of dread or fear in there too.
  • I’ll gently push myself to try new things and say “yes” to stuff  I wouldn’t normally do
  • I accept that the path I choose mightn’t work out perfectly. I’ll look for reasons to celebrate nonetheless and I’ll enjoy having stories to tell about my journey
  • I’m ready to embrace challenge and adversity when it comes –  an opportunity to grow and learn from the inevitable ups and downs. C’est le vie.
Whichever path you choose, remember to enjoy the moment.  Choose paths which give you opportunity for fun, opening up to new perspectives and seeing & experiencing new things.  
You might even get blown away. Yay!
R x
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