Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Motivational Images

Earlier today I wrote my entry that was supposed to be for yesterday, and I discussed my experience of community in Baltimore at a dinner for donors to WEAA--a local public radio station.

I noted that when I think about Baltimore, I think about contrasts.  Elaborating on what I said earlier, I think about something new around every corner.  I think about a city of the unexpected.  Wonderful music.  Wonderful artists.  An incredible running community.  Interesting African drumming.  Dancers.  Great churches.  Spoken word artists.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  So many things that once a person has lived here as long as I have you can know all about but that may take a visitor or newbie by surprise.

I think about the image I have of Baltimore.  The image I have in my head which is mostly described above and in my earlier entry.  And the image I have as part of the tattoo on my leg.  The image that reminds me of where my spirituality matured.

I think of all the symbolism and I think of me.  I think of how much symbols have meant to me--in my day-to-day life to guide my own spirituality and my story of myself (I wonder what a psychologist would say about the use of images to guide my self-image?) and in my marathon training.

The first marathon I ran, the imagery was all about Rocky--the music, the story of someone making it through many trials.  Now, I find the images of Baltimore more useful than the images of rocky.  A city that if you only visit it as a tourist you may think of as a flat city with mostly a "touristy" existence.  However, once you get to know the city it has many hills and many nuances that make it a very interesting place to live and to raise a family.  I mentioned all the unexpected things that one can find if one "turns over some rocks" or "looks around corners" in Baltimore.

My self-image and the link to motivation is as a city of the unexpected.  Crazy turns.  Changes.  Contrasts.  I think of my life as a stream of turns, changes, and contrasts.  And I see how the city is trying to come back and how it sports teams have shown an amazing ability to come back.  And I think of the saint I have on my tattoo against the Baltimore skyline and how he came back and kept going.  And I think of the many professional and running opportunities I have ahead of me that offer opportunities to persevere, or come back, or change or take a turn and always seek and find something new that can open incredible doors on a wonderful future.

Thus, this year, when I run at least one marathon, I think I may occasionally hear a Rocky song running through my head, but I also think I may have finally outgrown that set of motivational images and moved on to images of Baltimore as my guiding light to moving forward on the marathon course and in my life.  

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