Watching the NYC Marathon runners down First Avenue was simply inspiring. Seeing each person with their own reasons for running push through to continue their relentless course communicates discipline and tenacity. For a few hours this windy, Autumn day I screamed on the sidelines to strangers. I was able to see someone I knew, which was amazing.
The marathon is meaningful to those who run their race. They set a goal and mostly achieved it. And, if they fell short, they can be proud of making the effort to complete it. The marathon is very real, but it’s also a metaphor for life. In my work as a psychotherapist, I witness my clients face challenges in their lives. They work hard to overcome the limitations in their lives, like those who choose to do a marathon. And, mostly, they succeed. Then they face another obstacle and move through the pain and constraints to get to the other side of that challenge. And, so on and so forth.
Most personal processes are private. The individuals who go the extra mile to accomplish their goals have no one on the side-lines cheering them on. The courage they experience is known to only them. It is a solitary path. Depending on the achievements there may be bragging rights. But perhaps not. My good fortune is being able to witness my clients’ triumphs. I may not be yelling, “You Can Do It!” behind the barricades, but I am inspired all the same. I feel so fortunate to respectfully observe the marathons that change lives, both on and off First Avenue.