Paris, France

August 4, 2019

Paris, Cobblestones, and a Realization.

Ask any tourist who's traipsed around Paris for a weekend, and they'll tell you that their feet hurt. Sure, it's because they've walked 20 km in a day and they never do that in their regular lives.

But it's also because every one of the steps they took slammed into stone, hard and unforgiving.

Trail runners often talk about the move from the soft earth of trails back to asphalt - or worse, concrete - and how much more it hurts their knees, ankles, joints. Stone is in another league entirely.

Even with the time I've spent here, I'm not immune to the effect, and after a long day out, I'll find myself reaching for the ibuprofen.

But this past week, while wincing against the uneven stones that ring the Seine, I realized something important:

The ground never moves.

All that impact and pain - that was on me.

All those aches and injuries and blisters? Those were my fault for refusing to change my cadence, pressure, and impact. The ground never moved. I'm the one that kept hitting it too hard.

As soon as I realized, I shifted my cadence, slowed down, stopped power-walking like I was late for an important meeting that I definitely don't have and - voila - the pain stopped.

It's made think about the other "immovable" things in my life. People and institutions that I keep slamming myself into, then complain about how much they are the problem. How hard they are to deal with.

And it's made me look directly in the mirror, laughing, sighing, and shaking my head. Maybe I should stop slamming myself into those things.

I wonder - have you ever had a moment like this, where you realized that you - not the giant immovable thing - were the problem? What did you learn?

Have a softer week,

-Steven

p.s. The best things I saw this week was an early video recording of those same stone streets in Paris - from 1896. :)

p.p.s Last week, I forgot to include a link to the see the reader roundtable replies on the website, instead of reading a the longest email in history. :) If you'd rather read that monster on the web you can find it here.

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