Sunday, June 17, 2018

My run...

       You've gotta find the beauty in every run. You might start out with one goal and the world throws a curve ball...but if you pay attention this curve ball might be a gift. I am beginning to think that all of life's curve balls are gifts.  

      A huge part of my spiritual practice has been practicing allow. Allowing things to unfold as they will, allowing people who don't act the way I think they should to act to act as they please. Allowing people to show me their love their way and not pout or manipulate to force them to show me love my way. I practice it so much so that now I find myself simply fading in the background in most social situations. I have found that most socializing is 80% trying to get others to listen to our ideas, to get others to follow your way, convincing, cajoling.....and since I don't prescribe in those tactics, by default, I get to be on the listening end of most social interactions.

      In the book Shabhalah, The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chöngyam Trungpa Rinpoche, he teaches about basic goodness and how everyone should rest in the fact that they have basic goodness in them and therefore there is no need to run around with so much song and dance trying to get everyone to love us, or approve of us, or validate us. The knowledge that we, and we alone, are enough without all the extras makes us relax and become less frantic, less needy, less intense. 

    Life has been throwing me lots of curve balls lately, and yes, I feel a bit rattled, but not shaken to the core. I am slightly tense but know I can take on the challenges ahead just fine. So no, nothing ever goes according to plans, and no, no one ever behaves as you'd like them to in your head, and that is totally okay. Not my job to change the world out there, but it is my job to change me in reaction to the world. It's a subtle difference but upon closer inspection, it's actually a monumental one. I have the choice all along, the choice to engage or not engage anything that comes my way. As Byron Katie says in her book, Love What Is, she claims that "defensiveness is the first act of war." Defensiveness is therefore a choice.  In being empowered to engage or not engage, in knowing we have a choice, we can then purposely choose a path that will best suit our heart. I choose love, I choose peace, I choose non-ego responses to all stressful situations. War can take place out there but I am not letting any negativity in the gate to my heart. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Never give up

                "Never give up". Those are the words I turn to quite often. It use to happen a lot, I call them the down-under days. Days where everything tat happens that day becomes part of that negative narrative that only helps to drag one down, nothing feels right.  Nowadays, they happen less and less often, but they still come and when they do I am more and more ready for them with strategies I have developed over time. I have suffered from what I call sadness and what the general society calls depression for my entire adult life. No, I have never been diagnosed but I know enough to recognize the symptoms and although it's not a severe issue, it's an issue I've had to address over the years. Over time, I've had to come up with many ways to help myself come back up when I'm down, all of them are strategies I personally use on me and don't require anyone else's help to make it back up. Because these sort of days come always unannounced, I can't possibly rely on someone else to come pull me out of these ruts, most people in my life hardly know they are there. One aspect that has helped me has been knowing that I am not alone in this issue of mine. As private as this experience is for me and for everyone else who deals with it, EVERYONE I meet have these down-under days, everyone I know carries some form of sadness in them of which they also learn to harness, or not. These people, they too feel as hopeless and as stuck as I do when they come. 
           Lucky for me, running has had a restorative affect on my life, on my outlook, on my soul. Getting some miles under my feet refils me, reassures me and completely eradicates all the ugly and bad that tends to mount daily. All that mental chatter that tends to weave those negative narratives just wiped clean. Running has been not only restorative, but also strengthening. One thing about running though is that the feeling of strength and power I get from it only lasts about a day, two at most. Three days, at the end of the school year, where there are events all evenings and no time can even be carved to work out surely allows all the negative feelings to surface. Yesterday, after three days of no running I finally get my power back at the gym. The gym is not at all one of my favorite places to run, at any run there may or may not be sweaty people besides me who may or may not smell of either perfume or sweat, or both....not at all fun!  But to walk out of there with 5 miles under my feet is a win for that in two days, I will need to battle once again. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Forest Bathing 

        Waking up at 4:30am and going for a summer trail run before sunrise has its benefits. It's TOTALLY quiet, it smells delicious, and you get to see the sun rise from the many cool shapes of light they create against and through the trees. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Earthly connections 

    I was a cranky mess last night chasing my kids around to go to bed. I threatened, yelled, pleaded and was able to get to bed by 10pm. That is super early for a working mom. Normally I need this time to unwind, but I wanted to get a morning run in and what better way to succesfully get up for a morning run than to go to bed super early. I woke up at 4am and laid in bed for 20 minutes. Got up got ready and stepped outside. The smell of the morning was
almost as magical as the sounds of the dark morning. I put away my earphones after about a minute and chose to just enjoy the morning sounds instead. 

     It had rained the day before so all the tall grass on either side of the path I take were leaning over wetting my entire lower leg as I ran past them. I imagined they were nature fans, giving me gentle, wet high fives as I ran past them. I left the house at 5am, so around 5:35am I began to see the sky brighten up and was sad to see the darkness fade. There is a cozy annonimity about running in the dark. I quickly got over this as I welcomed the low laying fog that rose over the trees and were now visible thanks to the light. 

       I smirked thinking how few gifts a treadmill really had to offer. On a treadmill you will not have wet, tall grasses giving your legs soft high-fives, on a treadmill you would not have to maneuver around muddy puddles or get the full breadth of the morning smells and sounds. I feel so fotunate to be able to do this.....and to think I almost rolled over and went back to bed. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Lazy late spring runs 

      Ask any runner and they'd tell you they love their legs. My legs make running possible. They are the most powerful part of me....then there are my trusty running stuff, such as these sneakers. These sneakers have gotten me through my most recent race, the 50 miler, all the training for it and probably several marathons. I wear out my sneakers pretty evenly so slowly they become 
minimalist sneakers. 

Sunday I woke up exhausted. I had a party in my home the day 
before and just could not get myself to go for a run. So I looked up at time the sun went down and chose to go at 6:30pm....I am in love with the trails.....everything about it makes me come alive, the smell, the sounds, the ground, the shade....the plants..even the way the sun peaks through the trees. 

By trail running you also get to know the seasons and how it related to nature....these flowers from the Tulip Tree fall to the ground about the same time my dahlia plants begin to nudge out from the winter ground....or about the time the rain comes for days and days at a time. During my run I thought about how time is seen differently when you run trails....time is attached to these small changes in nature and you begin to know when things happen in nature, in the right order. 

The sun peaking through the trees at 7pm.....sundown is at 8:10pm today. 
Just me and the and my breathing, just me and my sweat.....and water....oh, what a huge blessing. 

Just keep in moving...never give up.... my motto

Once out of the forest I catch a ladybug!

Runners would have an issue with this sign...."joggers!" seriously? 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The GREAT Outdoors 

          4:30am, I wake up minutes before the alarm goes off. That is what happens when you know you've had a good night's sleep. Funny how the coziness of a warm bed can make one do ridiculous mental gymnastics just to squeeze out a reason to stay in bed. But I soon hit a wall, Luke has a game tonight, so I could talk myself into working out later instead. This was it, the only time I could work out today so I must get up, like it or not. I stand up, use the bathroom, boil some water for coffee. 5 minutes into it and I am fully up and awake, no turning back now. My two kids and my hubby are still in bed, deep in sleep. I open the front door to feel the weather and decide if I can run outdoors. It's warm, misty and a bit rainy. For a split second I thought, yes, treadmill at the gym it is! but then I remembered just how amazing running in the rain feels and how much more private it feels to run in the dark, and more importantly, how crappy it feels to run in a treadmill. I changed in my dining room, grabbed my house keys, a canister of pepper spray, my handheld waterbottle, took several sips of my warm coffee, and out the house I went. It took a total of 1 minute to adjust to being outdoors and I was on my way....No gym has ever felt this good, ever...... I am so thankful for spring for it's this weather that calls me outdoors....not sure what I will do once weather gets cold again, but I will tackle that in its own time.