Day 13: Zen and the Art of Running in the Zone

From what little I’ve read, there are all kinds of postures for meditation. You can be sitting, standing, walking and lying down. But what about running? I think there’s a case for meditation with a kick… Who’s with me on this?

2015-03-11 18.20.07-1I ran five miles yesterday, focused on the sound of my breath. Just like you should in meditation. Inhale. Exhale. With a little extra huff thanks (or no thanks) to the cold I underestimated. Running in this Farmcoast, as they call it, there is way too much beauty to ignore. So my eyes may’ve wandered a bit. But overall, my attention stayed close, one foot, one breath–following the other.

If noticing what’s only in the now and what you’re feeling in the moment is meditative, I’d say running fits that mold. In through the nose. Out through the mouth. Sometimes in forced staccato. I could hear the wind and the whizz of the cars. And I was all too aware of the way my head felt without my running cap (having failed to judge what 36 degrees was like since the warmup not a day before.) I also tuned into that slight pain that tends to happen in my knees. Now that (ahem) age and years of wear and tear are taking their toll. I felt my right hamstring tighten like it does lately. And knew when to change my stride to shake it out. I was right there–in every step, as I heel-toed the asphalt, aligned in body, mind and spirit…

Kind of a lot of heft to put on a pair of sneakers, no?

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Day 11: When all else fails, make a list.

I have done a lot of thinking and not a lot of doing since I’ve been here. But if you consider that most of life is made real in your mind, I guess that’s okay. So, what am I learning? What are my lessons to share? Here are a few observations, 11 to mark the day:

  1. Running to the sound of your footsteps and your breath can be more invigorating than any song on your iTunes.
  2. Watching the sun go down and the north start appear is a habit that’s possible to form in only 10 days.
  3. You do not have to travel far to escape. In fact, you don’t have to leave the house.
  4. You are who you are no matter where you are.
  5. Don’t be afraid of mussing a blank canvas. I am guilty. ‘Cause once I start, I’m committed to a vision. I admit, this is a personal problem. (Insert emoticon of choice here.)
  6. It is way too hard to not end the day with a nice glass of wine. Or two.
  7. Nature is very healing. I never tire of the Farmcoast views. I can see how Monet painted Giverny on end. The light changing in an open sky is a dance that never ends.
  8. There is never enough time. Period. I have no commute, no schedule, no social and professional commitments. I have yet to muss a canvas, get lost on a long run, read a chapter uninterrupted and write a focused blog post. (This is the 5th time I’ve restarted tonight because, yes, I’ve been thinking more than doing.)
  9. Listen to what you need. Happiness lies there.
  10. Notice all life’s details. Amazing things rise up when you’re paying full attention.
  11. Embrace what’s before you. It won’t be there long.2015-03-11 18.36.48