I got up at 4am yesterday to go for a run. I’m an early bird by nature so the time of the morning wasn’t a biggie for me, but the running part was. You see, I’ve run since I was 14 years old, but hadn’t run for over 8 weeks thanks to a particularly nasty sickness which was then followed by a long, sunny, uber-relaxing holiday back home in Southern California.
So yeah, thinking about the physical pain that I was most certainly about to endure getting back into shape almost kept me in bed. Almost. But that little voice inside of me that has always whispered to me to get up and run for the past 18 years came through loud and clear. And, once I was up, dressed and awake, I couldn’t wait to lace up my old sneakers and hit the dusty trail.
You see, to me running is true “me” time. It’s meditation. It belongs to no one but me. When I’m running, I am nobody’s mom, wife, employee, friend. Before the dawn, with only birdsong and an occasional woosh from a passing car – I find my nirvana.
And, yesterday I had my first hour of complete silence in a while. I call this my meditation in motion.
A lot of people find their meditation in motion in different places. Maybe it’s on the tennis court, swimming laps, riding bikes or playing team sports. Whatever and wherever you find this – it stays with you. And, like a drug, it pulls you back in time and time again no matter how much time passes.
You see, while I’m not physically built like a runner (5’10” and not dainty by any means), there’s no doubt I’m mentally made for it. I look forward to getting through the first mile just to tackle the next 7 or 8 that follow. To me, there’s nothing better than reaching that blissful point during a trot when your body just moves all by itself. Your heart pumps, your legs move at pace, feet pound the pavement, sweat beads around your temples… and your mind wanders freely.
The hour (or so) that I run affords me more than the physical pleasure of movement and hard work, but it also give me time to calm and quiet my soul, and focus of the mind. Some people call this the “runner’s high” I just call it balance. Dreaming while wide awake – this is a time when I solve problems at work, at home. This is when I come up with my best ideas. My strongest arguments. My most vivid memories return to me. What a gift!
So while everyone might have different reasons and motivations for exercise – mine isn’t to be thin. It isn’t so I can eat whatever I want (although this is a great byproduct of burning a lot of calories). And it isn’t about being the best at it. No, it’s the meditative aspects of pushing past the physical essence of myself to a place where I can delve deeply into the parts of my mind and soul that are otherwise untouched often that keeps me going and coming back for more.
Meditation in motion.
Mine’s an old pair of Nike’s, an empty road ahead…and an hour running.