The other day my neighbor came over for coffee. She seemed a bit down and out and told me she was thinking about running. She said she wanted to feel better about her body, and that losing some weight would make her feel better about herself. She told me she had never run before, and wanted to pick my brain on how to run. I smiled and said, “Go put on some running shoes and run! Don’t overthink it. Just go for a run. Don’t worry about how fast you are, how long your run is, or how many times you had to stop to catch your breath. Just go run.” I remember not being able to run ¼ mile without stopping. Now I run a full 8 miles without resting once. I started by simply putting one foot in front of the other. “But,” I also cautioned her, “it’s not the weight you lose from running that makes you feel good about yourself. Weight loss is an extrinsic motivator and will likely be a reason you stop running. Don’t seek to be a size two. Instead seek dedication, consistency, and persistence. They will make you feel better about yourself.” Change your vernacular and you will change your life.
Like yoga, running has changed my life. It’s become a way for me to quiet my mind. It is like a moving meditation. I focus solely on my breath and let go of all tension and thought. When I hit my stride, I feel like I could run forever. I achieve the same state when I stay in certain deep asanas, like pigeon, for a long time. It’s the best feeling in the world. If I am in a bad mood, anxious, stuck creatively, whatever is going on, I will go for a run, or do some flows. And when I’m done, all is well again.
When I look back over the last year, hell, over the last decade… I am proud to say I have accomplished much. I have gained a lot, learned a lot, but also forgotten much, and lost a lot. I have reached some goals that I never imagined possible, while I watched other dreams go up in smoke…but that, as they say “is life.” The “one foot in front of the other” mentality has served me well, until now. Lately, I feel fearful and uncertain about some big things in my life. And the truth is, I don’t really know why. Life has pretty much stayed the same. But then I think maybe that’s the reason I feel this way. The Buddha said, “There is no fear for one whose mind is not filled with desires.” I get it, I want more. But thinking about my future is almost paralyzing. It was the Buddha who said, “Overthinking is the greatest cause of unhappiness.” So perhaps silence is best. Who knows, maybe I’ll slow down and give silent meditation a try. Or maybe I’ll just go for a longer run. 🙂
With that, Happy New Year’s and Happy New Decade. May you have many abundant blessings, and may you get back all that you give. Remember to seek out joy, as it is always there for us. May you find peace in any given moment, and may you do hard and scary things! Grow abundantly! Namaste!