“What day is it?”
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.” – A.A. Milne
While running the other day, I rounded a corner that I’ve probably turned a hundred times and was surprised by something I’ve never seen there before; about 10 people running towards me. I almost never see another runner while I’m doing my in-neighborhood miles, much less a herd of them. Then it occurred to me. A week prior I had also seen a woman wearing exercise clothes walking in a parking lot nearby. I only thought it weird because that parking lot is almost always empty and I never see anyone wandering around here with any sense of purpose about them. Once I put that together with the collection of runners doing what looked to be a quick two block warm-up run, I discovered that someone had opened up a CrossFit gym two blocks from my house. Sweet…I guess…eh.
I wonder how long that’s been there or how many times I’ve passed it without noticing.
“Suffering needs time. It cannot survive in the now.” – Eckhart Tolle
After venting a little internal and self-made frustration in my last blog (thanks again for putting up that whiney shit), I ran one of the most relaxing and meditative runs I’ve had in weeks on Thursday afternoon. It was beautiful outside. The sun was shining. Temperatures were moderate. Humidity was low. And the wind: minimal. It was perfect running weather. I was running reasonably well. And I took the time to actually look around a bit.
I always have my head up because that’s how I run. And my eyes are always open so that I don’t run into shit or get hit by a car, both of which have almost happened in the last month. But I’m not always taking the few nanoseconds required to actually see the things around me while I’m out there. Despite my recent tone, I’m not so lost that I’m totally blinded all of the time. But I should do a better job of trying to stay in the moment of every moment. There are so many simple beauties to be appreciated and a lot of life to be lived during the times that I manage to keep internal distraction at bay. I should really maximize those times.
I run along this tiny tributary off of the James River a couple of times a week. I turn down this road specifically to be by the water. But as I’ve proven very capable, I think I sometimes take it for granted and don’t truly appreciate how nice and peaceful it is. That’s the danger of routines with me.
Being near the water is almost a guaranty that I’m going to see some form of wildlife. But I can tell you that some of these feathered friends seem to prefer it when I just keep running by.
Others don’t give a damn at all.
Do I think I’d look good in that little green dress? Not really. I don’t have the shoulders for spaghetti straps. But I’ve run by this place a couple of times a week for almost five months and I didn’t even know it was there until two weeks ago. That is ridiculous!
“Once I decided that I did want to set a goal, I laid out a plan, executed that plan one tiny step at a time, and accomplished each running goal that I set for myself. But I never wandered out of the moment. I ran each run for each run’s sake.” – thatguywiththebeard
I’ve spent so much time learning about how important it is to set goals, develop plans, and stay focused on those goals, that I may have sometimes let that focus sabotage my ability to appreciate the now. Goals are still super important, and it’s infinitely harder to accomplish them without a plan. But I’m starting to realize that a truly well laid plan can be executed while still experiencing each step along the way singularly and within the moment.
Keeping my eyes on the horizon sounds good, but maybe letting them take a look around every now and then isn’t such a bad idea either. The horizon isn’t going anywhere, and staring at it through tunnel vision isn’t going to get me there any sooner. But it could cause me to miss any number of lessons along the way. I should probably try to do a better job of fully experiencing the moments I’m in as I travel along my path so that when I get to the places I want to be, I will be that much more polished, well rounded, and who knows? Maybe even a better person for it.
“Live Today! Do not allow your spirit to be softened or your happiness to be limited by a day you cannot have back or a day that does not yet exist.” – Steve Maraboli
By giving in to distraction, I am stealing the now from myself and short-changing those around me because of my absence from the present. I’ll never be the best me I can be, at work or play, if I’m not fully in the moment I’m actually living. I can’t be the best anything when I’m phoning it in so that I can dwell on the past and future. One is gone, and the other isn’t here. What I’m doing now is important enough that I should dedicate myself to doing it as well as I possibly can. I might not get it right today, but I will be working on it starting…you guessed it…right now.
This is where I ran this morning. It was sunny, 70 degrees, 73% humidity, with 7 mph winds from the south/southwest. There were lots of other runners, walkers, a few dogs, some gnats, a little bit of mud, and a whole lot of awesome. And I had a really great run. Happy Saturday.