Freedom….

Scorching temperatures belie summer’s waning in my spot in the Universe. Lazy days recall fond memories of time seeming to stand still yet fly by with a wink and most of all… Continue reading

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Cultivating Peace

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Columbine Trail, Lake Chabot

Most Saturday mornings find me running at the lake near my home. It’s a difficult, 9-mile run with terrain that changes from flat to 30% slopes and back again through scenery that will catch your breath. Parts of the trail are so narrow that a distracted mind is a footfall down steep gorges; you have to mind the three R’s: Roots, Rocks, and Ruts.

And it’s perfect for me…

This is the last run of the week for which the reward is a long tub soak and a day off for yoga on Sunday. It’s here that I cultivate peace; in my mind, my body and my spirit (ok yoga does that too, but not as much as this run). It’s here that I am able to observe the restrictions and obstacles I’ve been facing without fighting or judging and just breathe into it; work to my edge and focus on letting go. In the midst of this challenge I learn to be attentive, patient and focused; this brings me serenity, peace, solace, redemption.

Renewed, I can go out into the world with my perspective reframed, recommitted to my intentions and able to be the charm in other people’s days and an ambassador of peace.

How are you cultivating peace?

Be Strong. Be Flexible.

My mom always told me I had a tough exterior. On the outside I was strong, inside I was mush. One of those who is always caving to the whims of my heart, the underdogs and a charming smile. Continue reading

Flying through the Trees

Blocked. The words stopped coming. My muse had left me. Too much time in front of the computer.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,” encouraged William Wordsworth nearly three centuries ago. I couldn’t think, let alone breathe. Good old Willy was such a romantic. Everything probably looked and sounded better on parchment in quill ink.

I decided to head out–anywhere but here would do a girl a world of good. I didn’t really have a destination in mind as I pointed my car west and somehow ended up in RedwoodPark.

It was a weekday and there weren’t any other cars around as I pulled into the lot. “Good,” I thought, “people-free solitude.” It was unseasonably warm and the sunny, crystal clear day was already clearing my head.

I started to hike down the paved trail and as I descended deeper into the woods, I could feel a sense of calm and release creep over me. Nature is a healing balm. In spite of the lack of a truly wet winter, the forest was verdant with massive ferns and moss-robed redwoods. A gentle trickle was even flowing in the creek. The air was redolent with the musky smell of damp earth and sweet decay of fallen pine fronds which enraptured my senses. Dappled light was scattering through the canopy above sending shadows pirouetting across my path. What splendid idyll. I picked up my pace and started to jog.

All my tension fell away as the freedom of the spaciousness liberated my psyche. Energized, I was now in full gallop (Ping, my Chinese neighbor, branded me a horse when I run). Then I heard them, the sound of footfalls in the distance behind me. I looked back. Nobody. “Maybe it’s my echo,” I pondered. Undaunted and with cheetah-like stealth I pressed forward deeper into the trail, finally finding my rhythm.

Soon I reached the spot where the trail narrows and wends its way up and down along steeper slopes. A challenge but I felt like I was capable of moving the world. Suddenly, there it was again. Someone was pacing me only this time heavy breathing joined the running feet. My pulse quickened as my adrenaline surged and then I felt it. My spine tingled as a shiver coursed from my sacrum to the top of my head as the realization hit me, “I’m not alone.” “Just keep going,” I urged as I ramped up my pace until I felt like I was flying, flitting through the trees like a woodland sylph. Still, I was being pursued.

In my distracted state I lost my footing when a tree root popped out of nowhere stopping me short. I was falling, then not. I felt a pair of strong arms around my waist arresting my descent to the muddy trail. I struggled to free myself to no avail. Warm hands spun me around without letting go. What my eyes beheld left me in rapturous awe, a man with the visage of a Mayan god.

He wore the most intriguing medieval-looking carved amulet at the base of his throat secured by a leather lanyard. From the curve of his nose, broad forehead and honeyed, brown-sugar tone of his skin to the fullness of his lips and rock-solid body that was now firmly pressed against mine, this image of masculine beauty indicated a regal lineage and made me think one of two things had happened:

I had died and gone to heaven.

OR

I hit my head in the fall and was having the most pleasurable, exotic dream of my life.

“You’re hard to catch, like a feather blowing in the wind,” he spoke.

Guess I wasn’t dead.

“Are you okay?” he asked. On reflex, I touched his face.

He was real…..perhaps I’m not dreaming either.

I faltered. “Um. I am now,” I nearly whispered as I searched his sable-brown eyes for encouragement… Captivated by the weight of his stare, I began to catch a glimpse of what I thought was his soul. All at once it Continue reading

The Easter Bunny Wears Pink Running Shoes…

…a white Lycra running skort and a grey Gore-Tex jacket. Really!

Yesterday, Easter was celebrated worldwide. Traditions abound and are as varied as there are people. Reverent church services, fancy brunches and elaborate dinners were laid out. More baskets overflowing with candies galore than one could possibly count were assembled and frilly frocks and spit-polished shoes were donned all in the name of heralding the renewal of spring and the risen savior.

As a March baby, my birthday has on occasion fallen on Easter. Imagine the thrill as a child of having the Easter Bunny visit you on your birthday! My Dad reveled in the holidays and Easter was no exception. We’d color hard-boiled eggs and the “Easter Bunny” would hide them for our treasure-hunting delight.

Now that my son is grown, he humors me less over the eggs and basket tradition that I’ve tried to carry on. So now on Easter Sunday the tradition is a sunrise hike. This year, as we set out at the trailhead, we passed a runner decked out in her Easter “finery” carrying a bright satchel. Sort of odd for a runner to be carrying anything, but we soon discovered why. As we worked our way along the switchbacks through the woodland trail, we spied the running “Easter Bunny’s” handiwork—spangled streamers marking the direction of the trail and decorated plastic eggs nested in the grassy edges. Soon we found pink glitter bedazzled carrots with crepe paper tops hanging from low branches on the trees. All along the trail for miles we giggled as every turn revealed another bunny treat.

When we returned to the staging area after our hike, we discovered that this wasn’t a child’s fantasy find day. It was a grown-up Easter egg hunt for a group of die-hard runners celebrating in a unique way. What a fun challenge; the first mile of the trail is straight up and the hilly climb is not for the faint of heart. I think next year I’ll start a new Easter tradition with a running Easter egg hunt.