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?

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Pause

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I’ve been forced to slow down. A running injury has sidelined my often intense level of activity for the last three weeks. Always a bundle of energy even from the time I was very small (my mom says I used to bounce off the walls), I wake very early most days, without the alarm, raring to go.

In these moments of pause, I’ve had time to think differently. Even though I have a meditation practice (more like a moving meditation), stopping to reflect more during this healing process has made me appreciate my physical strength and stamina more. Moving swiftly through space and time has always helped me settle. The spirited, unbridled movement gets me out of my head and into a rhythm of being fully present. It has always brought clarity that focuses my creative flow. And it doesn’t hurt that it is good for my health and makes my legs look great.

But I’ve begun to think that perhaps I’ve been running away from being fully present with myself. Taking time out to mend has brought awareness of what it feels like to be in my body, not just flinging it into the world like a whirling dervish. I’ve pushed it hard and now it’s pushing back. Sort of like my body is saying “Notice me”. The injury and this hiatus have reminded me that I need to be more kind and compassionate, not just to others but to myself as well. That it is okay to not charge full steam ahead all the time; to react right instead of fast. What I need to do is run into myself.

Doubtless I can’t wait to get back to running. But I think I will return to it from a different angle and mindset that I’ve gained from the pause.