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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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.

7 X 7

The 7 X 7 Link Award euphoria, that endorphin rush I thought I could only achieve during my most intense runs, hit me completely out of the blue. It was a quite needed burst and I am utterly gob smacked at the honor of being nominated by Mari Sanchez Cayuso.

I have such admiration for Mari’s work and for her life as depicted through her work. Her poetry, artwork and photos are evocative, colorful and possessed of an irreverence that is full of bust a gut wit; to have been selected to be among her seven is humbling.

You will see what I mean when you visit her blog “Peace the consciousness, the transitoriness, your existence.http://starsrainsunmoon.com/

The 7 x 7 Link Award Requires the following:

Reveal seven things about me that you don’t already know

Compile 7 of my favorite links from my blog

Bestow this award upon 7 other bloggers

Seven factoids about me you may not know:

I nearly drowned in a rip tide when I was 8 (not my time yet I suppose).

I collect rocks, all sorts, especially heart shaped ones.

I can grill anything, even pizza.

I am a twin.

I was adopted.

I am a fire sign through and through, across all disciplines (zodiac, Ayurveda, etc).

I take it as a compliment when my teen-aged son calls me a “dork”.

My Seven Blog Posts:

Edible Flowers

Why I Run

Birdsong

Remains of the Day

Rock City

Pause

Hiking in the Fog

My 7 X 7 Link Award Nominees Are (in no particular order):

400 Days ‘til 40

domestic diva, M.D.

Fed up Food

Know the Sphere 

Going Dutch

Sotardalen Nokota Horses

Studio Brow, The Cosmetic Ultralounge

Pause

Bullwinkle websmall

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.

The Beauty of the Rain

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” ~Langston Hughes

There hasn’t been enough rain this winter in the San Francisco Bay Area. After last winter’s deluge of record, above average rainfall I would usually be doing a happy dance rather than a rain dance. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sunny days and warm temperatures we’ve been blessed with this year. Too, I’m empathetic to other parts of the world that are suffering through tough winter weather. I’ve just changed my perception of how I view the rain and the unpredictability of the weather. It’s a metaphor for life.

Unlike life, high definition Doppler can assist in predicting what weather might be coming our way. But the weather is a lot like life in that it can change in an instant. We have to be able to flow with what changes come our way.

I used to loathe bad weather because it meant staying indoors when I’d rather be outside running, hiking, or sitting outside at the café. It meant changing my plans.

“Be still sad heart and cease repining; behind the clouds the sun is shining; thy fate is the common fate of all. Into each life some rain must fall. Some days must be dark and dreary.” ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I decided that I couldn’t let the weather keep me from the activities I love. Then I found a beautiful handcrafted plaque with the words “the beauty of the rain” written in elegant calligraphy on a sky-blue swirl with crystal clear droplets and white sakura blossoms dangling from silver chains.

My new found perspective had me wondering exactly “Why is the rain amazing?”

The outrageous rainfall last winter brought an explosion of wildlife to my favorite hiking spot; some I’d never encountered there before. Running in the rain is cooling and refreshing. The rain is amazing because it nourishes the earth, nourishing all of us.

Now, I fully embrace the rain. I wish more were on the horizon for this winter season. There really is a beauty in it that brings life, adventure and a comfort in its steady falling that emulates the steady change of life.

“I am sure it is a great mistake always to know enough to go in when it rains. One may keep snug and dry by such knowledge, but one misses a world of loveliness. ~Adeline Knapp