I run for many reasons but mostly I run to find myself. I run to meet myself somewhere down the road.
Every day I go out empty and unmotivated with the slimmest of hopes that something new will happen.
Like with yoga and the practice of breathing into spaces of the mind/body and letting the energy manifest, I try to simply meet whatever energy is out there.
And sometimes the strength comes into my legs and body from an unknown source – and it’s transformative. My brain and muscles are coordinated and integrated effortlessly. Time passes smoothly. It’s a phenomenon sometimes known as “flow.”
But that experience doesn’t happen to me very often. We runners know that maybe 1 in 5 runs will be inspirational in that way, and the other 4 are just gritty exercises in faith, determination or just plain habit.
Last weekend the weather was pretty ugly. Spring has had a hard edge here in Zug – the flowers and fruit trees are blooming but Winter’s cold just keeps clutching. We are all waiting for that big break of sustained hot sunshine to come through. But Mac and I decided to go hiking anyway and it was good to get out there and push through the mist and wet and breathe the clean air.
The lush forest trails looked beautiful the few feet that we could see in front of us. We stopped at rain-soaked clearings where we imagined the meadow expanding out to the view of the Alps – but of course it was completely foggy. A bit of a disappointment.
One of those days where you continually pat yourself on the back for just making the effort because no one else is even out there – but it’s a hollow consolation.
Sunday greeted us with new prospects of sunshine – cloudy early but clearing in the late afternoon. So we decided to try again. Same exact bus trip up the mountain, same exact hike through the forest.
But this time, what a different world it was up there. Skies opened up as the fog drifted away and we were able to see Lake Zurich and all of the little communities outside of the city, way far below. Tiny farms with barnyards, horses, cows, all the livestock and a huge variety of multicolor wildflowers everywhere.
The clouds in my brain and my negative outlook disappeared – lifted away on the breeze along with a kiss to my husband.
What a difference a little sunshine makes.
It felt so satisfying to be able to rewrite the earlier hiking experience – to re-do an exact event/memory that was lacking and make it fulfilling. How often can you do that?
I think that life requires us to be so damn tenacious sometimes. We put tireless effort into every day and we struggle to see the good, be optimistic, and make the meaningful connections in this time we are given.
And yet we can have those days that are simply empty routines where we just want someone to hand the positives over to us.
Back running today and as soon as I hit the path, I could practically feel the charged ions in the clean air. The sun was blinding and everything felt like it was drawing me into it’s energy field – the cows looking at me, a shaggy shepherd dog chasing excitedly behind a farmer’s cultivator, a young woman corralling five laughing toddlers in daycare.
The earth just felt so alive and cheerful and I opened my lungs and my spirit and allowed the intensity to blow through me. My body was porous to the elements in a way I couldn’t make it be on Saturday. Moving quietly along the river I felt invited to be an active member of the farm scape.
And, as if on cue, the song in my ear-buds was playing the lyrics – “I want to live where soul meets body” – yes, exactly.
We want to feel this way all the time, don’t we? Positive, connected, in sync, vital to our world. But if we run out frantically looking for the flow, it will always elude us.
And then on another day, we might lace up our shoes and mindlessly slip down into the magic rabbit hole. And the joy and verve of this hard-won ecstasy is so vital to me that I’m willing to haul my aging body out there to find it.
Because I crave the sensation of being seamless with things. And I need that reminder that I truly am a vital point of intersection in the confounding web of this universe – and that my body is designed and required to skittle across it.
And I need to be reminded over and over of the fact that I am here, in this place, and no matter what, I am meant to be here. In this space. In this moment.
And maybe for a brief, transparent interval the wind will shift, the mist will lift and I can finally find myself on the road – soul meeting aching body – and in the sunlight, all things will be made clear again.