Thursday, January 6, 2011

Running Mantras and Enlightening Thoughts

If you run, you understand that there are days where being out there just seems so boring. I sometimes feel very impatient and want to just get the run other with so I can get focused on other things. The whole time I'm thinking about the gift I'm knitting this person, the work e mails I need to attend to, the dinner I will cook later, the workout I will do tomorrow, etc, etc, etc.

Now sometimes this is a good thing. Many creative ideas are sparked from my long runs. Projects, gifts, new recipes. I think the running is inspiring and really gets my creative juices flowing. But my head gets so jumbled. Sometimes I have so many ideas that I feel like I'm going to burst if I don't get them started immediately. And I can't because I'm running! Which only leads me to frustration and agitation. Because, yes, I'm a perfectionist.

But recently, I've been realizing that there is a key aspect to my life in which I have been putting very little focus.  Spirituality and meditation.

I must say that I have been inspired by listening to the audio book Eat, Pray, Love. Initially, I was not enjoying this book. I felt like she was whining about her problems and I had my own problems to worry about. I didn't want to listen to her problems and I didn't have the energy to feel bad for her or even relate to her. That was until she began traveling.

I am an avid traveler. I am obsessed. I love to see new places, experience new cultures, and taste the air of foreign space. At first, while listening to the book, I was jealous. I want to spend time in Italy, India and Indonesia! It's not fair. I want to go too! But as I really listened, it started to inspire me to get a little more connected to the bigger picture. Particularly her words on her experiences in India. She talked about mantras and chanting and meditating for hours at a time. Eating cleansing, vegetarian food in moderation and working hard at one specific task for focus. I love listening to her time in India. It's the kind of thing that I think I would enjoy. My chaotic mind could truly benefit from time like this.

But alas, I am not in India (although one day I will go) so I have to figure out how I can practice these concepts here and now. Meditation and mantras. That might be a good start! However, the meditation part got me feeling all anxious and panicky inside. I can't even sit still and watch a movie. The guy who did the MRI of my ankle a few years ago had to come into the room several times to reprimand me. Sitting still is not my forte and being in my own thoughts doesn't always end well. So, as not to discourage myself, I decided to first initiate a mantra to help get me going.

Yesterday I did a little trial run (no pun intended.) I set out do do my 8 miles that I had planned for the afternoon. The air was crisp and the sun was shining. It was a perfect day for a run and some spiritual connection. My legs didn't feel heavy or light, just something in between.

I will be very honest with you in this blog. I believe in God. I just don't know who God really is yet and I don't exactly know my relationship with Him. So bare with me.

I began a chant inside my head. I have been struggling some with my daily tasks, my role as a supportive wife, being away from my family, and so on. I am normally pretty "together" but as anyone does, I have my moments. And I had one of those moments two nights ago. Crying, sobbing, the works! And what I took from my mini-meltdown is that it's time to ask for a little help. A little strength. So I chanted my mantra in my head.

"God, please, give me strength" over and over again. "God, please, give me strength" with every step the beat was just right. "God, please, give me strength" Much less a plea or cry for help and more a simple request for assistance during tough moments. "God, please give me strength" It even became a song after a while. "God, please give me strength" with a smile and confidence I repeated this for over an hour. And then it became "I am B, and I am strong" over and over again. "I am B and I am strong, sometimes I need help from God." over and over again.

I was quite pleased with myself. The people and dogs on the path were suddenly not a distraction, the jerks that honk at me from their dirty trucks with cigarettes hanging from their mouths couldn't penetrate my thoughts, and an 8 mile run just didn't seem very far. And I actually felt like God was listening to me. The sun felt warmer, the wind blew at just the right times, and my running path was vibrant and illuminated.

                                            South Creek Trail- Springfield, MO

Normally when I talk to God it's because I'm desperate or miserable or looking for some kind of answer. But on this day, I was really happy, enjoying the sun, enjoying my run, and looking for something more meaningful than my average thoughts.

I made a promise to myself to incorporate spiritual practice (of any kind!) into my blog, my reading materials, my writing, and my life in general. And this mantra was what I came up with.

I thought I'd share with you all my experience with my running mantra and how it progressed throughout the hour and a half that I ran. It occurred to me that running can be quite spiritual and all this time while I've been running 20 plus miles a week, I wasn't taking advantage of this calming and peaceful time that I get to spend outside with no one else but myself and God. So I challenge you to take an activity that you do quite often and find a way to do it without just "getting it over with" and take the time to create your own mantra or find your own way to connect spiritually.

Thanks for taking a spiritual path with me today. I promise not all blogs will be on this topic but I just had to share this! Enjoy whatever it is that you are doing today!

BPositive and BEnlightened


1 comment:

  1. Where is the LOVE button???? And did I ever tell you that He spent like half of the conference talking to me about His strength...strength that is for me, just like a strong man's strength is for the one he loves?? I think I might have to take a run just to try this out...:P's for you too you know...