Lately I’ve been finding a lot of peace just running in the mountains. I’m very grateful for the cool morning air, the birds chirping, and the feeling of having the forest to myself. We are so lucky to have a playground like the North Shore Mountains right in our back yard. I’ve been thinking though how symbolic trail running can be of our lives…
It’s funny what thoughts go through my mind while running. Things like…
A lost dog,
my next step,
my next next step,
my next next next step….
The thing about trail running is I have to think about where I’m going to put that next step and the next step.
It’s very much like chess where I have to think many steps ahead otherwise I could…
Sprain an ankle,
twist a knee,
land in the mud,
fall off the trail,
hit a root,
take a tumble…
Yet even though I’m thinking about my next step, thoughts come in to my mind and they leave. It is very similar to meditation for me. When I meditate the thoughts enter my brain and then I just put them to the side so I can deal with them later. I do the same while I’m running on the trails. The thoughts enter, but they’re not there for that long, because very quickly I’m thinking about that next step.
The next step.
It’s interesting to think about how the only real objective in running is that next step. If I don’t take it, I can’t get to the next next step. Or even think about the next next next step. This makes me think about our society and how it seems many people are rushing in to their lives and not thinking about the NEXT step. Instead, people are looking to fast track their lives and jump many steps, sometimes hundreds of steps, to get “ahead”.
Did you ever think to wonder about the importance of the steps in between? Things like…
un-thought of ideas,
time for peace,
time for space,
What do the rocks, roots, mud and other obstacles symbolize? Things like…
Forks in the road,
opportunities for decisions,
spots to learn,
time for growth,
The obstacles are simply the gaps between space. The obstacles are the GAPS BETWEEN THE SPACE. Is that not ironic? Unfortunately that’s the way we see the world. We see the world as obstacles. The same way I used to see the trail. But as I have become a better runner (as I learned from biking) I now only see the spaces. I no longer see the obstacles. Seeing the spaces has allowed me to free my mind and think about things like dogs, bears, Tanya, math, etc. When I run, I run in the space and I feel free.
So what have I learned?
The lesson learned is simply to live how I run. Look for the spaces. Relish the time in space. Take my time. Know that while I’m in the space my head is clear and my mind is free. If I live my life in the spaces, the obstacles will come and go, but I will float along feeling free.