Glances down and a steady gaze forward

Morning run today….I find running a moving meditation for my spirit. It is when the chatter in my mind quiets as my body moves rhythmically and almost independently of my wishes. The mind settles and the thoughts flow and ebb as they will… it has taken years to cultivate this but it now takes just a few minutes into a run before that feeling of release settles in and my body glides and I hear my inner thoughts start to gather and wiggle out of the corners of my mind , ready to be finally attended to :)…as the day to day mind-numbing “to-do” lists and worries (some trivial, some very real) subside, the deeper more provoking thoughts wander on out to have their time at the forefront of my attention. Yes, there are runs that are simply physical but today was one of those magical times that it all settles and I just go….

I love just watching and listening to my thoughts, without judgements or direction from me, just observing and hearing “me” come out without the usual filters that I impose on my Self.

Today, as I ran, I made a loop through all my previous places of residence in the past 12 years … yes, lots of moves but all within an 8 km loop! I’ve done this loop more times than I can count but today was with a more present conscious look at each place and taking time to reflect on where my family was at that time and the journeys we have all been on as we moved from place to place. Our family growing and changing as it went…sometimes seemingly for the better, sometimes seemingly not, but always changing.

Part of my route takes me down some trails and there are a couple of kilometres that are just trail and a bit muddy and attention needs to be paid to footing or you run the risk of hobbling the rest of the run home rather than gliding! About half way down the trails I noticed that my mind had shut off…it was quiet…my focus was so intent on not slipping on the mud or tripping on tree roots or rocks – and a very loud voice in my head said “look up!” . I snapped my head up just in time to see that I was headed straight on for a massive mud puddle in about 2 steps…. I swerved, slid and regained my balance but not before I thought “damn, that was close”. Funny how lessons can be taught ….

Life is so often lived with staring down at the little trials and trip ups that we are navigating daily as we wander through what needs to be done and taken care of. The day to day mundane tasks that are necessary, the little things that seem to be so important and so affect us. Getting the groceries, paying the bills, oil changes for the car, housework, dentist appointments…the lists go on and on…all important things and items of life that need to be dealt with. The problem is that we live FOR those things. Those are the glances down to see what we need to watch out for. Never, or rarely looking up and forward to see where you are heading – or even where you ARE already.

2 years ago I separated from my then husband it was after many months of living head down, dealing with the day to day hell of a marriage that was in its last breaths. When I finally looked up, my first thought was “How the hell did I get here! This is NOT where I want to be”. I had been so caught up in “life” that I forgot to live true to what I wanted and needed. I made a vow to myself then that I would take the time to actually find out what it was that I did want – yes, I was that disconnected with “me” that I didn’t know. I just knew that where I was in my life was not making me happy. Half the battle of figuring out what you want is knowing what you don’t want. The next year and a half were a time of reflection, growth and understanding of myself and letting go of the pre-conceived notions of who I should be or what I should want. Acceptance of my likes and desires and releasing the self-doubt and the notion of limitations that I placed on myself.

Balanced throughout this was the realization that first and foremost my joy and my place is as a mother to my boys. My life is committed to them as much as to myself. All these thoughts and realizations and truths were settling last year as the summer came to a close and I was moving forward with a decision to make a move that would bring me to where I felt was right with my life.

As we know, life sometimes tosses a curve that we don’t see coming. As Willie became unwell last fall and the focus shifted back to the tree roots and mud so we all didn’t stumble, the steady gaze forward was lost. That’s ok…sometimes you need to have all your attention on your footing or you will end up face down and broken. The key is to know that even when you need that tight glance down you still need to occasional “heads up” just to keep on track.

Today’s lesson for me was very much that it is time to run forward with my gaze to where I am and where I want to go … with a little glance down to keep an eye out for trip ups but the focus has shifted to the bigger picture. The last thing we want is to get to the end of the run, look up and say “this is not where I wanted to end up…”

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