This morning I decided it was the time to do my first run of 2017. I looked out of the window, its thick with fog, it looks cold. My mind is telling me “don’t do it” but there is something more powerful driving me on to put my running shoes on and just get out there.
I have talked a lot about how meditation and mindfulness helped me out of a dark hole, it truly did and is doing, but there is something else also that lifts me up, knocks back the depression and quashes the anxiety. I run.
Well, I say run, I’m more of a plodder. I came to running not that long ago, I had read an article about how exercise helps to regulate the mind and produces those feel good chemicals in the brain. In combination with the mindfulness and meditation, I thought I would give it a go.
The first run I did was an endurance test. It took all my will to keep going, not necessarily physically more mentally. I had thoughts of “I can’t do this, I can’t manage it”. I had to battle these thoughts all the way through the run. At the end I was drained but felt somewhat euphoric, I had done it! That amazing feeling lasted throughout the day.
Running has taught me a valuable lesson of endurance. I knew full well that it would do me good. From the get go,I knew that running would be a means to regulate my mind. That didn’t stop my mind telling me not to do it. It didn’t stop it telling me I wasn’t capable. But when I pushed through those thoughts, saw them for what they really are, something magical happened. I was rewarded for pushing through those thoughts with an amazing sense of achievement, a calmness and joy that is hard to explain.
This sometimes happens with my meditation practice also. I know what benefits are gained from it, yet some days there are thoughts of “my back hurts a bit, I wont bother” or “I feel tired” or “it’s not doing anything”. I recognise these thoughts now and have a little chuckle to myself. I know to push through them because my heart knows whats right. Strangely, those times that I do push through these thoughts, are the times I get the most out of the practice, like that extra effort you have to make in order to continue, is rewarded back to you somehow.
So, I pushed through those thoughts today, I donned my gear, put on my barefoot running shoes and stepped out. The mindfulness practice comes into is own here, oh my its cold but I feel the air on my skin, I feel my feet in contact with the tarmac, listening to the steady rhythm my feet make when they contact the road, slap, slap, slap, I hear and feel my breath. I can hear the birds singing in the tree, the kids in the school yard playing, the dogs barking, the plane over head, I feel alive.
Thirty minutes later I am back, a circular route. Tired but feel good. I know that everyday I run, is a day I feel decent about myself. It’s not really about keeping fit, it’s about pushing through those negative thoughts that held me back in life for so long. Exercise and the mindfulness meditation, for me, go hand in hand. It doesn’t have to be a run, I also do mindful walks and get the same feeling.
Sometimes we have to endure, we have to hold fast, push through the thoughts, see them for what they are and know in your heart what is right. It is an act of self-care that we owe to ourselves.
With Best Wishes