Deliberation

Posted on January 3, 2014. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

melt-of-gold-beach-glow-golden-ray-reflection-rocks-sea-sunrise-768x1366

Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Going into this New Year, I didn’t have much time to reflect. Usually, I like to spend a few days thinking.  Looking backward and forward. Writing things down—a plan, a list, the Hamlet T-square of things to be or not to be.  But this time, there simply was no time.  Too much work, then too many parties, an abundance of family, and before I knew it, it was New Year’s Eve.

The whole time I wasn’t preparing, I recognized it, and it bothered me.  I wanted to look, wanted to reflect. The past year stood before me like a full length mirror, but each time I tried to gaze into it, I was distracted by what was in front of me and couldn’t see in.

On December 30, I stopped worrying. I was talking with a friend about relationships, including our relationship with our self.  We both agreed that many people can hardly see themselves as they truly are, may never see themselves as others’ do.  My friend meant literally. I meant in every other way.

If we look into a mirror and cannot accurately see our own reflection, then how can we expect to look backward at a year and accurately reflect on ourselves? Our sight is often distorted. We see what we want to see, what we are able to see, what we are prepared to see.

I am thus going into the new year looking forward rather than back, even if 2013 was a good year. More important, I am focusing on—with appreciation, gratitude, joy—where I am today, since today is what I have. And the day has only begun.

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The Busk, or why I run before dawn

Posted on January 4, 2013. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

burning-bowl

There are a dozen reasons to run before dawn.   There’s no traffic.  Car exhaust and other pollution haven’t elevated to choking level.  Running sets your metabolism, you get the day’s run out of the way, it’s mental preparation for the day.  These reasons all ring true for me, but there’s something more.  With each sunrise I am reminded that every day is a busk.

In spring when the corn began to ripen, some American Indian tribes held a busk, a cleansing ceremony whose purpose was, in large part, renewal.  Tribe members cleaned out their homes and threw all broken or unwanted items into a communal heap, which they burned. A new fire was kindled, and from it all the fires in town were kindled.  During the ceremony, all offenses except murder were forgiven, and a new year began.

The Unity Church practices a ritual with a similar purpose:  The Burning Bowl.  In this New Year’s ceremony, individuals make two lists, one of the things they need to get rid of, and the other of their intentions for the year.  The first list is burned; the second sealed, to be read later.

Both rituals serve the same purpose as New Year’s resolutions do for many of us.  A new year promises a clean slate, the potential to do things right, set new goals.  It’s a chance to start life anew. The opportunity to remake ourselves into something better, stronger.  (Faster.)

Some seem to think that if they don’t set New Year’s resolutions, they’ve missed their chance for change.  But we don’t have to wait for New Year’s Eve for that clean slate.  We get a new beginning every day.

Each day that I get to run before dawn, I am reminded of this.  A sunrise is like an opening hand, pink fingers flaming across the sky, releasing a new day.  The most brilliant dawns remind me of a fire eating through the detritus of the previous day, cleansing it of the good and bad, clearing the way for new growth.

One reason running fills me with gratitude–I get to witness this.  A new beginning, every day.  Another chance to live right, do right.  Another day I am blessed with.

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