Deliberation

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

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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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When Running Isn’t Enough

Posted on September 14, 2012. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Running is the only thing I have to look forward to right now.

That’s what a friend of mine told me over coffee this week.

If I can make it out the door, she said, and run the 3 or 5 or 7 miles on my plan, I know I can do anything.  It gives me strength.  Purpose.

I nodded intently over the heart-shaped foam skimming the top of my cappuccino.  Yes, I reassured her, I understand.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been there. If I can just get out of bed and lace up my shoes.  If I can only make it to that Stop sign.  At least I will know that I can set a goal and reach it.  I’ll know that if I can do this, I can do anything.

It’s that feeling of accomplishment and strength that keeps many runners motivated.  Reaching the point of self-motivation—the muscle memory (body and brain) of the calm and happiness that lies on the sweaty and alert side of the run—takes time to cultivate.  Even though I’ve been there for a number of years, I still have those stretches of life where I need motivation from without.  I need someone else’s words to help me find my strength and purpose.

Often, for me, that person is Henry Thoreau.  I won’t go into all the reasons why; this isn’t a blog on literature or botany or limnology or natural history.  It’s a blog on running.  And more.  But I thought I’d share with you a couple of Thoreau’s quotes that have helped move me when running wasn’t enough.

 

Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed.   Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders. (“The Dispersion of Seeds,” Faith in a Seed)


 

Jan. 5. P. M. A man receives only what he is ready to receive, whether physically or intellectually or morally, as animals conceive at certain seasons their kind only. We hear and apprehend only what we already half know. If there is something which does not concern me, which is out of my line, which by experience or by genius my attention is not drawn to, however novel and remarkable it may be, if it is spoken, we hear it not, if it is written, we read it not, or if we read it, it does not detain us. Every man thus tracks himself through life, in all his hearing and reading and observation and traveling. His observations make a chain. The phenomenon or fact that cannot in any wise be linked with the rest which he has observed, he does not observe. By and by we may be ready to receive what we cannot receive now.  (Journal 13, December 1859 – July 1860)

 

Strange passages to find comfort in, I know.  Nevertheless, I do.  Are there certain authors or quotes that get you motivated?

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