Sunday, February 7, 2010
MY RUNNING VALENTINE
One week from today is Valentine's day. It is a day to reflect upon and show appreciation towards one's love. So in honor of this day, my husband thought we should celebrate it with a Valentine run. I was very happy to oblige, since I love running with my valentine. We drove to our favorite place to run, Sequiota Park in Sringfield MO. It was 32 degrees and with the wind chill factored in it was a bone chilling 24 degrees. To add to it, the gloomy gray sky looked as if it was going to drop an intimidating load of snow and/or ice. I snapped this picture just before our run (my teeth were chattering).
After we started out, I would have darted back to the car in a second had my husband just gave the word. But he didn't. So inside my head I had a pity party. The first mile was excruciating. I was very cold and my body was sore from the week of boot camp and group strength I had done every morning and add to that the stress of my work week. I was just flat out pooped. But I followed my husband anyway hoping that it would get better. While I labored to keep up with him my mind wondered, as it usually does. I was being negative. Because my body was sore and tired my mind was thinking negative thoughts and thus keeping the perpetual cycle of misery going. I then started to wonder about conditions. Conditions on love. Conditions on running. We all do it. We place certain conditions on love. 'I will only love you if...', and so on and so forth. You have even known and experienced people whom have placed conditions on their love towards you that have retracted their love from you because you did not meet, in someway or another, their expectations. Some people refuse to love you because of 'trust', when in fact, they don't trust themselves and project that issue onto you, never recognizing that it is a sign to look within.
Then I realized that this issue of 'conditions' certainly pertains to running as well. I realized that I had placed 'conditions' on this run with my husband. I was willing to throw in the towel and run back to the warm car had he just shown one little sign that this was a possibility. I then agonized over how my body felt and in turn started retracting my love of running with thoughts of 'why am I doing this', 'uggh, this is awful', 'I'm cold' and most importantly 'this hurts'. When running, just as love, begins to hurt, we often, all too easily throw in the towel. But, isn't something that's worth striving for worth some pain? Focusing your thoughts on the positive outcomes that will come and the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that you will feel if you hang in there and endure past the pain is what will get you through. Love, just as in running, isn't easy. But hanging in there and knowing that experiencing pain is normal will make you stronger and will all be well worth it in the end. You will end up with a strong body and a strong relationship with your partner.
Eckart Tolle states in his book 'The Power of Now' that 'the greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self created as long as the unobserved mind runs our lives. The pain that we create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgement. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity'. I was resisting my run, and in turn, I was judging it negatively as a bad run. Instead of focusing on my pain, I should have focused on the act itself. So I started looking around me and realized the incredible beauty that I was surrounded by. This had all gone unnoticed when I was in my negative state. I snapped this picture of Mike running over a bridge -metaphoric, I thought of crossing over from negative to positive. I no longer noticed how cold it was, but enjoyed the crispness of the air. My run then became a utopian experience in textures, the crunch of the snow beneath my feet, the sound of birds singing a happy song and the tree branches creaking as they gave to the wind. I even noticed a robin hoping around in the snow - the first sign of Spring. We ran 11.07 miles and enjoyed just being together. I am blessed. I have a husband that runs with me. We enjoy the same activities, we train for the same events. Life is good. I had absoultely no reason to feel or think negatively in my life. I am blessed with too much.
After our run, we headed to the gym and sat in the hot tub, showered and went to Red Lobster for our Valentine treat. He then took me to the mall and bought me a wonderful new fragrance called, of all things, 'unconditional love'. Then he took me to my favorite place - the book store, where we spent the rest of the evening drinking coffee and browsing through books.
I hope that this Valentine's day leaves you with a feeling of blessing and unconditional love. If you don't have a significant other, maybe you are blessed with a best friend or a pet as a Valentine. There is certainly no better example of unconditional love than a pet. Whatever it may be, may you recognize the blessings that surround you each and every day and may you love unconditionally.
Happy Valentine's Day!