Recently I started running again after a two year hiatus and I am re-discovering that I love it. To be outside and to take my body on a journey from point A to point B is a huge part of it. I will never enjoy running on a treadmill, but being outside, choosing a route and observing what is going on in my neighborhood and community at the ground level gives me an amazing feeling of being connected to my surroundings. I have witnessed amazing sunrises and sunsets, discovered roads and neighbourhoods I was unaware of, and even encountered wildlife in places you wouldn’t expect.
For me, there is also an incredible evolution I feel in my body as the journey progresses. It always begins with this sense of effort, the push required to get going, and the full body discomfort as my muscles start to work. Then, there is the ache in my lungs as I pick up the pace or tackle my first incline.
This ache is one of the sensations that makes me feel the most alive. This is partly because it is such a strong feeling, and also because as I keep going or change my pace or incline it subsides. I move through it. My body adjusts. Soon I find my stride and maintain a steady pace and it is like my body is doing it without me. Now I’m just along for the ride, checking out the world. But this feeling of ease doesn’t last the whole time.
A steep incline will reignite the ache and once again I will move through the discomfort to find ease. What occurred to me about this during some recent hill repeat training is that when I am running, much like in life, I am never constantly going up hill.
Esther and Jerry Hicks, in their book, The Astonishing Power Of Emotions use a powerful visual description to explain accepting what is or what they call The Art of Allowing. They say when we resist ‘what is’ it’s like paddling a boat up stream. It takes work; it’s hard; it hurts us and to relieve it, all we have to do is turn our boat in the other direction and float downstream. To let go of the oars and to accept ourselves and our lives without feeling a sense of urgency is to change things enough to give us instant relief.
There is no need to make huge changes with your resistant thoughts either. If you are experiencing negative emotions know that it is your thoughts that are driving this and to gain relief all you need to do is choose a slightly better thought. Instead of telling yourself that everything in your life is difficult you could tell yourself that you do find some things easy to handle. There is no need to leap to perfection. Simply reach for thoughts that are incrementally better than where you started and feel the sense of relief. In time, if you continue the process, the sense of relief you felt the first time will guide you to more positive thoughts and emotions.
During this hill training, each time I reached the crest of the hill after pushing myself up, I felt that ache in my lungs; the hurt, the effort, the fatigue. But the minute I turned and let my body coast back down the hill, there was a release. I wasn’t home yet, but I was that much closer to the end of my work out and the amazing feeling I get when I am done.
Do you feel like you’re constantly running uphill? Try telling yourself that you are able to make some changes to improve the situation. Remember, our first steps are small ones, but if taken, they can lead us to much bigger things down the road. Give it a try and share your experience below.