If you know anything about me, it’s that I have a tough time sitting still. If I were an adolescent, I’d surely be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. But since I know better, and essentially feel I’m simply “high strung,” I’ll happily say the only A-D-D I know lately is counting miles and reps.
But it’s important to consider this dilemma I have – the inability to sit still and relax. Yes, it’s good reason I’ve chosen to run 800+ miles as opposed to crocheting, but is it healthy to not have calm?
No. No, it isn’t. Which is why a huge part of my training is meditation.
But, before you nod off in what appears to be another boring blog post about cliche meditation practices, let me tell you once again … I am novice.
And it’s great being a beginner. The ignorance IS bliss. And bliss is a perfect ingredient to meditation. It’s the end goal, after all.
I digress. And let me digress further by telling you about my day yesterday.
Yesterday, I scheduled a quick five mile run in the morning, followed by an upper body routine. I finished and returned home before the kids woke for school, made them breakfast and prepared school lunches. After they left for school, I began a day that was already feeling nearly complete, choosing to skip out on all adult responsibilities and instead go snowboarding at Flagstaff’s Arizona Snowbowl.
I love spending time on the mountain, be it hiking, running, camping, backpacking, or snowboarding. And what made a Tuesday particularly nice was the amount of people at Arizona Snowbowl – or should I say, “The few people there were.”
As much as I am blessed with nervous energy, I also hate crowds, which is yet another reason an 800+ mile run along a remote trail seems nice. So Tuesdays are perfect with their vacant runs and empty lifts and barren restaurant and bar.
So, where does meditation fit in?
Well, this isn’t a post about paying $150 for a self-proclaimed guru to guide you through a soft rhythmic lilt of mantras. Nor is it advice to enter a local yoga studio for a $15 walk-in. It’s about finding your peace ANYWHERE, and anywhere NOW.
I’m not knocking gurus or yogis. I love them. I looooooooooove them. But sometimes it’s outside the box of access, logistically or financially (not that a lift ticket is cheap).
What I’m talking about is, as Dave Matthews sings, “the space between.” More so, the space and TIME between.
After my first run, I slid right back onto an empty lift, completely alone. Alone with thoughts, or better yet, alone with no thoughts.
I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing, arms back, snowboard dangling, myself leaning deep into the seat, relaxed.
Inhale and belly full. Exhale and belly empties.
Inhale and exhale. Belly full and empty.
The lift took a little over eight minutes to reach the top, at which point I glided effortlessly to my run and down the mountain again.
On the lift, I closed my eyes and drowned out the shredding of skiers and snowboarders. I focused on my breath and nothing else.
Inhale and exhale.
Floating, quite literally, flying through the air.
I ran run after run, steeper Intermediate sections for longer time on the slopes, but also longer time on the lift meditating, if only 8-10 minutes at a time.
Since then, I’ve had short and sweet moments meditating MY way; clandestine and intermittent, but serious and intense.
Automotive Service Department.
Hell, I just did a second ago taking a quick break typing this post.
It works. It has trained me to find peace more easily and more quickly. And that is a priceless tool when approaching a period of time – this hike – where I might find myself exhausted, fatigued, prone to panic or confusion.
Breathe. Belly full. Belly empty.
Ease. Rid the tension, the stress, the hyperactivity. Relax.
Meditation on the fly, sly and simple.