Race day. The weather is cool, but chilly mist promises to give way to sun later in the day. I feel the leaves shifting beneath my feet. I am cold, but the forest shows proof that yes, spring is finally here, and summer is not far behind.
I am in my mind, somewhat detached, experiencing my body as it moves through nature. Some people pass me but I steadily progress forward. My feet move, my chest breathes. “Don’t push,” I tell myself, “the hill is coming. Be ready.”
I reach the base and begin to climb. The mud slips; I feel dirt and roots beneath my fingers as I grasp anything to help me move forward. My quads flex and press, propelling me up, up…and I’m there! Then down, down in a rapid descent, into the water of the rushing stream and across…
I am tired but I chose this. My feet hurt but again, I chose this. There is no quitting, there is only movement – through nature, with nature, in nature. I am animal, going forever, moving without surcease until I find my home, the finish line.
This is the vision I keep in my head as I enter the last month before race day. My mantra still holds as I count my breaths and steps, willing myself to endure in each training session:
I will run and I will succeed.
So, I have been meditating as a part of my training, relying on the advice of runners like Anna Hughes, who use visualization as a part of their successful racing strategies. It has become a bit larger than that, however. Sometimes, when I meditate, poems come to mind, describing what I see. This is a result of one of my more recent reflections:
My soul today was a little leaf,
the color of autumnal reddish-brown.
Falling gently from the tree,
I rocked and swayed,
landing softly on the golden carpet
of Nature’s sanctuary, the afternoon sunlight bathing me and my space in glistening yellow warmth.
Peaceful, it was, until
And lifted me up to hover around his shoulder,
As he sailed across space and time,
I flitting and twirling and traveling,
Until we came to where you were.
Spirit then bade me to float,
down from his height
To where you lay,
And I landed softly,
A leaf out of nowhere,
On your solar plexus, and rested there.
You mused in pleasant curiosity
At this little leaf
That landed on your solar plexus,
And, arm folded and resting behind your head,
You regarded me with an amused and slightly quixotic smile,
Sensing something familiar and warm and comfortable,
So you let me stay.
I rested quietly, happy to be near you,
Intimate in a silent way,
Until Spirit thought well to move again,
Lifting me in his wake
To fly back home,
Through my sanctuary
and back to my Self,
Settled and filled with the serenity
That came through being with you.
Nothing special. Just wanting to share. : )