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my body requested a slow, easy, short run today. i honoured the wisdom of my bones and sinews and moved unhurriedly across the landscape of the morning.  attentive, at first, to the sensations in my feet and ankles, my knees and hips and shoulders, the pattern with which my feet landed and lifted.  then shifting my awareness to my breath, bringing a sweet steady rhythm to the exchange between what is inside my body and what is outside.

marblecloud

the morning was cloud-filled; breathtaking formations sweeping across my heart and the sky.  a magick of cooling water vapour gathering on salt and dust in the air. beauty in the basic.

wheatthe earth, the fields, the sky, the trees, me. all smelling so loudly beneath the cloudy cloche. loamy, terpenic, grassy, grainy, astringent, sweet, petrichoric.  corn stalks pushed up to waist height and green wheat serenely stationary in the early air, potato fields densely green and awaiting blossoms. black flies a baby’s breath halo around my head.

immersed and indistinguishable from all that exists, at once vital and insignificant to all that is.  my self simply an energy, a vibration, in a sea of energy. prana. chi. life force. however you tend to think of it.  all energies needed to make the whole work, all vibrational frequencies of equal importance and necessary parts to the whole. the whole of it all. the one.

cloud

 

you and i are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.  ~ alan watts

i have run four times since the last post. i am grateful for this consistency afforded by this tragedy called covid19.  my days are different. the places i spend time are different. this is the case for so many of us.

29.05.20

the strongest winds yet of my recent running adventures. i did not notice them. not because this work of embracing the winds — my winds — has come to fruition, but because my internal winds were raging.  my head on a loop replaying, reimagining, reifying a series of events in my life.  i would, by moments, notice this and shake it away, but i was drawn back in without noticing.

i ran further than i intended.  the internal storyline stronger than my ability to notice my turnaround point.

101940196_1748808758592637_5045965275715862528_ni was finally drawn out of my head when i noticed a mama fox and her two young ones inside the treeline. the two fuzzy cubs came tumbling down the bank to the ditch when they heard me approach. mama stayed back, vigilant in her supervision.  one of the cubs immediately climbed back up to mama, but the other, with breakfast in mouth, ran with gleeful pride i assumed, in the ditch along side me for about 100m before veering off into the trees.

it was so easy to settle back into my heart after this encounter.  woman who runs with the foxes.

01.06.20

102957559_594905741143782_2889852222374412288_nanother chilly breeze day, but one i could pace into with a settled heart.  birds and blooms, and overcast skies.  robins drawing worms from the damp earth as if quilting the landscape and slugs stretching long across the pavement.

i was coming in and out of the presence of this run, lapsing into short reveries about the spaces that surrounded me, brief thoughts of the day ahead.

at my turnaround point, a large dog i did not see gallumping down a laneway toward me, broadsided me, knocking me off balance but not off my feet.  he jumped repeatedly on me, not responding to any commands and as his owner eventually made his way down the lane, the dog did not respond to his commands either.  i caught his collar and handed him over.  my hands smelled of dog mouth, you know that smell?  and my clothing was striped with manure. i was irritated for a few minutes, trying to get back into a rhythm of feet on asphalt, smooth breath in and out. i adapted to the odours and headed home.

run interrupted.

03.06.20

out a bit later than usual, hoping for a couple of extra degrees of warmth. not so much in luck — long sleeves, long pants in the brisk air. asphalt underfoot throwing off frosty feels.

traffic.  as the province reduces covid restrictions, traffic has picked up.  i run on the road as there is no paved shoulder, dodging offside just as needed but with trepidation and vigilance for the tossed remains of people’s passings. oh, that sounds hilariously macabre. so many toss garbage — beer bottles, pop cans, fast food detritus — from their car windows, making barefoot running offside, where i cannot always see what is there, a bit dangerous.  as the second car passes and the wish that they were not there crosses my mind for the second time, i find a chuckle and pause, internally, a moment, to take myself more lightly. i am running on the road. what should i expect.

traffic. wind. dogs. gurus for my journey.

05.06.20

warm. humid.  a tropical breeze and asphalt like in-floor heating on a late autumn day.

all the quiet today. so very lovely. little thought, lots of sensing, words and labels arising as i type this.

101989535_4156160834408991_6834478443334205440_na wee bit of distance added to this slow run day.  breezes carrying spring smells. delicate apple blossoms on roadside trees, wild strawberry flowers, fresh fields, lilacs finally opening.  the rain of yesterdays coaxing a verdant landscape into lush greens, too many shades to name.  butterflies flitting, bright delights to my eyes.  the birds harmonizing with the wind and a distant dog barking. sheep and horses and cattle, cats, and all manner of creatures. the sound of my breath and the beating of my heart, louder on that hill-to-me.

the crunch of gravel as i head back home. i catch a glimpse of myself reflected in the side porch windows and think i look like an old woman who thinks she runs.

102563898_2669639033314675_4473349129027715072_ni am exactly that.

i am as nowhere as i can be.  ~ the avett brothers

 

100996223_618549779004400_365691180781928448_nthe to and fro of pine limbs, trampolining in the gusts and a morning sky gauzy with pillowy pewter-lined clouds greeted me. the gray and coral marbled asphalt, like ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle pieces strewn upon the earth, welcomed the steady chatter of my feet.  all manner of happy birds, oblivious to my presence, nooked in swaying trees, filling my body with trilly notes.

no push in my body this morning, just a presence and the ongoing peace making with the wind.  partway into the run, the draperies were drawn aside and the sun shone through. i became aware of my shadow self, running just in front of me, leading me into the places i needed to travel.

100569460_772063373534226_4537950251817893888_ni moved my awareness to the tidal movements of fluids running through the channels in my brain. brine-swelled pulses delivering oxygen to the recesses not yet fully awakened from my good night’s rest. conveying the goodness of sunshine through the complexity of vascular highways, collecting the dregs and dross from the neuronal salt mines.

this has always been my primary reason for running; the neuroprotective whatfor in my elevated heart rate is the black caviar of my efforts.  and now affixed, to run with my shadow self, partnering the purpose.

of late every day brings a stronger wind.

good timber does not grow with ease. the stronger the wind the stronger the trees.
~ thomas s monson

22.05.20

home again after the run

many times in my life i have referenced ‘the wind is not my friend.’  prone to earachesas wind rushes past them, haired fuzzed and in-face issues, and the dread of its challenges on run days; particularly this.

recent heart lessons echoed this morning as i pulled on my running togs:  if i am to be kind to myself, i must befriend the wind.

as i turned at the end of the laneway, into the stiffish breeze, the usual fight and resistance did not arise. instead, i understood that i must move into the wind, spread my long wings in a vulnerability, a welcoming embrace, in order to be lifted.

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and so, for the first half of the run, i allowed myself to soar, running with, instead of against, this friend. new friend.

at the turn around point, the whoosh fell away from my ears. i became aware of the throaty calls of ravens, the vireos’ curious insistent question: ‘where are you?’ the trees, swaying and bouncing, rhythmically sighed the songs of wind instruments. the wind at my back, pushed me into a skitter along the arc of the earth and dropped me at the laneway with a pounding heart, alive with this new day.

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this is your chance. this little, short human life that you have is your opportunity. don’t blow it . . . my teacher said that making friends with myself meant seeing everything inside me, and not running away or turning my back on it. because that’s what real friendship is. you don’t turn your back on yourself and abandon yourself, just the way you wouldn’t give up on a good friend when their darker sides began to show up

~ pema chodron

 

 

98086954_239874040673475_8335437881128517632_nout the door noonish for a run on a beautiful day.  much later than i prefer to run, but early morning today had other responsibilities.

a sun with enough heat that short sleeves were sufficient and a westerly wind with just enough ooomph in it to billow against a good-run mindset.  scarce birdsong at this time of day and some light traffic.  plenty of farming equipment rolling along the road and kicking up red dust in the fields that came in waves across my running path.

the first kilometre was that.  wind and dust. a stomach a bit too heavy with morning food. a head full of the early morning stress, looping like an old reel to reel tape player. the first kilometre was that. a story line dragging me down, sitting tight across my shoulders and ratcheting rigid my jaw, labouring my breathing, congesting in my log-heavy legs. a misery i created. the first kilometre was that.

grateful was i to become aware. i did not need to bear this burden.  these obstructions, of my own making. i could simply drop this weary load on the roadside.  i could, in fact, allow a bit of self-compassion to well up. i could be kinder to myself. and so, i was.

99131829_875738756274411_2059805425410244608_nmy heartbeat and breath fell into a steady, comforting rhythm and the warmth of the sun touched my whole being.  the earth lifted to meet the regularity of my foot fall.

the run. was so good.

i came home.

 

we can make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves strong. the amount of effort is the same.

~ pema chodron

 

dreaming of roses

spring is slow in revealing its resplendence this year.  just of late, buds have attached themselves to winter bare limbs and the hummingbird feeder remains unattended, though the table has been set.

i will call today my first run of the season, though i have ventured out two other times since our world became more insular. first run because it was more joyful than i anticipated, requiring less discipline to get there and get home again.

17.05.20the sun played peak-a-boo in a cloud-dappled sky and even with a heavy frost in the early hours, the asphalt had loosened its grip on the winter chill and felt warm underfoot. birds were insistent in calling out their spring delight and the breeze, first against my left cheek as i headed out, then my right as i returned, was just right in its temerity.

 

signs of life, springing forth, among the detritus of winter and the pall of a novel corona virus.

it may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.

~ wendell berry

 

me runningin the spring, i went for a run and put up a wee post about it. as it happens, i have continued to not be a runner on a consistent basis since then.

this morning’s run was under grey skies, as seems to have been the mornings of late.  it was also later than i prefer to run as i waited for both daylight and coffee to happen first.

crickets and cicadas provided the universal heartbeat backdrop to the run.  starlings and70735714_1659574990843496_1696513074057445376_n.jpg mourning doves hung like garlands in trees.  the shoulder of the road was still littered with fallen trees, though power lines that had been broken and were hanging just a few mornings ago, all remnants of last weekend’s hurricane dorian, are now repaired, explaining the power outage yesterday.

i have been contemplating entering the pei marathon’s 10k event this year. i have done it twice before, once shod, once barefoot. i have even flirted with the idea of the half marathon. thankfully, my common sense and self care instincts kick in before i get further than a furtive wink with the 21 km demand.

i am not a distance runner, not being well suited to endurance events, except perhaps birthing labour.

years ago, when i first began training for a half marathon, i gradually added more kilometres to my week on a schedule slightly on the conservative side of most recommendations.  weeks in, somewhere around the 13/14km mark, a wisdom deep inside my right hip flexor began to arise.  i dropped back my weekly distance for a couple of weeks and then slowly began to increase it again.  this inner wisdom was not to be denied.

i am not the sort to ‘work your way through that pain’ and, observing the ultimate outcome for those who do,  i am grateful for the kindnesses, including abandoning the thoughts of half marathon training, i have offered my body as i age.

so, i continue to run. short distances which fill my senses and clear my heartmind.  having nothing to prove to myself, these runs serve me well.

onward, then.  headlamp and safety vest season is upon me.

learning to treat ourselves lovingly may at first feel like a dangerous experiment.    sharon salzberg

 

DCIM100SPORTi step sweet gingerly

on the carpet of wild strawberry blossoms

strewn alongside the driveway

mourning doves scatter as i advance

they lift and spiral outward upward

like the dance of dandelion seeds on the wind

i run awkward

the soles of my feet

have softened in the dewy grass

and have awakened

to the richness of the textures

that is the asphalt

i run solely

my ears fill with the succession of cars passing

and then

they empty of the roar

the kirtan of birdsong rises all around me

and settles venticularly

vibrating

i do not know if it is internal or external

i run blurry

the air sits heavy humid

DCIM100SPORT

DCIM100SPORT

immediately sticky on my skin

my fingers tingle with the coolness of early

the sweet scenty aura

of apple blossoms warms me

and slugs hieroglyph

messages of love I leap over

i run hearty

practice3i unfurl my mat on the deck amidst intoxicants

of barely blossomed lilacs

with just out fragrances

bumbling bees

as they buzz the sound of the universe

morning practice

for_peace

the asphalt warm as it caresses the underbelly of my foot

a gentle south breeze slowly watlzing the laundry on the line

mating and nesting songs being passed in a stand of trees

foliage escaping once tight buds.

running. receiving. rejoicing.

hold fast to the mother

 

runhome

at the end of the run

i am not a runner.

yet every spring, song birds beckon me outside, to be their audience as they are mine. it is the same universal energy which led teenage me to cut high school classes in april and, for a short while in my adult life, led me to believe that ‘spring cleaning’ was actually a thing.

i generally wait until the morning temperatures reach 7°C; the encumberances of cold weather running do not suit me well.

today it was 14°C when i got up. and humid. go time!

the asphalt under foot was warm and the shoulder of the road was spring time soft; so pleasant to run on. the warm breeze from the south, the sweat gathering along my hairline, the birdsong.

running with the mind of meditation.

yoga for cool down.

a great start to friday.

may we all be happy just the way we are.

 

 

 

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