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A few days ago I was out for a run when I caught a glimpse of myself in a storefront window. I was still in the warm up miles of my run and it showed. I looked tense – shoulders scrunched up, arms tight and stiff. I thought to myself, “relax!”. It wasn’t happening. I passed another storefront window and stole a glance. I looked even worse. As I continued along I took a deep breath and then another. I took myself back to my kung-fu days.  I could hear Sifu Steve going through the meditation process with us at the beginning of class:

Control your breathing.

Check.

In through the nose, out through the mouth.

Got it.

Find a focal point to concentrate on, but stay aware of everything in the room.

It was kinda working.  I could feel my shoulders lower, my arms loosen up.

Now close your eyes and listen…

I started to close my eyes.

Whoa!  Not while you’re running, you idiot!

Now close your eyes and listen…

I looked around.  Long straight away, no traffic, no other runners, a full 3/4 of a block to the next intersection.  I let my eyelids fall and ran about 10 paces.

Listen to your breathing.

Almost instantly my entire body relaxed.  I opened my eyes and found myself both at ease and fully alert.  Over the next 4 or 5 miles I found myself in an almost meditative state – relaxed yet aware – flying (that’s what it felt like) along at a much faster pace than I had intended when I went out.  My mind was practically empty, almost zen-like, as I floated through the streets of my town.  Obviously I had to stay aware of traffic, but for the most part, I was able to listen solely to my footfalls and breathing, intertwined in their rhythm.  Inevitably I came to an intersection where I had to stop and the spell was broken.

I’m hoping I can find a way to replicate this experience the next time I run.

I’m thinking that I may try to expand this running with my eyes closed thing beyond just running.  Taking a moment to reduce the data input, listen to my breathing and footsteps and then refocus.   Probably not a good idea to try it while driving a vehicle, but maybe during high stress moments in the day.

Close the eyes, control the breathing, relax the shoulders.  Open the eyes and fly.

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