I’m not an avid runner. But what I do is faster than walking, so I call it running. I run. I walk. I run some more. I walk some more. I have no agenda. I don’t time myself. I don’t track distance. I just get a little sweaty and try to be present with the beauty and life around me.
That’s hard to do, though, when your head is down scanning the trail for obstacles. I want to embrace my time outside and not get so caught up in my thoughts, so I’ve been trying to look up when I run. It’s hard. What if I trip and fall?
So there’s a gazillion cheesy metaphors to draw here, but the one that struck me yesterday during this practice was that I have lived most of my life with my head down because it was safe, because I was afraid.
I always thought I was this bad-ass fearless rebel. A dear friend of mine loves to tell me that when she first met me in college, she thought I was scary. That’s exactly how I wanted to be perceived. What a poser! I was terrified of my past, drowning out the present and unable to see a future because I always planned to die young (at my own command of course). How much more fearful could one be? I was afraid of everything. I filled every moment with distractions in a vain attempt to avoid life.
Today I’m learning that the most fearless thing I can do is walk fully in the world, rather than walking around like I own it. A big part of this for me means pausing the buzzing of my mind to fully accept and embrace the present moment. This is hard. It takes patience, dedication and practice. Little by little I am getting better at it, and it is easiest for me in nature. So why is this fearless? What does this have to do with fear? Try it and see. Lift your head up and be here. Pause the buzz and notice, simply notice, what happens when you can’t and when you can. Take out the middleman. Let there be no seer, only sight. No listener, only sound.