Grovelands Parkrun fun…

Saturday April 8th

Today has been a very joyous day… It started swathed in spring mistiness, but the shards of golden light were filtering through, and the day was promising to burst into sunny shininess as soon as it could…

Anadi and I jogged to Grovelands Park and arrived at about 8.45am where runners were starting to gather together… A sense of ‘esprit de corp’ already evident…

I felt within me a sense of anticipation, a new experience unfolding, I was about to run in race conditions with lots of other people in a Park run!
The park runs are a wonderful creation for community, camaraderie, collaboration as well as the thrill of the chase…

I had such fun… I interviewed Caroline the Run director, and Sarah who is a run director in training… And then Matthew and Steve who were taking part in the race…

And soon we were lining up…

I absolutely loved the experience. The spirit of the group lent itself to synergy, the combined shared energy becoming more than the individual energies added up… The space lent itself to something bigger and brighter happening… Magic!

Competition at its best allows us to discover that we have more within us than we ever realised.

I certainly ran faster than I have been doing, and didn’t feel the ground beneath my feet much… Until the end…

Then my feet felt very tingly and tender!

I have a sense of childlike pride and delight, like I have done something I didn’t know I could do, and I totally loved interviewing people before and after the race…

Anadi and I set off to run back to the stables, our lovely little apartment which we stay in when we are in London…
But we walked because my feet hurt!

When I am actually running I feel more free and flowing bio mechanically than I have in years, but my soles still have some practising to do…

Barefoot feels a very natural way to be for me…

Of course our ancestors ran in bare feet to survive… However because we have worn shoes for so long, if barefoot running does appeal, then we must take is super super slowly and be fully committed to doing the foot exercises, strength and conditioning and drills to support the feet as they strengthen and take off…

As we sat in the Larder cafe drinking wonderful coffee and enjoying the special ‘Larder breakfast’ and my favourite almond croissants, the Park run results came through on my phone!

What an incredible system, and what a huge way of connecting and communicating through the joy of friendship on the run.

And so I have ‘begun again’, my first race in bare feet, a new line in the sand!
I discovered that I ran 24.02, that I was the third female to cross the line and the first female in the 55-59 category…

The essence of my energy is the joy of finding out, the spirit of the chase, the race…

And at the core of this, the silence within, and the stillness within the movement.

Abide in the heart…

Yesterday afternoon I lay on the roof in the sun.
I lay there for an hour or so feeling the sun on my body and the feel of the cool hard tiles supporting me…

In the morning I had set off for a run, but the run didn’t happen…

Instead I walked on the firm wet sand to the shore, and then stood with the water lapping over my feet, watching the surfers further out catch a wave while it was big, travelling swiftly to the shore… By the time it reached me it was just a small movement of swirling sparkling joy.

Then I had a thought that I might run in the sand dunes, but instead, on reaching them I lay down on the sand in one of the little alcoves made of stones…

They are everywhere on the edge of Famara beach, places to lie in the sun and escape the lively wind, which whips about playfully making its presence known on this island…

A stream of sportspeople come here, to cycle and run with the winds dance, knowing that this game is all part of the experience here…

but yesterday I lay out of the wind on the sand in the sun, and enjoyed my lying down running meditation.

I thought my body might feel more like a run in the afternoon, but instead I found myself making myself to the sunny roof top and lying down again…

A lying down day…

I love the part in the film ‘Gregory’s girl’ where the couple are lying down together under a tree and they do ‘lying down dancing’…

Since watching that film many years ago, I have often engaged with lying down dancing and car dancing and sitting down dancing…

It can be fun to conduct life lying and sitting down.

I have tended through the years to be more of a sitting down ‘philosophical being’, than a ‘doing being’. I love café philosphique… I love watching plays and musicals at the theatre, and I love just being in places watching the theatre of life…

This might sound a contradiction to a lifetime of running.

But my running has always been a place of investigation for me, a place of finding out how to be still in the step, to watch the theatre of life on the move… To explore the true creativity which emerges from us, whatever that might be, without any attachment to an outcome.

This doesn’t mean not practising and practising, committing to whatever is needed to allow the music within us it’s soaring heights… But it is offering it, rather than producing it with the hope of adulation, fame, adoration….

Our job is to nurture and grow our creative energy, and witness what unfolds. If the mind gets in the way deciding an outcome ahead, then tension can arise…

This doesn’t mean not having a goal or a destination in mind, but it is being willing to hold the dream lightly, and be open to a different route entirely emerging….

This way we will be at peace with whatever happens… If our creative expression becomes know by the whole globe or by just a few, our practise will be at peace.
It is simply surrendering our gifts to the divine as spoken by Ramana – I like these words very much :

“Place your burden
at the feet of the Lord of the Universe
who accomplishes everything.
Remain all the time steadfast in the heart,
in the Transcendental Absolute.
God knows the past, present and future.
He will determine the future for you
and accomplish the work.
What is to be done will be done
at the proper time. Don’t worry.
Abide in the heart and surrender your acts
to the divine.”

Ramana Maharshi

Tread Lightly…

Today I walked on the beach, feeling the lovely wet sand under my slightly sore feet… I left Anadi stretching on the shore, and walked further along the expansive terrain… After watching the surfers warming up and paddling a bit, I joined him to chant ‘Nam Myoho Renge Kyo’ 108 times in the shelter of the rocks.

A perfect start to the day with café con leche and tostada beckoning….

Yesterday I ran nine miles on a mixture of road, a bit of trail that proved extremely ‘ouchy’, and finishing with two miles on the beach… This is the furthest I have ever run without shoes.

In terms of effects on the body it feels more like having run about 13 miles, and it was harder on my soles, hence a rest day today…

Running barefoot asks that I maintain my form even more thoroughly than when I wore shoes, even though they were always light ones to suit my natural forefoot style.

But running ‘sans shoes’ feels different again… I am loving the connection to the earth, and feeling the different sensations of the ground beneath me.

I am reminded viscerally to tread lightly… To look after myself, and to be conscious of the effect of my tread on others, and the land I walk on.

In effect to stay in the step.

To step consciously and lightly in every moment, and to be aware of the moment… To stay silent in the step, clearing away any tremor which arises from within, during our daily round of the sun.

‘Running to learn’ is a lifetime journey for me, and I find now as I am stepping into a new space in my life, that I am witnessing a vast vista opening in this very moment.

I find that the Zen of running is more of my experience of running than ever… I am running in a race that has no starting line and no finishing line, where even beyond knowing that I am not a better person if I win or a lesser person if I lose… Beyond this, I know that I cannot win or lose, because there is no competition.

Freeing myself over the years from the need for approval or fear of disapproval has liberated me.
It can liberate us all, to rather than wonder how we will be received and perceived, instead to simply offer our gifts….

And witness what unfolds …

And of course, as through the years as have shed the fear of failure, I find myself looking forward with great anticipation to the next race, the next challenge along the road less travelled, to seeing what is possible from the silence within…

There are no limits when there is no start or finish… Only this moment