The more I let go, the more the body runs free…

I am loving my day in the sunshine…

A tranquil day without much movement so far….

I walked across the plaza and down the few steps to the beach this morning and stood in the surf; then I walked back for breakfast and I haven’t moved far since.

It is a contrast to the previous five days where I have been engaged in hours of movement – the contrast feels good.

A pause, where the recovery can happen and the clearing, the opening, the effects emerging out the process, ‘the mission’, can reveal themselves.

‘The mission’ that I embarked on, and carried out over these past few days, has felt to be a space of silence and clearing for me. A practise that has allowed for the expansion and oneness that is the truth of us all, to be experienced in my barefoot running step – even within the paradox of the limits of a body…

The irony for me, is that I always believed that I was born to run, and yet my running steps as a younger woman, were often fraught with tension and pain, and struggle…

But because on the running path, I always came face to face with my tension, because I came face to face with where I was holding on… I saw that this space was a magical enlightening space, and that if I kept running, I would not be able to run away from my pain….

That however hard the journey, I recognised it was for my growth and held the key to my freedom.

It was the reverse of running away from my pain – I knew I needed to run right into it… And so the only way to be free was to keep running and to keep letting go of all that held me…. My pain, the places of darkness where I did not and could not love myself; all these places had to be faced and loved…

The tension and self hatred had to be released…

And the more I let go, the more this body  is able to run free…

And in the running, the body paradoxically becomes conduit that reveals the truth… That we are all one; that we are all energy and that there is no separation.

For me running is the perfect practise to experience this… Even when the soreness in my feet, the frailty of the body occurred, my spirit still was free – I did not worry or fret…

And so the path keeps revealing itself, through the running steps making the road by running it….

The Mission…

It’s a bit of a rainy grey day today; but I am now inside looking out, rather than outside looking in…
I have many layers on… I have just counted them – five!
I am warm enough now, but the four I had on earlier weren’t quite enough…

I hadn’t realised it was raining when I appeared at the front door of Casablanca this morning, until Emiliano said ‘lluvia’… Ah yes! ‘Mucho lluvia’…

I went back upstairs to take my leggings off – wet skin felt a better option than soggy leggings – and to get my chaqueta… I came back downstairs and after an ‘hasta luego…’ to Emiliano, off I went into the lluvia, day two of seeing what 25k a day in bare feet will feel like…

I enjoyed the run, despite the tropical coast resembling a cold rainy day in England.

Yesterday, for day one of ‘the mission’, it was a beautiful sunny experience…. I broke the run up into ten minute sections, where I walked for the first minute and then ran for the next nine.

Running in this way creates – for me – a meditation on the move… I simply carry out the plan I’ve planned!  All I have to do is run along, ‘paso a paso’, completing a ten minute section and then doing another.. There is nothing else, until it all stops.

I have always enjoyed running alone.

It is a completely different experience to social running, which I also enjoy. Social running is like a ‘run philosophique’ where there isn’t necessarily much attention to the actual running – but more to the companionship and the dialogue, which weaves and twists in the space between, creating something new, deepening the bond, as the kilometres unfold…

But running alone, of which I have done a lot, is very different.

For me it is a space of silence… Sometimes thoughts and ideas arise up, sometimes insights or processing of events, conversations… But often – as in these last two days – there is no thought – except when I am chatting to you in my vlog of course!

Just the step, the run, the body moving along on planet earth, soul in motion.

Some years ago Anadi went to train in China for ten weeks with the Shaolin monks, and he told me that they believe running to be the best way to clear tension from the body.

I see this can be true; but it can also be a place where tension is built, especially when there is an attachment to an outcome; a goal, a time to be achieved.

This doesn’t mean that goals and aiming for times cannot be part of a meditation… In fact they can be a huge part of a meditation because it is in setting a goal that we find out how attached we are to it… And are therefore able to see where letting go, clearing , relaxing, trusting – simply staying is the step is needed….

This is how ‘the mission’ is a meditation….

Yesterday I celebrated completion of 25k covered, by paddling up to my knees in the sea…

Today I skipped the paddle at the end, as although the rain had ceased, the temperature hadn’t risen much… A hot shower felt more appealing! I did the same run as yesterday, because the dark, the rain and the low temperature meant that an easy route felt the most supportive of my plan.

Also today’s ‘meditation method’ was that I ran with a bit more intent for 5k then very easy for 1.25k… This done four times brought me home with another 25k under my belt.

My feet were a bit sore at the end, but they have all day to recover!

 

The plane my office…

My office on the plane; the plane my office…

As we sat waiting for take off, the pilot announced further delays caused by missing our slot, possibly an hour still on board, he said, until we could leave…

I never mind delays, I see them as an opportunity, it feels like somehow they give me extra time… Even when the truth is they can be taking it away the other end…

But there is nothing to be done…

One of my longest delays was a night and a day in Girona… For the same reason as this one… French air traffic control striking …

It was 9pm at night and we were just about to board when nine flights flashed up on the board as cancelled…

Chaos broke out… I stood for awhile watching and wondering which way to turn…

Needless to say, I discovered what was needed for my next move – and after three hours in a throng, otherwise described as a queue, I was booked onto a flight for the next evening… I had rearranged my appointments for the following day whilst in the mass, so I hailed a taxi and made my way into Girona to find somewhere to sleep…

The day was a delight, a warm sunny time, of unexpected silence and solitude in the sun; tranquility and ease… Drinking coffee of course and enjoying the space, the pause…

Those spaces always act as a reminder of how to live life always in the space of tranquility, of peace… Whatever is happening, to be free from the rush and push and whirl… Even in the midst of the longest ‘things to do list’, to be engaged with the space, the pause, the gap in the breath where infinity and our infinite nature can be glimpsed, recognised, dived into, expanded…

This morning I rose early, before the dawn had streaked its warm orange glow over the land. I made my way to the circular blue road and ran around and around until I had covered four miles and woken myself up in the process…

It was a companionable start to the day; a few other runners and walkers were circling like me in the dusky morning warmth… I loved every step and was reminded again how worth it, it is – getting out of bed early, when the spirit is willing but the flesh feels a little weak…!

To experience our spirit’s truth, its freedom its light, we need to open our body so that the spirit can shine through; when we move our body, it is possible to shift emotional stress and tension caught in the muscles…

If we use movement in sport, or dance or yoga, chi gung, to expand and celebrate our body, and remain conscious of an orientation of moving to release tension, it becomes easier to remember how good it feels when… ‘I don’t want to go to move, to run, to swim to stretch’, occurs….

We store our tension in our muscles, and movement isn’t necessarily a place of release… In fact how we move can deepen tension if we are unaware; and if we approach exercise in the vein of rush and push and whirl we can find it a place of misery and disappointment…

But when we listen to our muscles, to our breath, to our feet – we will be guided as to what feels good…

We will be guided so that we can let go and be free…

The earth’s energy moving through our bodies…

On Monday night I went to sleep on the West coast of Spain, Tuesday bedtime came in Malaga, last night I went to sleep on the ninth floor of the Premier Inn at Gatwick airport and tonight I am lying on a lovely big bed in a lodge in Swanage…

Four nights in four different beds; same man!

I love being ‘on the road’ and I enjoy the variety and experiencing the different energies in each place… I also like working through any disorientation, or pulls within me, away from being fully where I am…

Something that I have been working with since we set off with our home on our back; our home where we are; our home where our heart is… Is the feeling sometimes that I want to be somewhere else than where I am, but I don’t know where it is I want to be.

This feeling arises every so often and is a confusing one… But, because there is no rhyme or reason to it, I recognise it as a holding on – an attempt to create some safety, some certainty, some knowing through an outer creation of my reality… And so I know to wait and let the confusion pass out of my body…

Which it always does.

Waiting for uncomfortable feelings to pass is a practise that can help hugely when life feels hard, overwhelming, too challenging, sad, uncomfortable… All the things that life can feel on occasions…!

Waiting and fully feeling – and then waiting and seeing, is far more effective in allowing an unfolding and an understanding and clarity to reveal itself, than when we try too hard to make some sort of meaning to what we are feeling…

The feelings that pull me from where I am to somewhere else, who knows where, always pass… I find the path then reveals itself and all is well…

This morning after my Spanish lesson with Maricarmen and breakfast in Costa Coffee, we went to collect our shiny red -this time – hire car and set off to drive to visit my friend Wendy for lunch…

I also enjoy having ever changing cars; I am now used to forgetting what our car looks like and used to having to find it by clicking the unlock button and searching about for which cars lights flash… ‘Ahhh, there it is, that’s our car…!’

Verdant, delightful England; so full and ripe and rich and green. We drove through the countryside to Hampshire… And, I was surprised to find the sat nav brought me to the place where I used to run as a teenager… I joined Haslemere Border Athletics Club when I was 15 years old…

It was all boys and me… I haven’t been there for 40 years, and today the car brought us right to the edge of the field where I ran barefoot all the summers long, in 1974 and 1975, before I put any shoes on…

Round and round a grassy track, feet bare, heart free, spirit bold…

My feet brought me back today to where it had all begun…

And then to Wendy who shared those days with me; lying barefoot on the grass picking the daisies, while I raced round and round and round…

Forty years later, we meet and our feet are bare again, our spirits free… Today we danced and ran and laughed together in the rain; feeling the warmth of the earth rising up through the soles of our feet… A very special and a very new experience, a magical feeling… Fun, freedom…  The earth’s energy moving up through the soles of our feet…. Through our bodies… Pure joy…

A meditation on the move…

Anadi and I walked off the plane into the wet grey of an English summer day in July…

The airport tarmac felt warm beneath my feet, and wet too of course… But fun, a bit like the joy of jumping in puddles, play time – stepping out into wild wet windy ness… And I noticed people looking, and looking again…

Can that be true… That she is wearing no shoes?

Only a few hours ago these feet were feeling the warmth of the red brick pathway beside the beach in Malaga, and now here; murky wet mistiness.

My feet are accepting; placing themselves firmly where they are, feeling what they feel beneath their soles and adjusting to the here and the now… The ‘ouchie’ heat of the pavement, so hot in Spain by 3pm, that I would cross the road to walk in the shade – is no more; the pavement now is slippy wet, glistening grey…

But my feet are where they are; I feel no resistance. They have a wisdom of their own.

Anadi went to the office in Gatwick, and I caught a train to Brighton… I stood on the forecourt, and for split second, the world span on its axis… ‘Where am I now?’ I felt a slight sense of disorientation… ‘Is this the right place; am I where I should be…?’

But then my feet spoke…’We are always here and now; there is no where else to be…’

A few minutes later Athena Jane appeared at the barrier, and laughing with joy to see one another, we went and found somewhere for coffee and cake – and catching up too…!

Later as we stood together on the platform, Jane exclaimed… ‘Ju, you’re shivering…’ I laughed, ‘I’ve just come from 32 degrees…’

But my feet don’t mind, and they help with the transition to now. I can feel the earth beneath my feet through their soles –  I can feel where they are and I follow their lead… To enjoy being here, now…

It is one of the most written about things, to be present… To give others the gift of our presence and yet it is often the hardest thing to remain without thought right here in the nucleus of each moment;

Nucleus definition : ( I looked it up!)

‘The central and most important part of an object, movement, or group, forming the basis for its activity and growth….’

The value of the centre point, the stillness, the point right in the centre of each moment reflected within the centre of the still point in the breath and within us… And the key is that from this still point, this nucleus is where the growth and activity emerge from…

And as I place each foot down on the earth beneath my feet I am aware of each step, I cannot not feel the soles of my feet, and so it is impossible for me not to be present to their message…

Meditation in each step… An ongoing practise of a meditation on the move.

running (sport), barefoot running, the truth about barefoot running, personal training, nomadic,

On top of the world…

On top of the world, space peace…

Maggie and I sat on the top of Monte Pecho this morning as the sun rose and this is how she described being here, living in the Alpujarras…

Maggie has lived here for fifteen years, she and her husband jack wanted a change, and discovered Bubion and have been here ever since…

Space, peace…

Within us all is this space and peace, the experiences we have in nature… The silence the stillness, the beauty, the peace… The space; are all external expressions and reflections of aspects within us.

If we can feel it and experience it when we are in the mountains, or in a woodland, or by a lake or the ocean – then we can find it inside us… In the end the environment doesn’t change, it is us who discover more of the reflection we are seeing inside us…

Because thee are plenty of people living in these beautiful places who are not at peace or at ease, and who cannot find the space inside themselves.

So when we feel that joy, the peace descending as we sit in the embrace of a glorious sun rise, or a flaming beauteous sunset, when our spirits rise in seeming unison… Then it is important to notice this – and to know that this rising, this soaring of spirits, this wonder peace space is within us…

A reflection of us… And that the experience we are having, of the sound of silence, of nature al around, is simply the opportunity to know this aspect in ourselves, to embrace it and be it.

If we believe this power and glory, this peace and joy, this silence and beauty to be outside us… Then we will be forever seeking, forever looking outside ourselves for change, for excitement joy peace space…

For our growth… When it is all within.

These words are not new, you will have read this in other places and in other ways; but the concept is still very easy to reject… We blame others, the environment, politics, pain on circumstances outside our control…

However, when we truly know it, see it, breathe it be it, live it then we change the world from inside…

We become the whole world, rather than feeling we are like a feather that can be blown away in the wind, hither and thither, rained on, trodden down, dried by the sun…

When we know we are the world, we are love truth, the whole, then because we change our world, we truly see that this is the only world there is to change…

New life

The cherries are here again… shiny pink, clusters of new life. They are hanging happily from the trees in the garden of Teide restaurant where Anadi and I have shared many cafe con leche’s since we started visiting Spain three years ago.

Last summer, these beautiful trees became well acquainted with my Zen runners; we met at midday each day to sit silently in Vipassana meditation, under their leafy fruit laden boughs.

Today after my Spanish lección, Anadi and I enjoyed breakfast there with our friend Maggie. We sat appreciating their shade, wondering at the swiftness of spring turning into summer… Last week temperate promising blossoming climes, and now hot days of Spanish summer have raced in.

So hot; I am writing outside at a table under a shady canopy, and the heat is intense…

Today is global running day and as yet, not one actual step has not been run…

However, the energy of running – going for a run – is so much more than the physical act of the run.

I can remember a time twenty years ago, when I was having a lot of trouble with my troublesome left side… I felt the issues were needing some deeper work into my unconscious, so I approached a wonderful hypnotherapist called Paul Hide… He and I set off, on what turned out to be, a long and expansive journey together; until he moved away from the area some years ago now.

From the very beginning, he emphasised the importance of skull practise, and how the unconscious doesn’t know the difference between a real or imagined experience… Therefore much ‘running practice’ can be done in the unconscious…

I knew this to be true… I was already familiar with practicing ‘visualisation’ in my running to very powerful effect. I used it with greater attention one time… I hadn’t run a marathon for five years following very debilitating chronic fatigue/strange virus/ blood disorder thingy which had felled me in my late twenties…

By the time I was thirty one years old, I was ready to train for a marathon again… As the months unfolded, I found myself engaged in a night time practice, every night for many nights…!

I would lie in bed imagining myself running along the embankment; the last few miles of the London marathon, smoothly strongly, feeling good, hearing the roar of the crowd, the sun on my body, the road under my feet, running running running…

And when I was actually running the race, my body remembered… I was racing strongly smoothly down the embankment, running well, hearing the music of a roaring crowd, running fast, the sun on my body, the road beneath my feet….

So when I met Paul six years later, our work together deepened, healing the stress in my body, which had a tendency to reveal itself to me on the running road…

Once again, I recognised the value of ‘running within’; imagining the feelings of running, being on a run whilst lying down. And with Paul’s input, I went deeper into my unconscious to unravel the blocks inside me, which revealed themselves under pressure to succeed!

This work we did mirrored too my Zen orientation, of the actual running step being a meditation on the move… The step holding the space for the meditation, for the release of tension. Running itself becoming the place of healing to release. So that rather than running being a place where pressure to perform, could create tension; instead running held the possibility to allow for relaxation deepening

At a deeper meditative level Osho said the same thing… When asked if running was a meditation he answered thus:

‘Yes – use it as much as you can. If you can run then there is no need for any other meditation – it is enough’!

He also said this of lying down running….

‘Sometimes try one technique…. Just lying down on the bed, imagine that you are running. Just imagine the whole scene: the trees and the wind and the sun and the whole beach and the salty air. Imagine everything, visualise it, make it as colourful as possible….

Anything that you have liked very much, let it be there as if it is almost real; then start running in imagination – you will find that your breathing is changing. Go on running… and you can do this for miles. There is no end to it, you can do it for hours. And you will be surprised that even doing this on the bed, you will attain to those moments again when suddenly the meditation is there….’

Yesterday I shared a virtual run with Denny of Diz runs radio; he believes that the best conversations take place while running with others. And it was this belief that inspired him to create Diz Runs Radio…

On his show, he talks with other runners from every corner of the running world in exactly the same way he would talk to any new running partner during an easy few miles….!
Denny sent me a message last week, having discovered my blogs and vlogs, he asked me if I would like to ‘go for a run with him’…

I said ‘Yes’ that I would love to do that… And so we ran, last night… Me in Spain and him in Florida! It was great fun, chatting on the run with Denny and next Monday our conversation as we covered the miles will be broadcast on his show for all to join in the run with us…!

And as for today…

I have a plan, as the sun starts to make its way behind the hills I have suggested to Anadi we run again to our newly discovered ‘naked beach’, and stop there awhile, whip off our kit and immerse ourselves in the cool blue balm, swim some of our run before heading for home!

And thank you again Nick Miles for the use of your pics of me running here 🙂

 

 

Being alone…

I am having another day of solitude, I have them day after day now…

It is like a whole new chapter of a book…. Or a new part of some sort of trilogy, or a new scene in a great long never ending book… Our lives; a never ending book, split up into pages and chapters and whole new sections…

The journey in this life from birth to death…

We are all writing the story of our life as we go along, and it is recognising this, that we are writing it that is the key to creating the book of truth.

Our truth…!

Solitude is a very natural state for me; as a little girl I had a secret place under a tree at the top of the garden, all mossy under foot and hidden away from everyone else. I would sit there for hours looking out through the leaves of the tree that swept down like a curtain over my special hide away….

As the years went by I always found space for solitude, I used to feel it necessary for my very essence and survival, to have time to be, alone…

Nearly five years ago now, Anadi interviewed me about running as a meditation… I travelled to London to meet him and spoke to him about the place for meditation in my life… How I saw that meditation practise in the form of running alone, sitting alone, being alone with my breath was easy for me… I lived alone and I had created a lifestyle that supported this need for silence…

As I spoke these words, little did I know that for the next four years I was to hardly ever be alone…!

I was going to include the interview here… But Anadi has discovered that when his Mac died two weeks ago, with it he lost lots of files there wasn’t the space to back up… Our interview has gone with the lost files…

But it is the past; it doesn’t exist; it never existed…!

There is no past and future only this moment now and in this moment we can heal and transform and create both the non existent past and future!

The paradox of life is fun; an eternal zen koan, something that can only be understood by our spirit and intuition, it is not something our mind can puzzle out! And the more we know this, the easier it is to let go and be free…

Having run alone today, and now sitting, writing alone with myself, I recognise that the time of constant movement and engagement of the past four years was all part of the solitude, and a chapter in my own life book, which demonstrated to me that I didn’t need to be alone to experience silence and solitude…

I found a stillness and a joy within all that unfolded, all the souls I was engaged with, such a richness of connection, a deepening of my own inner silence within the interactions… Until suddenly it has all stopped and I see even more keenly that the whole practice of meditation is to find this silence within ourselves, to trust that the external experiences are all created by our inner state, and so to be committed to be with each and every moment and acknowledge the opportunity for insight there…

To be able to be fully in the world and truly in relationship with one another, we all need to investigate being fully alone. We are born alone and we die alone and it is in fully embracing our aloneness that we will discover our wholeness and recognise that there is no ‘other’…

The joy of this worldly illusion is in relationship, and of course the pain… The illusion of something other than us.
Once we really start to investigate the possibility that the other doesn’t exist, then we can start to look inward and transform the world through our own aloneness…

As Gandhi said… ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world…’

This isn’t an outer process, this is an inner process, in and in and in… from this place of investigation there is no need to ‘be kind’ to others or ‘think of others’… Once we are engaged with transformation from the inside out all we will transmit is love, it can be no other way….