Running used to be a struggle for me. But now it helps me to go into a state of ‘flow’ and to embrace an uplifting-kind of freedom.
I speak often at events or pen magazine columns, inspiring Kiwis to take on health and fitness goals. So, I often talk about the ‘why’ behind my running (and love of yoga).
Yes, running for me is a physical activity to get the body moving and fit. It's a lifestyle choice that helps with my wellbeing and (hopefully) longevity. But it’s so much more than that.
I don’t run because of the way I want to ‘look’, but rather the way I want to ‘feel’.
It’s ‘me time’. It’s a time to ‘reset’. I escape and put my never-ending to-do-list on hold. Actually, running actually takes me to another place ‘mentally’. I'm not running away either; Running helps me find ‘me’.
Running is a time when I dream. It’s when my head clears and I come up with solutions and lots of my best, creative thoughts.
I find ’flow’. Some runners call it being ‘in-the-zone’. It’s the same thing.
It’s how I find my ‘happy place’.
I went there, in fact, today. I dragged my body out of bed early this morning to go for a run. I put my sneakers and fitness gear on and headed out the door before daylight. It’s always a struggle to start! But after a few minutes, sometimes longer, I can get into a rhythm. I lose track of time and place and go into a happy state. I'm attuned to the moment and feel joyful. The joy links to a feeling of freedom, and gratitude that my body can do this sport. But there’s so much at play here too. The fresh air is invigorating. I love seeing beautiful sights (like being up high over-looking Auckland city when I get to the top of Mt Eden). Because I’ve been running now for a while, I can run with ease. This helps me to enter flow too, ie it helps to be good at something to help you get in that state of ease. If you are not good at a task then you are more prone to worrying about doing it right.
I can find joy in running in the sunshine or rain. Not so much in thunderstorms though. Yes, I have done this! Half way through the Queenstown Marathon one year it became stormy. Actually, I ran pretty fast that day to get out of that weather bomb.
However, running is not the only way you can enter flow. You can find it through so many different ways. Some people enter flow through knitting, playing an instrument, painting, dancing or learning. It’s about finding something you love to do and that interests you. It's about finding something that resonates with you.
This is important, because doing something you love helps you to reset, feel calm and look after yourself. If you are happy and get to do things you love – then the spinoff is you can better help others around you.
I think of it like being on an aeroplane. You put on your own oxygen mask first in an emergency and then you can best help others around you. You need to look after you first. That's most important.
So, find something you love to do or that interests you. Make time for it in your life and enjoy the journey. It will help you to be the best you.
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