Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Core Of Being

To me there is nothing quite as exhilarating as heading outside and exploring new trails, feeling the thrill as I navigate over foreign terrain, feeling the adventure of getting lost but always finding the right trail again.
... And so it was today. I explored trails around the "Vierwaldst√§tterSee", literally running from lake to summit. I ran upstream over rocks and through water until I found the snow that was melting into a gushing river. I tangoed with the cows on the lush grassy fields. I (not so) gracefully stacked it down a rocky descent... (always the sign of a successful trail adventure).

Running uphill is not my forté but I love it because it challenges me to improve, for the wonderful views I get rewarded with and for the thrill of the downhills. As I was, what felt like, gliding up this sweet single track trail, I couldn't help but notice how much stronger I felt. I felt like I wasn't batteling the incline, rather I was running with it. I noticed how my hips were propelling me forward and my upper body being far more upright than usual, allowing more oxygen to fill my lungs and letting my legs stride freely beneath me.
Because I am fascinated with the mechanics of the body I started to analyze what had happened, and it was a simple answer - my physical core had grown stronger over the winter months where I, predominantly, totted uphill in soft, fluffy snow.

As so often, one thought provokes another and I began to think about the Core Of  Being. The physical core is just one component of our being. I believe we need to exercise, not only, the visible core (physical) but also our internal cores like our mental, emotional and spiritual cores. They all channel into our main Core Of Being. As I am writing this I am struggling to find the words to describe what our Core Of Being is, but I can see it in the shape of a tree; a tree doesn't only have one root that makes it stand steady, confidently and strongly in its world, it has many roots that contribute to its Being. For the tree to withstand storm and drought, sunshine and rain, snow and the cold, the tree's roots need to be nourished, nurtured and strengthened.

We are that tree and we need to be aware of the strength and health of our roots because they create equilibrium in our lives and being.

For the first time in a long time I was hoping that the summit was still far away. I began to realize that my strengthened (physical) core didn't necessarily mean that running was easier, because you can push yourself to another level, but I felt a new strength and stability which gave me confidence in myself.

Strengthening your Core Of Being doesn't mean you will float effortlessly through life, but you will feel yourself stand stronger, you will find your Center Of Gravity within yourself.

Being aware of your Core Of Being is learning to know yourself.
Knowing yourself is learning to Love yourself.
Loving yourself is, arguably, the most important root that leads to your Core Of Being, because thats where your love for life and people stems from.

Life is never stagnant, it is always moving... sometimes we battle the uphills and other times we float up them effortlessly. Awareness of self is the key to Being!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring in my step

Waking up to the cheerful chirping of the birds in the morning, smelling the sweet earthy scents of  nature as it sheds its white winter coat and feeling the tickle of the sun on your sking - Welcome Spring!!

Yesterday was the first day you could actually describe as spring. The sun was extending its warm rays from its blue canvas, you could hear the trickle of the streams as the snow melted into them setting them into motion again, and by the end of the day people were wearing a rather red sunkissed makeup, men and women alike.

I was lucky enough to have scored an extended lunchbreak so, naturally, I laced up my running shoes and set foot on the semi snow/semi mud covered trails. It was warm enough to get out the 3/4 tights and tanktop, and after many months of wearing multiple layers it was reviving to feel the sun dance around on my bare skin. Running at this time of the year isn't easy as it is more like a slush-fest than anything else. But I love it because it adds to the adventure. The fact that the snow is soft and deep means that you get the occasional surprise of sinking, waist deep, into the snow feeling the little grains of ice biting at your legs (the downside of 3/4 tights).

I decided to just run and see how far I could get in the 2hours I had available to play with. I ran up paths, ski slopes and trails that I had run over multiple times this winter in the most various conditions, at the most various times. These familiar paths caused me to daydream or, what I like to call, meditate in motion, where I let my mind wander in freedom without trying to dictated its direction.
Images of running under a blanket of stars on a carpet of white powder snow, running along the base of the valley being chased by a farm dog, cresting the top of the mountain in the wee hours of the morning anticipating the sunrise that awoke the snow into a glittery coat and meeting amazing people along the way flashed before my eyes.

On my early morning runs there was a farm I ran past, and around 6am the farmer was in the barn  milking his cows. I saw him a few times at the beginning of the season and we, tentatively, exchanged a word of good morning. As my passing became more regular the tentative good morning became a familiar word of good morning until the day he called me over and offered me a glass of fresh milk. At first I wanted to say a polite "no, but thankyou for the offer", but instead I accepted with a "yes please". It was the most lush and pure thing I had tasted in a long time, and it made me realize why I run - for these simple, unexpected moments of pleasure. Throughout the winter I would have drunk a good few liters of fresh milk, accompanied by a chat and a laugh with the generous farmer, watching as the mountains slowly emerge from the dark sky and hearing the cows chanting their own song in the barn.

I  awoke out of my trance and glared up at the sky seeing a cluster of colorful specs floating around, paragliders enjoying spring from above. I took a moment and climbed onto a snow covered roof to enjoy the view and the beautiful setting mother nature had created. I then made my way home feeling how that run had given me more than it had taken from me. I felt the need to get out there again and absorb more of this amazing day (its free energy after all), so after work I laced up another pair of running shoes and began to trott up the mountain to my favorite spot that overlooks the village. I left my iPod behind, instead running to the rhythm of nature; the sound of the melting snow, the songs the birds were singing, the sound of the slush and mud beneath my shoes, the sound of PEACE.

Yesterday I felt like I was springing from winter into spring, taking with me all the wonderful memories that add color and structure to my picture of life.