Living Green Health is really focussed towards our greatest expression of health. Our greatest expression of health by living our lives in an integral alignment and in harmony with the interconnectedness systems within us, and those without us – those that surround us: nature and the planet that we inhabit and depend upon.
So, why running? What’s running got to do with this model of ‘green living’?!
Running is a brilliant teacher. And it maps onto this interconnected pattern in fabulous ways.
Yes, it can teach us determination, perseverance and to focus on a future goal; edging step by step – literally! – towards something to which we’ve committed. It teaches us to commit!
Running also teaches us to step up to the challenge, to reach further and to dig deeper than we thought we were ever capable of and it can bring us a huge amount of simple satisfaction in doing just that. The satisfaction which is driven from the inside (rather than some external markers, like following an exam…’oh you passed!’, or even after a race, ‘well done, you finished!’).
The satisfaction comes from, ‘I achieved that. Me. I did that…and I even didn’t know that I could!’
(We continue to reap this satisfaction until, of course, we start becoming blasé about our achievements…and expect more and more from ourselves, over and over again! Then running can become a source of frustration, keeping us at bay from what we ‘expect’ from ourselves…
Oh, how hard we are on ourselves…over and over again?!)
And because we don’t get paid to make the effort to get out there and start running – in fact we invariably end up paying for the privilege (!?) – this self-driven, self-determined, ‘extra’ in our lives can offer us a means to escape the pressures of the day to day, to strip away our stresses and to bring us back into our own sense of balance.
(Until it tips us into imbalance, and we’re not longer able to rid ourselves of a bad mood if – heaven forbid – we’re laid up and not able to run for a spell!)
And brilliant! Running offers us all of these things. It’s such a natural, fundamentally free thing, and the movement, the rhythm, getting out in the fresh air are all essential to fuelling our health.
And yet with most things that infiltrate western culture, they become corrupted in some way…
It’s not just the shoes and the gadgets, and the extortionate race fees. Yes, it’s the gadgets. And not just because they’ve turned this wholly natural activity in a money pit.
But because they’ve taken away the most fabulous opportunity to connect with ourselves.
And this is the greatest teaching that running offers…
Connecting to ourselves
Connecting to ourselves. Yes, connecting to running buddies for motivation, to being a part of a running club for real camaraderie… Yes, to savouring the atmosphere and being a part of some really big event; one essential element of the collective experience. Yes, to all of that, but mostly the lessons are learnt connecting to ourselves.
Connecting to the stuff that comes up (as it will when we’re in motion)…but only when we’re unplugged from our mp3. Only when we give it our fullest attention, and are prepared to let it bubble up to the surface, let it ruminate in our huffing and puffing…allowing the tension in the hard stuff to ease…enabling the answers – our inner answers – to rise up, as they will, when we allow them, in time to our running rhythm…
Connecting to the feeling of moving. Connecting to the ease, or creating change in our movement to create more ease! Connecting to our body – our home, our external means of moving through our internal journey…
And also, yes connecting to what our injuries have to teach us! What messages do they have for us; what needs to change…? (And not just the support in our trainers, or learning how to ‘stretch’…)
But in our wholly connected world, what we experience is coming up for us; to show us something…to enable us to realign with our greater knowing. Pain that arises is there as a messenger, and it’s one of running’s most valuable assets, curiously enough!
Not in the ‘no pain, no gain’ sense! In the ‘aha, pain: what’s going on here?’ sense. What it is trying to tell me…to teach me?
But we’ll never hear it if we transfixed by strava, what pace we’re going and how fast our heart is beating… (Amazing that we can track those things, they simply distract us, not add to us.)
Hearing the messages
And we need quiet to hear the messages that running will bring to us, or to really experience to powerful healing capacity of connecting, with awe, to nature’s presence all around and to further our individual journey to freedom, and to take the impetus – the tremendous potential – to create change in our own lives…
Even though this quiet solitude is essential for our health and for our balanced health, in my experience the tremendous capacity that running offers us has always been that improvement arises when we learn from, and are supported by, others.
By learning how to let go of held tensions and old patterns, and how to adopt new, more effective and efficient, useful patterns…to facilitate empowered and positive shifts in our lives. In our physical, and mental lives…
Running is the greatest conduit
The help, not only to deeply understand what our injuries are showing us, but also how we understand ourselves and our connectedness. The connectedness to each other, but also to the connectedness of our actions and reactions, our habits and our behaviours.
Understand this and the reasons behind our motives, and we can start to heal some of the patterns that have been keeping us in pain. (Those which running particularly loves to bring up!) Be it physical or emotional pain, or in the mental chatter that informs our experience…
Running can be a great conduit to get into the deeper nitty gritty about ourselves – the stuff that we have to let go of in order to be most useful to our ourselves (and in the world!).
How is how I see it and how teach it… as a means to connecting to our greatest empowered space, fully expressed in body and mind.
If you want to start delving deeper into what our injuries are really trying to show us, check out the ebook The Road To Becoming A Better Runner: How To Change Injuries Into Your Best Running Champion