Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Blessings of Running: Senses

Lately, I've been feeling a little down. Besides feeling an emotional ennui, I've also been dealing with a lot of aches and pains. Running has not been easy.

A couple of weeks ago, I caught part of an On Being episode on the radio as I was driving. The interview was so intriguing, I had to wait in my driveway to finish a section of the interview.

Long story short, I downloaded the podcast, "The Inner Landscape of Beauty." On that episode, Krista Tippett interviewed John O'Donohue, an Irish poet and philosopher. O'Donohue's thoughts, blessings, and poetry spoke to me. While I could write about O'Donohue, the On Being episode, and his book "Anam Cara" for much longer than you would read, I'll instead share some thoughts on one of his blessings.

Running has truly blessed me, and though it's been more painful and less fluid recently, it's still been a needed escape. Here is one of O'Donohue's blessings from his book "Anam Cara."

"A Blessing for the Senses"
May your body be blessed.
May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful 

  friend of your soul.
And may you be peaceful and joyful and recognize that your 

  senses are sacred thresholds.
May you realize that holiness is mindful, gazing, feeling, 

   hearing, and touching.
May your senses gather you and bring you home.
May your senses always enable you to celebrate the universe 

  and the mystery and possibilities in your presence here.
May the Eros of the Earth bless you.

– John O’Donohue in "Anam Cara"

Being mindful takes practice. Feeling my feet on the ground when I run, directing my gaze on a solitary spot, or allowing my thoughts and my body to be still are not easy for me.

Still. Being present is food for the body and spirit. Walking, running, or being still without the buzz of a radio, the mindlessness of a smart phone, or the intrusiveness of a television seem foreign to many people.

I'll end with a poem of my own:


My senses are full,

 Minnesota summer air
 humidity and sweat clinging to my shirt.
 listening to 
   hum of traffic, 
   whistling of waterfowl in flight.

   respiration of trees 
   fresh mowed grass.

   flowing waters of the Mississippi 
   an egret creeping in the shallows.

these are enough for my senses.

Run well.

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