BEing relaxed

April 6, 2015

Do you ever experience pain when doing your favorite hobby?  How do you handle it?

My hobby is trail running.  I enjoy short or very long runs in the redwoods and hills north of San Francisco.  Every time I run I experience bliss and release and at least some physical pain.  For example, yesterday morning a few of us ran up and around Mount Tam in Mill Valley, CA.

The bliss and release:

  • We left before dawn, wore headlamps and experienced a lunar eclipse and Bay Area sunrise.
  • We caught up with one another, de-stressed, connected and laughed tons.
  • We got to take deep breaths and re-center in nature.
The physical pain:
  • 75 minutes into the run we started our descent from the East Peak and the outer part of my left knee started hurting.
  • The more I felt the pain, the more I tensed up, the more I gave fear strength and lost perspective
  • Skip yoga & deep stretching for a month = short IT bands = angry knee on big hilly run.  :(
Before I knew it the physical pain and the fear mindset associated with it was dominating my experience.  When I mentioned the pain to my friend he said, “just relax down your body from your head to feet as you run”.  Though he said it partly joking, I tried it and it helped.  I could actually feel the pain easing when I consciously relaxed.  I kept reminding myself to relax vs. tense up.  I relaxed and connected with the presence of the beauty and friendship around me vs. the pain and fear.
Note, I didn’t:
  • Oppose or fight the pain causing even more,
  • Take flight or hitch-hike home avoiding it all,
  • Attempt to ignore or block out the pain,
  • Freeze and do nothing.
I accepted the pain as a teacher, adjusted how I let it effect me and constantly guided my awareness back to the present.  Instead of letting my reminder-to-relax dressed as knee pain block BEing, I chose BEing and grounded myself back in the the bigger picture…the:
  • Majesty of the lunar eclipse
  • Life altering sunrise rising over the Bay
  • Fulfilling conversation with close friends
I believe this approach can be applied to life beyond active hobbies.  For example, if you have a difficult or painful relationship in your life at work or home try applying the same approach.  Let personalities that challenge you educate you, but not dominate you or drag you away from your true nature.  Accept them for simply being them while focusing your mind and heart on the bigger picture…the BEing that’s possible for all of us.
ASSIGNMENT:  Next time you feel physical pain or a challenging personality, see how you handle it. Consider applying some of the ideas shared in this post.  Journal like crazy about the whole thing.  Share your experience with someone you trust that fills you up.  :)





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