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Thursday, June 13, 2013

You're Pulling On Me Like The Moon...

This is going to sound stupid;  I am well aware of that fact at this very moment.  Growing up I did not always have the cognitive ability I have now (meaning that currently. my mind never shuts down).  I remember the first time I actually took the initiative of thinking for myself and for me, it was in my parents' yard, at twelve years old, on the riding lawn mower for the first time...  No kidding.

I have always had an imagination and as a kid, was always doing something instead of staying in the house.  At that age, I was jumping my Honda ATC125M over anything I could find on my family's property until I ruined the transmission (whoops) and had to move to the Suzuki ATV.  Riding an off-road vehicle takes concentration in a way because you have to shift gears, brake, lean, and pay attention to what you are doing.  Then one day my mom asked if I wanted to try the riding lawn mower and I quickly figured out using that was nothing like the ATC/ATV.  Lawn mowers are simple contraptions and they take little concentration.  You pick a gear, let go of the clutch pedal and steer it at speeds below ten miles per hour;  it is boring.  

Growing up in the 1990's, I did not have an iPod with noise-cancelling earbuds to listen to.  I did have a portable CD player, but back then they all skipped if you so much as looked at them sneeringly from a distance, much less hold it while on a mower.  Walkmans had radios, but the antennas were junk if you were moving around, not to mention the headband style headphones had the audio clarity of boiled cabbage.  Nope, when I was a kid and mowed the lawn, I had nothing to do but think.  Being able to think without distraction opened up my head a little bit more and I started paying more attention to myself.  Then nearly fifteen years went by and somewhere along the way came better portable music I could surround myself with during mundane tasks; along with college, jobs, and everything else, I eventually stopped thinking for myself.
 Until about nine months ago, when I showed up here:
 The Greenway, right above my house.  The fact that I was very much overweight at the time helped push me to run, but that is not what this blog is about.  No, the real thing I realized is how running, jogging, or even walking by yourself can put you in a much more peaceful and thought-provoking mindset for the better.  Of course, when I began this whole process (walk before you run, right?) I had my nice earbuds and my iPod going and I would hit the path with some good music blaring the entire time.  This went on for a few weeks until something snapped and I started paying a little more attention to the simple things.
I saw this:
Yes, that is a harvested hay field that runs adjacent to one of the boardwalks on the greenway.  That is the only hay field on the entire greenway.  I passed it by over a dozen times when it was growing, but only noticed the peaceful nature of my surroundings after it had been cleared.  It was in that moment that I took out my earbuds and decided to turn off my music for a while.  Sure, I did (and still do) listen to music when I run, but on that day, I decided it was necessary for me to take a mile or so out of each run to turn off the distractions in my ears and pay attention to the thoughts in my head.
During this time, I was on Facebook constantly.  Daily status update, random trolling, sarcastic commenting, and I would always "check in" at whatever trail-head I started my run for that day.  I liked the encouragement, I enjoyed when my Facebook friends would give me the support and click the "like" button, until I realized that is not what the running was about.  Sure, I wanted to lose weight and be healthier and all of that was happening very quickly, but somewhere inside, I knew that what had to be in my best interest during that time was myself.  What Facebook had to say no longer mattered to me and I was doing this for nobody else;  if not for the health reasons, for my own sanity.
Sometimes I go for a run in the early mornings, when the fog is still rising from the valleys and the sun has just started to rise.  I ran to the top of a hill a few months ago to take the picture above so that I could send it to my friend who lives in the city now.  That was a thought I would have only experienced had I made the choice to think for myself and turn off the distractions.
I would have missed this event at a later date, after my run, if I had not made the decision of getting away for myself a priority.

Some people think that I have stopped running because I do not check in on Facebook anymore.  Others assume I have stopped because I no longer bring it up.  The truth is, I still run, but I figured out that I need to do what is best for me for the right reasons instead of looking for someone to boost my ego about it as I had been doing.  My runs have become more about allowing myself to think and expand on what is happening in my life or could happen in the future than any health goals I had before.  This time alone and with moments of relative silence has allowed me to reflect on those I really care about and those who I know will stick with me.  I have also figured out many people I needed to write out of life as a result of those instances.  

What was my point?  I stepped back and wanted to do better.  I wanted to escape and allow myself to think without other distractions.  I never want to be "good enough" for myself or others I care about because I would rather try to be better, try to do better, and try to be more positive.  
I am still not doing a good enough job, and I know that.  There are still people I want to do more for and keep falling out of line when I should be pushing to help them.  
The people in my life who I hold in high regard are small in number, but large in purpose.
I want them to know I care and I want to show it.
I do not care if anything I do is appreciated.
They need to know their importance.
This is what I think about.
This is why I run.

Grace and Peace,

The title of this blog came from the lyrics in this song:



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