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Personal Musings

The meditation of running

Running is an act of meditation

How far, how fast you run matters little. One foot in front of the next the only measurement worth taking. Run for yourself, for your family, for those who no longer can. Run for those who have passed on. Pace yourself. Push yourself. If you need to rest, rest. If resting on the green grass calls you, heed its calling. If the sky is blue, notice its beauty. Note the individual clouds. Hear the birds sing their melodic songs along the path as you run. Feel the breeze against your cheeks. Breathe the fresh air into your being: nose, mouth, lungs. Exhale.

If you begin to cramp, breathe in deeply as you expand your stomach outward to its fullest point. Do this three times as you continue running. Have no destination in mind. Run until your body tells you to stop, not when your body begins to ache. As Ernest Hemingway said, “Stop when you are going good.”

Running is an act of meditation. Mental and physical liberation. Meditate on the body. And when you are done, let your body rest in gratitude at what you have achieved, be it one mile, five miles, ten miles. Thank your body for its strength, its movement, its sweat, exhaustion. Grab a handful of almonds, fix a bowl of rice, peanuts, and pickles — and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

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By Jeffrey Pillow

Jeffrey Pillow is an American short story writer, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of The Lady Next Door. His writing has been published in Urge Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, 16 Blocks, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, TheBody.com, New York Times, Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He grew up in the small town of Phenix, Virginia, population: 200, and now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Mozzarella Cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he was a Rainey Scholar. This is his blog.