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Running on Gratitude

Of all the things running breeds for me, I am probably most grateful for the GRATITUDE (no pun intended) that has flooded back into my life. More on how that started another time, but start it did, and now it's a pretty natural part of my thoughts. Four years ago when I found my way into the gym, I had only a thread of hope left about my life and how it could go forward. And it seems as if in the process of building my body strength back up, my hope strengthened. I got stronger and stronger, and the stronger I became physically, the more threads of hope there were. The more weight I could lift, the more my capacity for emotional and mental heavy lifting grew. But running is my real teacher, and running bred GRATITUDE. Running offers the best metaphors to match the actual experiences: running from something, running to something, running by something, running over something, running after something, running for something. It gave me rest days, and work, and pushing, and easy days, and injuries, and plateaus. All of these literal parts of running had matching life lessons, but none so constant, or big, or life altering as GRATITUDE. As my running builds and progresses, so does my GRATITUDE. And where I use to have to put conscious effort into GRATITUDE, it is now beginning to snowball and take on a life of its own. Sometimes that actually feels scary, and I’m not sure why. But I’m not going to stop that train.

So, this morning I woke up into the overwhelming feeling of GRATITUDE— GRATITUDE for: a warm bed, time, health, orange twinkly lights, coffee early in the morning, coffee mugs, people who care enough to keep me accountable, writing, a room of my own, quiet mornings, an abundance of ideas, books I’ve read, books I want to read, pumpkins, apples, my new running shoes, clean laundry…

But topping the list today is RUNNING. Every bit of running—the physical challenge, the mental challenge, the physical benefits, the mental benefits…the lessons, the passion, the endless learning, the frustrations, that elusive but intoxicating state of flow—but mostly the gift of GRATITUDE that continues to grow and weave itself into every fiber of my life.