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running for spirit

When the table turns: running for spirit

by Judy
January 5, 2015

As the weather got cooler in South Florida, I started to run in the mornings and/or evenings and since then, I have gotten an Ipod and have been running with music. I am definitely not a natural born runner nor do I have a runner’s body, but when I run on this soft artificial grass right outside my mom’s apartment with uplifting music – gospel Jamaican reggae or joyful African music – I do feel like I am running for God like the Scottish athlete and missionary in the movie “Chariots of Fire.” I think it helps to keep me sane, uplifted and to see through the machinations of the mind that are so good at finding problems, projecting unreality unto the future. Everyone in their life needs these activities, whether they are looking after their aging mother or not…we need activities that uplift, renew, and restore the spirit.

It’s the Christmas season, the New Year, and no matter what one’s religion or non-religion, it really is a time to deepen, reflect, and start again. This goes on all the time but at this time of year there is an added focus.

This morning while running I realized there is more to the story. There is something very strengthening about committing to an activity that one knows is good for one’s health and well-being, be it physically, emotionally or spiritually, and sticking to it. It’s about patience and consistency which does add character and confidence. I don’t consider myself a particularly disciplined person – perhaps many people are not so disciplined in this day and age – and so to be consistent, not perfectly consistent but fundamentally consistent, gives me a sense of being in tune with the Universe and myself.

When I run, I also reflect – it just naturally occurs – and being so close to the fading life of my mom only adds to this contemplation. Her candle is growing dim, but mine is still burning and burning brightly even though I am in my sixties which for some seems old and for others will still seem relatively “young.” I feel, perhaps for the first time, a sense that time is limited, but this does not instill in me worry, or “Live now for tomorrow you will die” – no, nothing like that. If anything, it instills in me the desire to go deeper into life – to understand more, explore more the nature of consciousness and connect with those who have lived and contemplated this life before me. It’s also the desire to jump into the mystery and unfathomable never ending question of who am I, who are we and what is this life all about, knowing we can never answer the question, but just by asking we enter a different sphere which brings humility and an open heart.

Tonight my mom was particularly awake and we had some very funny conversations, partly because my mom doesn’t hear so well and therefore misconstrues words that I say to her. She said to me that she is getting hard of hearing. I told her – speaking loudly – that she thankfully could still hear and it was better to hear than not. She answered by saying, “I don’t know about that. If one is very sick, it’s better to not be here.” Then I realized she had gotten hear and here confused and interpreted what I said in her own way. When I told her what had happened, we both laughed a lot.

My mom also said to me tonight, when speaking about the cemetery where she will be buried, that she is ready to go. She said this in a very simple way. She speaks so easily about leaving this world. I am always amazed.

Sometimes it seems so strange that it’s so lighthearted here much of the time. Should it not be more “serious” being with my mom at the ending of her life, but it isn’t and that is really because of how my mom is and her relationship to death. It is lighthearted and also underneath the lightness, there is a seriousness as well. I am acutely aware of the preciousness of time and at the same time life goes on as usual. Both are there. As the New Year approached, I bought some French Champagne and we toasted to life, love, health and a good year! We all drank very little, but it was metaphorically our way to quietly celebrate another year spent together.

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