The Running Spirit – Mike Kuba

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The Running Spirit

Down the road, into the woods and onto the snowy trail they went. They ran up and down hills, around stumps, over and through streams. The boys huffed, puffed, laughed, and sweated their way through the chilly morning air and their personal histories. Deer tracks, turkey tracks, and runner tracks were the morning’s evidence of God’s creatures.

Effort was followed by effortlessness. Free flowing mind was followed by focused concentration. Laughter was followed by silence except for the rhythm of the pace and the woodpecker’s distant tapping. They were on the move not to get anywhere, but because moving is living. As singer and songwriter Harry Chapin wrote, ” It’s got to be the going not the getting there that’s good.”

The boys are having a great time by any measure. By numbers they probably average 10, 52, 9. That’s shoe size, age, and minutes per mile. Now you know, they are not boys, but you couldn’t convince them of that as they surge down the trail. You see, the activity of running releases them from time. Their bodies periodically remember the physical and mental flexibility of youth and re-enact it. This is one of the gifts that keep the “old boys” running down the road and into the woods. They have no delusions. They are not trying to be young. They just know what they can do to give themselves the gift of feeling and being more alive. It helps them journey down life’s road. And like life they usually end up where they start, except when they enter new territory. Then they are never really lost, just temporarily misplaced. It’s the spirit of running that keeps them going and gets them home again. Tired and refreshed.

Too often, people run to lose weight and get in better shape. Those are certainly valuable outcomes, but they are not good reasons to run. Run because your bodymind needs movement. Run because it helps you get in touch with your internal rhythms. Run because you can focus on the beauty of Nature. Run because you can spend time with a friend or loved one. Run with your children because together you’ll learn about each other. Run because it helps you remember you are alive in ways other than your job or your roles in life. Run because it can be a prayerful, life-affirming activity.

Run, so you can more intimately know life’s wisdom.
It takes effort to experience effortlessness.
It takes concentration to allow your mind to go free.
It takes movement to have your world stand still.
It takes breathlessness to improve your breathing.
It takes patience to quicken your pace.

Submitted by:
Mike Kuba
Dir. Counseling
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Buckhannon, WV 26201

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