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"Don't let your happiness depend on something you may lose." ~C. S. Lewis

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PostHeaderIcon So that happened

Ah, the best laid plans. Went to Kauai, thanks to draining Alaska Airlines miles and scrappy saving, for a yoga retreat. Was a little apprehensive for a variety of reasons – the time away from work (and would I actually not work), the cost, the cost of the activities I wanted to do, the kumbayah aspect I assumed would be a part of it, the down time to let my body and spirit breathe (I know, something to look forward to, but…) and the time away from running already, which I really have only just started to embrace fully again without my body rejecting the idea.

Therefore, I planned. A lot. To do a lot. Hmmm, maybe if I am constantly occupied, I won’t actually be faced with some very real emotions and feelings, get to keep my guard and walls up. I planned for what appeared to be free afternoons kayak trips, helicopter trips, boat trips, ziplining again as well as long runs on the beach at sunrise, extra yoga when I wanted, catching up on work and yes, writing every day on this blog. HA! How about none of that?

Imagine my surprise at doing, really, none of that. Not one run, not one ride, not one entry – hell, I didn’t flip open the lap top after the first full day there. What? Scuse me? How is that possible? How did that happen? And I was so excited mostly to get a bunch of writing done! Sigh.

Here’s what happened – Kauai took over and dropped me down into the very simplicity of the island, and the grounding yoga and I just was in the moment (as much as is possible for me.) And yes, trying not to beat myself up not “doing”, but that’s the thing. So focused on doing and being and perhaps even proving to myself, and maybe others, that I have so very much going on and do have such amazing things going on in my life that while I’ve gotten very good at creating and going after incredible opportunities however they present themselves, it doesn’t actually mean that I have to race around and always be “doing” something. And yes, I’m learning so much about being “in the moment” and enjoying the moment. That’s part of the motivation to go after not-to-be-missed opportunities (what if I don’t get this chance again? mentality) and I’m also learning a new, if you will, kind of being in the moment.

I’ve had so many aware in-the-moment events, especially with running, training and traveling for races and I love them all. As well, all my adventures in life provide those opportunities too. And no doubt a helicopter ride around and over Kauai would have been spectacular and kept me in the moment, and anything else to have seen on that magical island would have provided the same, but it suddenly became the most exquisite version of ‘in the moment’. The juicy papaya each morning, the freshly cut up pineapple each day, the coffee klatch with housemates at 7am, the yoga on the beach, the view of the ocean, the sound of wave after wave, the bubbling and rippling across class laughter during yoga, the seemingly unending flow of tears at time, the surrender to an emotional onslaught and just letting it take over for, being truly present, the subtle feel of resisting and then not the confusion of life – not needing the answer right this second, the smell of the earthy pungent guavas for miles in the jungle, the feel of the street or the beach under bare-feet-for-days, the strength from a held hand or heart to heart hug or sweet encouraging smile, the out of nowhere we-have-so-much-in-common conversation, the easy conversation with a stranger-but-not local, the never-tiring majestic view of the mountains, the victory of the, for me, near-perfect chaturanga dandasana, the instant relaxation of floating in the salt water, undulating with the waves, the fresh local simple and delicious food flavors, the delight of another rainbow spotted, the embrace of another quick storm of warm raindrops nearly always perfectly timed, the recognition you’re not alone, the understanding head nod from a new friend, the Saturday morning yoga where I was truly naturally present for 100 straight minutes, the heady rush of jumping in a cold waterfall pool and the amazement swimming right underneath the falls which nature had everything to do with and man nothing, the relaxation of a group dynamic falling into place, the quiet mornings punctuated by roosters, the perfume-y never-duplicated scent of plumeria, honeysuckle and tuberose, the vibrant colors of flowers, trees, ocean, coves, ponds, sky, clouds, mountainsides, the gentle breeze and sway of the surrounding trees, the slowed-down breath of watching the silent sunset.

And just writing that now, I understand better why Kauai took me by the shoulders and essentially benched me for my own good. It’s ok I didn’t run, it’s ok I didn’t write and it’s more than ok I just…was. If there’s any one place to do just that, it’s there. So used to going, doing, being, rushing around to see and do all, and here I just stopped literally smelled the flowers. So much of the island I didn’t see. And that’s ok. I promised myself I will go back someday. And not to check off all the things on my lists of “to-dos” over there, but to capture some of that magic that Hanalei Bay and Kauai so readily and unselfishly offers. To check back in and say “chill the f out my friend!”

Since I’ve been back the knowledge that race #10 is right around the corner has taken hold (crap, am I close to ready?), as has work and general life stuff. So now how to still bask in the moment, reach to feel grounded, stay present as best as possible? Well, learned a few things and while it can’t be duplicated, I can tap into some of the more, if I may say, zen moments of the experience and close my eyes and place myself back there, if just for a minute. And take a deep breath.

And I will write more and do more and be more and play more and work more and run more and laugh more and cry more and love more and experience more. And I will also breathe more. Mahalo, Kauai, for a truly special week. I’m ever grateful for the time, the experience, the beauty and more. If I could offer a piece of that place to everyone, I would.

On a side but not unrelated note: Ok, life, I get it. You think I made good lemonade. In fact, apparently I make fantastic lemonade. Hell, I think I could write a bestselling cookbook of lemonade recipes. Got it. Could I ask a teensy favor? Could you please stop hurling those lemons for said lemonade at my head and heart at 90 miles per hour? Or even a break would be nice. That lemon fast ball is impressive, the curve ball mindblowing. It’s just I may run out of creative recipes and my arm is getting a little tired stirring. Thanks, much appreciated. However, yes, sure makes life interesting, so if you keep pitching, I’ll keep making lemonade. Anyone want some thai basil blueberry guava lemonade?

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