Yesterday was the beginning of our video release, and admittedly, I’m a bit nervous and a bit excited. But what I’ve learned through meditation, and through mindful running, is how to watch the emotions, rather than be a participant in them, or put another way, to go to the circus without needing to jump through the rings.
Watching your emotions or becoming the observer makes it easier to let go of challenging emotions, and get about what you need to do. But it doesn’t mean you have to ignore them. Instead, being mindful allows you to see them, bookmark them, and then work to heal them, or begin a fantastic process of self-discovery!
And this process can take place during your runs.
Being mindful and aware, we get to learn from our emotions by watching them. On top of that, it helps us see where they’re coming from. This is critical, because while some emotions may stem from childhood and get to be dropped cold, others are calls to action, important messages we need to heed. However, the only way to tell the difference between something to drop and something to take action on, is to embrace the emotion, go into it, and take a good look at it.
Mindful Running is a GREAT Opportunity to observe your emotions.
Warm-up Your Observation Skills
The next time you go out for a run take five minutes to quiet the mind and focus solely on your breath. This is your warm-up. After five minutes, ease up on your focus and see or feel what comes up.
Perhaps it’s concern for a meeting later in the day, or an event coming up next week, or maybe it’s a phone call you get to return. Whatever it is, don’t dwell on it, but go into the emotion you’re feeling and inquire. Ask yourself, where did this come from, why is it here, and what is it telling me? Remember, you don’t have to take ownership of the emotion-that’s like watching a billboard and thinking you need to take action on every one. Look, learn, listen, then let it go, and return to your breath.
(Often we’re afraid to look at our emotions, it’s why we watch TV, or have the radio cranked, or keep ourselves super-busy. But when you’re out for a run, there’s nothing scary about looking at your emotions and learning about yourself. Why? Because you can always just go back to your breath, or back to your footsteps…or even back to the music. So there’s no harm to be done, and all to be gained!)
When you get good at this, you’ll find it not only becomes quite healing (imagine being able to go out on a run, save BIG money on counseling, and feel GREAT about yourself by the time you return!) but it can even become a lot of fun. You may go from one wound or misconception to the next, finding it exciting erasing pattern after pattern of old-wiring, or at least being able to observe and know it’s not you, it’s just messages from the past. This is incredibly empowering, as you’ll find yourself coming back from runs as the NEW YOU. You’ll find your emotions are not you, and even if they tug at your sleeves, you’ll begin to catch them faster, making you the driver of your own ship! This mindful running experience is self-awareness and discovery at its finest! To me, observing the emotions is a bit like watching a snow globe…you shake things up, see what floats down, and simply enjoy the show.
So the next time you’re feeling anxious, head out for a run, but not to run away from your problems, but go on out to check them out, which really means to check in with yourself. You’ll find it healing, enlightening, and chances are, you’ll come back with some great ideas and a greater sense of inner peace.