Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Running and Gratitude

I recently had the opportunity to return to my alma mater, Loyola University Maryland to work a temporary position for several weeks.  I entered this endeavor with great trepidation.  I graduated in 2012 with a degree in elementary education however due to life situations, I was unable to procure a teaching certification.  Other unpleasant memories associated with my undergraduate degree lead me towards these feelings.

Once back however I remembered what my alma mater believes  which is "Cura personalis", Latin for "care of the entire person".  I was reminded that my education from Loyola cultivated me into the whole person -mind, body, and spirit and the commitment to this is a life of integrity, honesty, discernment, reflection and dedication to the great good along with intellectual study, social justice and service.  Returning back there granted me a final healing that I needed along with a new perspective as I start a new chapter in my life with a new career and job.

Now, you may ask what does this have to do with running and gratitude.  Running provides me the same thing.  Running makes me take care of my self entirely.  The right amount of sleep, training and nutrition help keep me "whole" and healthy.  Running allows me to spend time to reflect and rejuvenate myself.
How many times do you run when you feel like you don't want to run or haven't any energy left to give anyone or yourself?  How do you feel when you run on days like that?  I know myself that I feel refreshed, whole and ready to conquer the world.  How do you feel when you run "naked" without the GPS watch, music, phone or anything else-just run?  I've recently started running once a week without these items and feel alive.  I notice the beauty in the world as I run past from the smallest details-the flowers blooming, the trees budding, the birds singing, how fresh and new everything appears along with the breath of air as it hits my lungs reminding them how much they like the taste of air and living!  There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it is sent away. When you create a space in running where you feel broken down, it is impressive that you have the strength and trans formative power of putting one foot in front of the other and build yourself back up.  These are the moments you notice when you run "naked".

Running has transformed me into a whole person.  Running has allowed me to grow, spread my wings and soar along with giving me the opportunities to allow my alma mater's beliefs enter more deeply into my life.  These are traits not simply inherent but are learned and must be practiced.  Much like training for a race.   Running has brought friends, adventures, community and happiness into my life.  Running has allowed me to give back in ways that I could only imagine from finding inspiration in social media, to writing my blog and recently being able to give a donation to Girls on the Run.  Last summer, when I was diagnosed with uterine cancer the running community embraced me with love and support.  Running has allowed me to sprint after my wildest dreams-to be valued, acknowledged, and loved.  Running gave me the ability to be awake.
Gratitude has been defined has an awakening of the heart.  When we experience gratitude, we unlock the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude can make sense of our past, bring us peace for today and help us create a vision for the future.

Every day that I can run, it transforms me into this and much more.  What does running do for you? Does it make you a whole person?  How does it transform you?  How does running transform into gratitude for you?  Because of all of this, I am and will be always eternally grateful and happy!

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