I'm constantly learning from nature and so often when spending time in the outdoors I have those ah ha moments, only today it was more like, 'shit Mandy and you trying to get yourself hurt, where on earth is your head???'....then a few minutes later came the ah ha.
I came back to running around six weeks ago, after pretty much stopping for around a year. When I came back to running (after practicing yoga consistently for that year) I was feeling it in a way I'd never felt it before. I wasn't listening to big beats matching my rhythm to the sound coming through my headphones, I was running to the beat of my own internal drum noticing the little subtleties like how my feet would make contact with the earth, the sounds this made as the little rocks were squashed and pushed back with my weight/momentum, how the wind would create ripples on the river and how it felt on my skin and how the muscles in my legs were engaging, I was very much running in the present moment.
During my last few runs I've just come to realise that I've started to stray away from running in the moment. Today I went out for a run with the primary goal of stopping the millions of thoughts racing through my mind, this was a strategy I used for many years, run really fast so I can't physically think about anything other than breathing and keeping the forward momentum going.
But then mother nature decided to send me a nice little lesson and ah ha moment, as she always does when I need it most.
As I started to build up a rhythm my mind racing off to a far away place, I very nearly stepped on a rather large snake, one that I absolutely should have seen well before my foot was anywhere near it!!! The funny thing is this has happened twice in two days!! Last night on a cruisy ride with a friend out in the bush we did the exact same thing, got caught up in conversation and then as her foot pretty much passed over the top of a snake we realised what had happened.
After the snake scared the crap out of me today my next reaction was fear, I was thinking about how I could avoid it from happening again, I would run home along the road I thought...then logic kicked in...what a stupid idea the road surface is hard, there is lots of traffic and it's nowhere near as pretty....would I never run along the river again in the chance that I come across a snake???
Then came the ahh ha moment, what if I simply focus on being in the moment, take the headphones out and re-connect with all that is around me, that surely would minimise the chance of scaring the crap out of a poor unsuspecting snake again?
So that's the strategy I took for the remainder of my run, I began to notice the many really small reptilian like creatures along the trail basking in the sun, how unusually green the grass is for this time of year, the marks that bikes (or snakes) have made in the gravel, and then the mind got quiet..
Today that beautiful snake reminded that there is so much beauty in the present moment and very little to be gained from trying to escape it....it can in fact be dangerous. Running hard doesn't stop my mind from racing, it just temporarily silences it, then when the run is over the busy mind returns. Becoming truly present, living in the moment is what brings clarity and peace.
A great lesson learned from a reptile I once feared more than any other, somehow the fear seems to have subsided, perhaps because I now see that it was me crashing through their home without warning..