All pictures taken by www.jamestaylphotography.wordpress.com last September in lieu of annual school photos.
My son asked me this week what it is exactly that I like about running so much. He asked in a way that showed a bit of admiration, a twinge of awe and a whole lot of influence exacted. It was super encouraging to me. We have been doing yoga poses together (he wants me to show him all the ones that have animal names) and my husband and I are seeing habits take hold of the kids that are truly becoming their own now, not just ours as parents.
The kids and I have also been doing an assignment together from the book my art group is using. The basic task is to use your intuition, and not any analyzation, and make a "treasure map" - a collection of quickly torn out images from magazines that you then collage together to answer a question you asked yourself. (Ours was: What do you want this next year to be like?)
At first it was a bit tricky for one of them to understand how to listen to their heart, visceral reactions and intuition; not just their thoughts and rationale. But by a couple hours into it (as the collages were taking shape) I was getting emotional. It was so beautiful to see them learn that the language inside of them - in their bodies not just their brains - is beautiful, strong and really interesting. It took so much courage for one of my kids to really trust and listen to that and it was so exciting to see the results unfold.
My daughter asked me to attend the last few gatherings of her Girls on the Run program with her. She loves being a part of this group so much but the last couple weeks as they have amped up their running, she is feeling more and more left behind since she is only allowed to walk (doctor's orders, sadly.) She didn't want to quit the program, but she didn't want to feel lonely going either.
I sat with her in the gym (it was pouring out) as the girls ran laps and sprinted and laughed. My heart ached for my daughter knowing how I would be feeling if I was having to sit by the side and watch all my friends run our regular forest trails without me. I had my hand on her back wondering what I could say to encourage her, when suddenly she turned to me and said: "I am going to cheer really loud. I hope it doesn't hurt your ears!" And she started calling out the girls by name and yelling what a good job each of them were doing. My eyes filled with tears. I was so proud and so humbled by her choice in that moment. Not an ounce of self-pity. She was all courage.
What I Love About Running
It is when I feel closest to God and His presence - I hear Him laughing and singing a lot when I run.
It is when I feel the most "me" that I am - the truest to my self I was created to be.
I love the beauty and wonder of being outdoors and I love the "secrets" I carry all day of gorgeous things I have seen. It gives me awe.
It gives me incredible energy - way more than I ever expend. It makes me strong. It gives me the gift of feeling beautiful.
It gives me health and encourages more health in other areas of my life, too. It teaches me to treasure and listen to my body. It honours intuition as a valid language of the soul.
It's fun! Jumping over branches and getting muddy is playing.
It's doing something beautiful for my family.
It has a ripple effect of enjoyment.
My kids. It changes my relationship with my kids in innumerable ways. I'm an example, I'm available, I have breath and ability - all things that creates deeper relationship with children.
And most recently - I get to be with such incredible women, my friends.
"Trail running isn't just a physical activity; it's a spiritual activity; it's a spiritual experience." ~ Dimity McDowell