I wrote a lot about gratitude in 2016. This is the same topic that came up earlier this year as far as jotting down few notes every day toward recording the things for which we feel grateful. I took that to heart and now take a few minutes every day to do just that. What I have learned over the past few months has been subtle but interesting.
My workouts have pretty much been running for the past few years now. This summer, however, I downshifted to a degree and got my husband on board with me to take nearly 3-mile morning walks together. My thought was that it would be good for his back, good training for my hike at the end of summer through the Olympic mountains (I am wearing a weight vest during these walks) and some good clear headed couple time where we could talk, reflect and prepare for the day ahead. Honestly, it’s been pretty great.
Yet there are times when I still get the itch to go for an all-out run in my “ranger panties” with some good music in my ears. I love those times. Especially when it rains during the summer. It’s the most amazing feeling where you are running full tilt, heat coming off your body in waves while cool water just pelts you from above. Definitely one of my “wow” moments in life.
The thing that made me think of gratitude this morning though was how steady my pace felt. How good the breathing was. The feel of the morning air on my skin. The other runners waving and saying “hi.” That and thinking back to the training days months after my heart attack where I would just start to spontaneously catch my breath and notice tears on my face for no reason. Like this little candy bar of sorrow, regret and happiness all rolled up in a colorful plastic wrapper.
Today was just happiness out on the trail. Nothing more. I guess that is what this whole gratitude thing has taught me though. To retrain my thought patterns away from fear and anxiety toward other pathways that feel better. This does not mean I don’t have bad days. It’s just a subtle tool that you notice in play once in a while when, say, you catch yourself smiling instead of crying on the running trail.
It reminds me of a guy I met over the weekend while camping. We were exchanging life stories, while drying off after a midnight swim, around the campfire. He showed me one of his tattoos. I think it was a combination of the symbols for Virgo and Aquarius. He said it meant “now.” That’s exactly what this morning’s run felt like. I felt like I was finally able, for once, to just be in the moment. Nothing more. Nothing behind. Nothing ahead. Just now. It felt amazing.
My own gratitude practice has taught me that I’m grateful for love, friendship, campfires, life and the most important thing of all… possibility.