15 12 2011

During a road race in the past year, I was startled by another runner pulling up beside me, rasping between breaths about what mile he had just passed, how he felt, when he expected to finish. Chatting me up, or maybe some sort of verbal self-motivation technique? Then I realized: he was phoning someone during his race.

That memory no longer seems startling, or even odd. On Facebook and other online venues I find myself increasingly discovering people tweeting, texting, and posting their race experiences while they’re on the run. And it’s not just running: The New York Times recently ran a story about Tommy Caldwell, one of the world’s best rock climbers, who updated fans around the world about his progress while climbing El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

What were once solitary experiences, valuable confrontations with ourselves, are being self-published into a sort of global theater-in-the-round. One person quoted in the Times article, Katie Ives of Alpinist magazine, said that “instead of actually having the experience be the important part, it’s the representation of the experience that becomes the important part … something is lost.”

How long will it be before: “Tuff sesshin so far; enlightenment ahead #superbuddha.com”?

Through stillness and motion …

8 12 2011

… sitting, running, and life coursing through it all. Goodbye Gran, my last surviving grandparent; hello Clare Ana, our first grandchild. Sad and unexpected goodbyes to several co-workers and friends whose lives ended much too soon; hello to new friends made along the way and visits to friends from decades past. Goodbye corporate world of 30 years; hello specialty running retail store, where I now work as a running shoe specialist.

Through all of these changes, the constants are stillness (through zazen) and motion (through running). I am feeling the call to perhaps race less and simply run more, to spend more time on the cushion and explore the changes hurling their way out of the darkness.

Based on the traditional Chinese calendar, this had been described as a year of rest and relaxed activity. It has been anything but. I can give deep thanks for zazen and for running, those twin sons of different mothers. May they be with me, and I with them, as I continue sifting through the questions of 2011 and whatever lies ahead. “One inch ahead, all is darkness,” goes the Zen saying. Sitting, running, through stillness and motion, I vow not to expect answers, but to breathe with the questions. May the questions of 2012 challenge you in exciting and unexpected ways!


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