what reminds you about your soul?

13 04 2010

I think it’s easy to forget what should be the obvious connection between our physical and spiritual bodies.  Turn on any TV or hop on any website and there are plenty of self-proclaimed experts on the topics of physical fitness, from the latest diet, to that brand new home gym that even Chuck Norris uses.  The same can be said for spiritual “gurus.”  Every day we’re inundated with books, thoughts and dvd sets that tout the latest in visualizing everything we want, new methods of realizing our potential or simple steps to achieving perfect balance.

No one ever puts it all together.  I know, it can all be explained scientifically.  Endorphins stimulate the pleasure center of the brain.  Those same endorphins are triggered by exercise, therefore creating the same feeling of happiness/euphoria that sex, drugs and rock and roll can cause.

I understand that.  It clicks with me.  But man, I’m here to tell you, if you accept that this is all there is to it, you’re missin’ so much of the good stuff.  Example:  I ran in the Tarheel 10-Miler this week in Chapel Hill.  I joined 2199 other runners to take to the streets of this small town and enjoy a morning run.  Chapel Hill is called Chapel Hill for a reason.  It ain’t flat. And 10 miles is plenty long.  I saw a lot of cool things during the race: the guy fighting his way up Laurel Hill in a wheelchair, so many good friends and complete strangers competing in their first race, kids, seniors, fat guys, skinny guys, tall, short and everything in between.  But the one thing that stands out in my mind are the smiles on everyone’s faces as they ran.  It was UNBELIEVABLE.

Here we were, fighting age, gravity and our own monkey minds and having such a good time.  And I mean these smiles were the huge, smile-till-your-face-hurts, what-is-that-guy-smiling-about kind of smiles.  It’s like, do you remember you were a kid and you would just run – wide open, nonstop, maybe even barefoot and it was like running and laughing went together – you would run and run until you started giggling, then you’d be laughing, then you couldn’t breathe anymore because you’d be laughing so hard so you’d just fall over?  That’s the kind of smiling that was going on.  We are built to run, and not just on a physical level.  The act of running, or doing something physical, connects to us on a deep, spiritual level and reminds us that we have this great gift of a physical body.  For me, running reminds me I have a soul.

Smiling Runner

You may say that you hate running.  And that’s cool.  I would never attempt to speak for you or anyone else when it comes to announcing what makes you happy.  I guess my point is, you gotta hold on to what you do that makes your heart feel good.  And if you’re doing something that doesn’t make your heart feel good, just for the sake of making your body healthy – for God’s sake, stop it (I’m not condoning that you stop medication or activities prescribed by your doctor) and find something that’s good for your body and your soul.  Do one or the other and you’re really missing what makes it all so perfect.  Because really, what’s the point in living longer if your soul isn’t there to experience it all.

Come to think of it, couldn’t you say this of a lot of things?  If you’re working in a job that pays the bills (or makes you rich) and doesn’t make your heart happy, stop.  If you’re in a relationship that doesn’t feed your soul, then go and find your soul mate, or at least find yourself.  If what you’re doing right now doesn’t make you smile right now, why are you doing it?I'm still smiling...

It’s 2010 – I’m amazed each day at the new types of exercises that are being created/discovered/made up/done in the middle of nowhere.  So I guess what I’m saying is, there’s gotta be something you like to do, not just because it feels good physically, but because you smile when you do it, because before it’s over, you’ll be giggling or because It reminds you that you’ve got a soul. I know I do – that’s why I run.

What about you?  What reminds you that you’re still alive?  What do you love to do more than anything?



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