Category Archives: Inspiration

Reading on the Run: Audiobooks to Inspire You

Scene from a running trail in Portland, Maine

Scene from a running trail in Portland, Maine

Check out five audiobooks that will help you unleash your inner champion.

Since two of my favorite loves are reading and running, I was thrilled to write a piece for Runner’s World Zelle on the intersection of those two subjects, specifically audiobooks that will help fire up your running through their tales of trouncing self-imposed limitations, journeying from everywoman to athlete on the world stage, and more. Of course, I’ve included my beloved What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami. (Incidentally, his first two novels, which were previously impossible to get in English, have been recently released as Wind/Pinball.)

Be sure to check out Five Running-Themed Audiobooks to Inspire for my other recommendations.

Note: The Will Smith quote has been truncated. For the full version, search “Will Smith on running and reading.”

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Mindfulness Month, Days 30 and 31: Prioritizing Your Sunlight

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For the end of the mindfulness month, let’s focus on the things that foster happiness, both in terms of noticing what those things are and making more space for them.

  • Notice your personal “sun.” As you go through your days, notice what lights you up. What makes you happy? What fuels you? What makes you grow?
  • Do more of those things. 
  • Make it easy to do more of those things. It’s easy to put self-care low on the to-do list, but we can usually find more time if we try. Is there TV to cut out? Food that can be prepared ahead of time and for multiple meals to make meals easier? (For example, veggies can be prepped for use in salads, steaming, or stir-fry, depending on what you’re in the mood for.) Is there the possibility of getting up earlier to do the things you love? Something else?

Today give yourself the gift of time. Cut out at least one thing you don’t want to do, in order to do something you do want to do.
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Mindfulness Month, Day 29: Walking Meditation

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Today’s mindfulness exercise is to bring focus to your walk. Be sure to go where you can concentrate and take it slow. (It can help to do your workout of choice earlier in the day so you are more relaxed to do this meditation.)

  • Go somewhere beautiful, if possible. Being in nature has a way of of fostering calm and happiness. If going outside is not possible (or feels impossible because it’s ridiculously hot), simply walk inside your home. Slowly. Again the point isn’t to work hard. It’s to be present and notice.
  • As usual, focus on your breathing first. As you begin walking, inhale slowly, then exhale slowly, with your exhale at least as long as your inhale.
  • Allow your shoulders to lower, your neck to relax, and your back to ease. Notice anywhere you’re holding tension and try to let that go.
  • As you walk, bring your awareness to what’s going on internally. Are you stressed? Worried? Going into a thinking loop? If possible, try to let that go, but if that does not feel possible, just notice it.
  • Now look around you. What do you see? Allow yourself to just notice what’s around without necessarily evaluating it.
  • Be conscious of your attention. Walk for as long as you’d like, and as you do, allow your awareness to variously settle on your breath, your internal state, what’s around you. At least a couple times, see if you can hold all that awareness at once.

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Mindfulness Month, Days 26 through Day 28: Choose Your Own

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For the next few days, choose one (or a more) of the six simple mindfulness exercises from this list. Here’s one:

Think of something that happens every day more than once, something you take for granted, like opening a door for example. At the very moment you touch the door knob to open the door, allow yourself to be completely mindful of where you are, how you feel and what you are doing. Similarly, the moment you open your computer to start work, take a moment to appreciate the hands that let you do this, and the brain that will help you use the computer.

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Mindfulness Month, Days 20 Through 25: Alternate Nostril Breathing

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Alternate nostril breathing fosters balance, and if you’re feeling stressed, it definitely helps. Click here to learn how to do it and for a far more detailed explanation.

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Mindfulness Month, Days 16 Through 19: Read Your Favorite Beautiful Writing

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For the next few days, the meditation is to read one or several pieces of your favorite beautiful writing as an act of meditation. The writing can be anything you find soothing, the only guideline is that you read it will full attention. In case you’re at a loss for where to start, I offer the poem below from The Essential Rumi.

ONLY BREATH

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu,
Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East
or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that
breath breathing human being.

***

There is a way between voice and presence
where information flows.
In disciplined silence it opens.
With wandering talk it closes.

-Rumi

 
Hope you have a great rest of your week and weekend!

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Mindfulness Month, Day 15: Dignity

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Tonight’s meditation comes from Wherever You Go, There You Are.

Dignity

When we describe the sitting posture, the word that feels the most appropriate is “dignity”….Perhaps we just need little reminders from time to time that we are already dignified, deserving, worthy….So, when we take our seat in meditation and remind ourselves to sit with dignity, we are coming back to our original worthiness.

Try: Sitting with dignity for thirty seconds. Note how you feel. Try it standing with dignity. Where are your shoulders? How is your spine, your head? What would it mean to walk with dignity?

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