Posts Tagged ‘instinct’

running and intuition

05/18/2012

Running is like sex. If it doesn’t happen at least once a week, we feel like something is missing. Sunday comes around, we look back on the week and think, “Shit, what did I forget to do…?”

There’s a certain mental calm that takes over in the latter half of a good session (now we’re onto running here, people). Fatigue takes over and it’s all you can do to maintain proper form. And when this happens, when your lungs feel ready to burst and your legs feel like they have ankle weights wrapped around them, something strange happens.

Bliss supersedes the misery.

no mind

How often do we find ourselves governed by the mental chatter abound in our brains? How often do we lose perspective because our emotional status is based upon the last imaginary scene we staged? Our minds have a terrible tendency to distract us from everything the world has to offer. It keeps us from doing our best work. And from fighting our best samurai sword fights.

How many times have you been reading a book and gotten halfway down the page, only to realize you have no idea what you  just read? Or driven a car some place and not remembered anything about the car ride?

This is sad.┬áRunning makes me less sad. Here’s why:

I did a four-miler last Monday. Not crazy high mileage, but for getting back onto the running scene I was content with it. But the last half mile I hit a wall (see second paragraph above).

When this happens, a meditative exercise I try to do is to eliminate thought. Because at this point my mind is my arch enemy. It will tell me that it’s not a big deal if I stop. I mean come on, you did 3.5 miles already! That’s pretty good, right? No one’s watching . . . no one will judge . . . you can walk the rest of the way as your cool down and save some time . . . better to start sweating like a beast now than right when you walk into your house . . . you’ll do better tomorrow . . . you already ran some miles this week! What’s the big deal?

Hence, the elimination of thought. And funny things happen when your mind stills and your body is worn out. When you hit what you imagine is rock bottom.

intuition

That last half mile gave me some of my best ideas for my current project. By focusing on not focusing on anything, I’m focusing on one thing. Silence. And silence is a beautiful thing.

Because what you hear in the silence, what crops up in the void, is unfettered and uncorrupted. It’s intuition.

Nobody talks about intuition in the real world. On the job, it’s hard to tell your boss you should do something based on a hunch. They want statistics. They want the ROI. They want to be reassured that they’re not paying you for just having fun. Great Scott! Never that!

The theory of intuition is not new. It’s been embodied in the third eye, in various forms of God, in a (supposed) small deposit of metal at the tip of a man’s nose. The only trouble is so few people spend time developing this intuition. Instead of getting down to the bare bones of what makes us human, we immerse ourselves in pleasant distractions, in browsing our Facebook feeds, in watching the Kardashians, in Modern Warfare 3. We set ourselves within walls of vinyl and atop finished wooden floorboards and think ourselves wise. We cease experiencing lives for ourselves, letting the mental chatter rage on unchecked.

Running, and many other forms of exercise, can help us re-establish that connection with our intuition. Can help us to slow our minds and take a look around.

And in a world gone so awry, the last thing we want to do is lose perspective.

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shootin’ from the hip

04/24/2010

For the past six or seven months I’ve been feeling like I’m in limbo. Not necessarily going forward or backward – just living. But as I was thinking about it, I realized I didn’t really like the living in limbo analogy I’d applied to my life. Reminds me too much of stagnation – and I’m definitely not stagnating. Sometimes, yes, you have to be stagnant and reflect to regenerate, but I prefer to think of myself for now as “shooting from the hip.

the spread shot

I’ve never fired a gun. But, as with most of my blog posts, the title of this post is merely an analogy. When you shoot from the hip you’re not as accurate but you shoot faster – as opposed to taking the time to bring the gun up to your shoulder. I like to compare it to the spread shot in Contra – although you never miss with that baby.

I went to New York last week with a good friend. The best part about the trip was that we didn’t have an agenda. We knew a couple things we wanted to do, but really we just wanted to roll with it, which is exactly what we did. The only expectation we had was that we would have fun just living, putting a few more experiences under our belts for future reference. If something came up that gave us an opportunity to do something different, to experience something new, we did that thing. This is how we found the coolest bar in Manhattan.

This is also how I’ve been living my life. Looking to do as much as I can, rack up as many experiences as possible, create countless fond memories, have as much frickin’ fun I possible can, all before I kick the bucket. I’m free. I do what I want.

l-i-v-i-n (like a freebird)

I just want to free fall for a while.

Not necessarily looking to hit my target as accurately as I could, just doing as much as I can in as short of a time span as possible. I’m just looking to have a good time and enjoy what’s left of my life. Go as far as I can as fast as I can – without forgetting to enjoy the ride.

livin’ on impulse

I thrive on the unpredictable, on the impulsive, but there’s so much more I want to do regardless of consequences.

  • I want to say “I love you” and not mean it (and hear it said back in the same form)
  • I want to see more sunrises
  • I want to get so little sleep that I’m running on fumes
  • I want to go for more 70-mile drives
  • I want another $150 bar tab that was worth every memory (last night living in Columbus)

I’m not really considering the consequences of my actions, as they really only affect me, in a non-chaos-theory sort of way. Granted, I temper this impulsive free-for-all with logic and reason, but for the most part I go with my gut. After all, the instinct is right 90% of the time, so follow it!

If I see something I want, I’m gonna go for it:

  • I’ll buy Avatar the day after it comes out on DVD
  • I’ll get shut down three times by three different girls in one night at the same bar (90% of the time…?)
  • I’ll start running again to prep for my second marathon in October
  • I’ll stay up til 4 a.m. with a good friend on a work night and gladly pay the price the next day
  • I’ll put flowers on a desk and pray for a phone call

So I’m just going to keep shootin’ from the hip. Seems to be working for now.

Live wild. Live free.