How Chi Running helps you decide your own path
We make a lot of decisions during our busy lives, and some seem more important than others; some get more attention while others simply get lost in the activity of being busy. Can you remember all the decisions you made today? Of course not! Some decisions I make occur in an instant; I am still a practising teacher and students throw issues and questions that require thought and action almost at the same time but not in any order. I repeat thought then action.
What we are really talking about, however, is reflection in action and reflection on action. Both have resonance as a teacher. First, if a student comes to you with a concern, you should think about the possibility of establishing a connection and a learning opportunity. Simple responses give simple actions; my philosophy is to always try to empower students to think for themselves. The only way to do this is to rephrase questions and get them to see things in a different manner. This would be, for me, reflection in action. If I go away and think about the day's activity and change or critically analyse my performance or learning experiences, this would be reflection on action.
We go running, at times, to get away from decisions. We go running to flee from responsibility, to be free from the chains of life, people and stuff. You hear about it reading certain running books: a sense of freedom. Of course we are not free and never will be; we are surrounded by decisions at all levels and we need to understand that we cannot escape being human. To be human is to be part of a community, a tribe with our own kin. We are judged not by running away or by being super fit but by how much we respond, listen and help others. Humility and quiet compassion are the tigers in our hearts.
I enjoy, however, making running decisions! It has helped me further in developing my decision making, thoughtfulness and mindfulness at all levels. I regard these decisions as "sharpening my saw" and help support other decisions in my life, those that impact and influence other people for example. A nice and simple way of practising making decisions and about being observant is simply put your watch on 10 minute repeats. As you run, observe everything around you, draw in the surroundings and focus on your internal sensations. The Chi Running technique is excellent at creating a meditative platform to allow this refocus. As soon as the beep sounds for 10 minutes, review your body and surroundings. What did you see? How did you feel? Not all workouts need to be a "beasting session." Some can be this deep balanced state of drawing and breathing in the external to the internal. Just like a door, we should be able to move inside to outside with ease; no distractions, no tension, no feeling of being "ill at ease."
About a week ago I decided while running to extend it by another mile. Why? Well, I felt good, it was extremely hot (25C) and the extension would make me run on the coastal paths (i.e. cool breeze). I could have laboured and continued running on a shorter, faster route away from the coast, but learning to own decisions and owning your programme is empowering. I felt good with the choice of route, content with the outcome and more balanced as I walked home from my regular cafe at the finish line.
So decision making is easier if you are aware of what will be influenced by your choice, behaviour and/or plans. All of this implies that you need to be a lot more observant of yourself. You cannot live your life by moving through it and not feeling each moment. The Chi Running technique and Chi Walking technique are excellent ways to improve mindfulness, clarity and focus, develop fitness and give you the tools to own your life.
- mindful running,