We must become like ourselves

No watch. None. Not my fancy Garmin watch with pace and distance nor my Timex Ironman watch with the timer function, lap button and memory storage. My only clue to the time of day came from the ringing church bells, which always seem to beat the actual top of the hour by a few minutes. I had no real route in mind. No plan other than to run.

Sounds simple enough.

But sometimes the simple is the most difficult to achieve.

We The joy in my run this morning came from letting go of expectations, schedules and outcomes. I have a few 5Ks on my schedule over the next few months along with the traditional 8K Turkey Trot in downtown Buffalo on Thanksgiving Day. But my next “big” race isn’t until late April — a half marathon in Louisville. And even that is more for the friendship and experience than for performance.

Don’t get me wrong, I love racing. I love training. I love working on and improving my fitness. But my workouts and races don’t define who I am. Instead, they are an expression of who I am, of all that I hold dear and all that is true for me.

Before my morning run, I felt drawn to read some Thomas Merton. As always, the man never fails to find the words that cut through the bullshit and hit me directly where I live:

“We must become like ourselves and stop living beside ourselves.”

“My vocation and task in this world is to keep alive all that is usefully individual and personal in me … and to share it with others.”

And so I confidently went out to run, without any gadgets or gizmos or plans for what I wanted to achieve. I decided to just be and not worry about what I wanted to become.

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