Winter Wandering

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Oh…I thought you had gone….I can explain…

My wife sent me this picture the other day. She had left the house for just a minute to move her car so I could leave. When she came back inside, this is what she found.

I’ve been trying to recover from some nagging issues with tendinitis and stay in shape at the same time, which is hard to do when you have zero interest in changing exercise or diet habits. I mean, the reason I like distance running is I can eat almost anything I want and then run it off the next day. No drawbacks to that plan, right?

Turns out there are (see above mention of tendinitis). So unfortunately I’ve had to attempt moderation in some areas. Like most changes in life, what becomes habitual is much more effective than grand gestures…really, habit is what makes grand gestures possible.

So I’ve been swimming more. I’ve had issues with swimming since my parents signed me up for swim lessons and had to drag me screaming and cursing out of the bathroom I’d been hiding in to my first class. However, I have found that swimming is (no great insight here) really good for your whole body and an excellent “counterpoint” to a run. the cool water seems to soothe my joints and the rhythmic motion is an excellent cool down.

Of course, I can’t leave out running altogether, so I’ve signed up a winter race challenge. The idea is that for every race you do over the course of the winter, you gain points through Fitvil (another very useful health-lifestyle website/app) that can be used at a local running store. Of course, I have yet to figure out how to check in on the website, so I haven’t earned any points yet, but I remain optimistic.

The title of this post is Winter Wandering, which is what my mind seems to be doing recently, so for a final abrupt segue let’s talk about Buddhism. I just finished two great books on the subject: Zen Mind Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki and Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen. Anyone interested in a simple, clear approach to Zen Buddhism should read these books. I mention this because I was frustrated about my running setbacks the other day and the Buddhist “Noble Truth” that “the cause of suffering is desire” (don’t take my word for this, read the books I just mentioned if you want a better, wiser, more informed discussion) popped into my head. I wanted to do things as I had always done, but the truth was that the wanting was what was making me unhappy.

So I think the lesson in all of this is that we should just do what we can and not get too upset when the dog jumps on the couch or things don’t go our way. After all, those moments usually make for the best stories.

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