Sunday, June 10, 2012

Counting to Infinity

The closer my departure date gets, the more the restlessness builds. A mix of excitement, curiosity, naivety, and anticipation is all being stirred around simultaneously in the cauldron between my ears. I suppose this is normal for anyone moving to a new country!

I've been having my fair share of those future predicting deja vu mental scenarios lately. Vivid scenes that have me exploring a street in downtown Santiago or running up a volcano in Los Lagos. The mind definitely is not shy about showing the body where it wants to go! The connection between mind and body is something 'ultra' runners come to know very well. I have found many parallels between aspects of life and lessons I've learned while spending 6+ hours shuffling on my feet in search of the next aid station. One of them being this deep sense of continuity between what I'm thinking and what I'm doing. Often in life we find our minds running (no pun intended) at Usain Bolt speed, with a variety of thoughts flowing in and out, having no necessary relation to what we are actually doing at that moment. This is not the case when I am running for an extended distance. At a certain milage my outside thoughts fade and my sole mental being becomes intertwined with each stride and successive foot strike. This awareness is comparable to what many athletes consider to be the 'in the zone' feeling. However, there is most definitely something unique about this certain mental and physical blend of heightened consciousness achieved during long distance runs.

I believe the feeling is best described to outsiders as a sort of 'counting to infinity'. Simply start counting, with absolutely no goal in mind, by the time you blink and realize you've been staring blankly at the carpet repeating the number one hundred and fifty seven over and over again...the moment just before you realized what it was you were doing, is precisely what it feels like to enter this zen-like state of perception while running.

With 2 days before I leave for Chile and embark on this journey, leaving all that I know behind and stepping on that plane, it most definitely feels like I'm counting to infinity.

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