In the darkest nights of winter, Susan and I jog deserted streets. Channeling Jackson Pollock, our swinging hands gripping flashlights scribble vanishing art across the pavement. In the blackness, there’s nothing to see save two beams as they dance and bounce first behind and then before us. We don’t talk. The patterns in our foot-falls and quiet labored breath accompany familiar melodies in my head.

I’m not much for meditation. A woman with a script guides my thoughts:

“Imagine a warm room, leather sofa, a crackling fire…”

“Soften first your neck muscles…”

“Envision a vast ocean…”

Breathe in, breathe out. I wander. Enumerate the things I didn’t do, the things that still need doing. Plan my night, problem solve, I’m wasting time. Susan meditates daily. Fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, she centers herself and moves on with her day. Years ago, I went through a phase; twenty minutes of yoga then Shavasana—on my back, still. Listen for the birds and insects. Be the birds and insects. Unsustainable, at least for me. I let it go.

We run. Twenty-five minutes without distraction. A porch light up the street, a barking dog behind glass, traffic on a distant road, breath, feet. Crazy, lights slashing in and out of vision. I focus, but I don’t. I find peace.

Original photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash



18 thoughts on “Meditate

  1. I’ve not ever successfully adopted a meditation practice. But it occurred to me long ago that I’m meditating when I’m running most mornings – just footfalls and breathing, no talking. Often my mind is swirling with thoughts and ideas, but other times, I’m simply aware of the sounds of nature, my breathing, and my footsteps (and those of my dogs), that’s it. And that’s enough to calm me.
    I think your nighttime runs with flashlights sound hypnotic, in a good way. Meditative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We were really dreading winter because we thought we weren’t going to like running in the dark. I’m starting to miss it as we get more and more light in the evenings. Next week it’s all over. I thought I should write my ode before the time change.


  2. There are more than one way to meditate. In my opinion, running is one. I have ADHD so sitting and trying to control my thoughts is not really my thing… But letting my mind wander during a long run seems to achieve the same thing. Your night runs sound very meditative and a little hypnotic too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a friend that swears how beneficial meditating is, and times that I have tired to follow a guided meditation, my mind is still all over the place and so I have found little success. But when I run, I can find that centering peace if I take the effort to guide my thoughts to where I am, my breathing, what I am doing. Those runs do go better too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Meditation is just mindfulness of the moment you’re in. It took me a long time to realize that all the distractions weren’t me “failing” to meditate, but part of it. Anything you do can be meditation: running, writing, eating, sitting, etc., etc.

    I like how this piece captures the “flow” while at the same time showing the struggle with feeling we’re not doing it properly.

    Liked by 1 person

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