Running was something I thought I could NEVER do. When I was trying to come up with something that would challenge me mentally and physically: painting, mountain climbing — I came up with running. I hated running.
My first run was ½- mile along the beautiful Oregon Coast. I couldn’t catch my breath, my legs felt rubbery. I thought I was going to die. When I didn’t, I realized I had done it. Physically, I was drained, exhausted. But I had done what I thought was impossible and that exhilarated and inspired me.
If I could do the impossible, run a ½-mile, think of what else I could accomplish. Sometimes my knees hurt, sometimes it is so cold my hands are numb, but still I run.
It’s a part of my life now, and so is the belief I can accomplish even the greatest challenges. That belief has propelled my life and career and pushed me in a new direction.
Now, I’m enrolled in the Institute for Integrative nutrition where lessons focus not only on the food we put in our bodies but also on our spirituality. Definitely, another challenge. I am surrounded by yoga instructors and meditation specialists who seem to have this mind/body/spirituality thing all figured out. They tell me I need to slow down, take a yoga class, sit with my thoughts for 5 minutes every day. And I thought running was hard!
For me, the peace and calmness others achieve during meditation doesn’t hit me until I lace up my running shoes for a quick run around the lake. One hour of the sound of my shoes hitting the pavement, one, two, one, two, one two, and the sound of my breath in evenly timed huffs, is my meditation.
And for the first time I know the reason I feel so great after running is because it is my time to be alone with myself, to connect to my spirit. To be alone with my thoughts or to have no thoughts. It is the time for my mind and body to work together to achieve clarity. I had no idea that day on the beach what an amazing door was waiting to be opened for me.
Running has taught me that spirituality comes in all forms. I had to get over the idea of what I thought spirituality “should” be. We all have the thing inside of us that makes our mind clear and our body hum, you may not know what that thing is yet, but I can tell you it is worth the time and the effort to find out.
SHERRI SACCONAGHI IS A HEALTH COACH, MOTHER, ATHLETE, LIVING IN LAKE OSWEGO, OREGON.