Note: Not a post about David Bowie. Go ahead, dry those tears of disappointment.
The Labyrinth is an invitation to contemplate in nature. Monks, nuns, and other spiritual professions have used labyrinths as a type of walking meditation or prayer. The intricate design presents twists and turns that, through their physical disorientation, bring clarity by insulating the individual away from the outside world and into a hub of calm.
Lately, my meandering runs have conjured the image of the labyrinth. I find that while I am aware of my surroundings in the first few miles, I gradually begin, through my weaving path around the city or woods, to find that silent center. Soon the sound of my feet and my breath play in harmony with the wind, water, and birds. The only reminder of the outside world is the beeping of my watch as I complete each mile. Sometimes I listen to music, and the sights and grandeur are narrated by melody and lyrics. Sometimes I take out the ear buds and listen to nothing but what is already there.
The length and duration of these runs are still difficult. But I think about how many times a person ventured to that labyrinth, in the cold or the dark, because the ritual was begging them there. Running has become highly ritualized for me–and a surprising revelation as I close out this month–a somewhat spiritual exercise when I take the time to go alone and give the practice my full attention.
Two more visits to the labyrinth before tapering begins. And the marathon is only a month away. I am thinking about it, using detailed visualizations, and trying to allow excitement to overcome any fears.