A runner for years, I have logged a lot of miles. Currently I run a 2 mile loop around the tiny lake that our neighborhood is centered on almost every day. It’s not far, and I don’t usually go very fast, but this time outside, re-connecting to the energy of my immediate surroundings helps to keep me centered in reality. It keeps my physical body’s cardiovascular system functioning in an efficient way, it gives my leg muscles some exercise and it forces me to pay attention to where I’m placing my feet.
I’ve had issues in the last few months with some mild discomfort in my right ankle that has worked its way up into the shin/calf area of my leg. It hasn’t been enough to keep me from heading out each morning, but it HAS been enough for me to notice it and wish it didn’t feel that way. It has been enough to invite a sense of dread when heading on a run when I’d rather be looking forward to enjoying the movement.
I got some new shoes, hoping that would help. It didn’t. I wore my old shoes again. No change. I tried running with different posture and just got frustrated that I wasn’t enjoying my running anymore due to trying to place my feet in a way that didn’t seem natural. I started to feel like perhaps my body was just unbalanced and it was just something I was going to have to accommodate – or that I was simply going to have to stop running. And then a few days ago, as a last ditch effort, I ran on the other side of the road.
Most of my route is on gravel, on a road that slopes down just slightly on each side, presumably to allow proper drainage. Good for infrastructure and road maintenance, but not so good for human bodies when they always run on the same side. Due to always being just slightly tilted while in motion, my right ankle finally started to protest. And now, since I started running on the other side (yes, the “wrong” side, with traffic instead of against which is another matter entirely), the pain has minimized. I will, of course have to switch back and forth to avoid developing pain in the left side, stay mindful of my posture and pay attention to my foot placement in order to continue running successfully. But, at least for now, it’s nice to know that the answer was less complicated than I anticipated.
There are a lot of issues that are not so easily solved: Humans as a whole continue to use more resources than the planet can sustainably provide, multitudes are exploited every day by the choices made by a wealthy minority, and the corporate culture of more, better, faster continues to pervade everyday life for far too many souls. But despite the dire state of so much of the world, it is heartening to know that sometimes the solution is as simple as running on the other side of the road. Perhaps some of our answers lie in looking for ways to do the things we do every day just differently enough to have an impact that contributes to healing instead of destruction.
What can you do differently today to invite healing into your life, and into the world?
Featured image: by Andrew Cooper http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Andrew_Cooper