|photo by david talley via images.google.com|
My breathing is labored, but it matches my stride. I find my rhythm and stick with it. My legs, they remind me of untapped strength, of energies stored in muscles I cannot see, can only feel, and my arms, well, they push my little one, up, up, up the hill and over the bridge—we’re on our way!
Back Cove is well known by locals. It’s not far from the center of town and it welcomes both athletes and amateurs. In the summertime, when the sun is perched high and round and the sea wallows warm and gentle, I need to be there. Often. I need to be where my body soars and my surroundings echo the freedom of the sea. I need to be in this welcome space where my spirit is set free.
So I run. And sop up the lushness of my Northeastern landscape like a true foreigner, appreciating every ounce of even the most delicate of things. I breathe in the scents—the wild roses, the freshly born deciduous leaves, the tinge of brine soaked sand and the left over silt along the rim of the sea. I meet unfamiliar plants and smile quietly at unknown birds. I hear leaves as they’re ruffled by the breeze, a low growing grass, a towering tree. And all the while, my spirit fuels me forward, no stranger to the beauty that inevitably lies ahead.
I had never seen her before. I could barely see her now for she was quite a bit ahead of me. But I could see she was pushing a stroller. And it was filled with not just one child, but two. Her legs worked hard. Her arms and back struggled to find the strength. She would run a few steps and stop, run a few more and stop again. And as I moved closer, I began to sense her struggle in other ways, too.
I could’ve just run past her, seemingly self-absorbed, keeping my thoughts and feelings to myself. I could’ve judged. I could’ve ignored. But because I was tuned in to myself, I knew that was not what I was meant to do. I knew I was there to help. I knew our paths were about to cross for a beautiful reason. So I slowed a bit as I neared and I let my words come from a deep and caring place.
“In case you didn’t know, you look great!” I said, with a heartfelt smile, catching her bright smile directed at me in return.
“Thank you! You do, too!”
And for the next half mile at least, she followed me, close behind, never once stopping, never once slowing, and I’m quite certain never once losing her spirited smile.
And me? I ran one of my happiest runs at Back Cove in a very long time.
* * *
We are fueled forward when our spirit is fed with kindness, with love, with caring. We find new strength to cope with the difficult things in life when we surround ourselves with people and situations that nurture the delicate nature of spirit. Exercise that seems insurmountable. Tests that feel overwhelming. Challenges that seem far too much to handle—it is our spirit that will get us through every time. Nurtured, we can do anything we set our hearts to.
Find those places. Find those people. Find that sweet spot inside that knows what your spirit needs. Seek out the moments that invite kindness, love and caring to emerge both as a gift from yourself to others and from others back to you. For you see, with spirit on your heart’s side, you can only ever win. With spirit on your heart's side you are nothing short of … magic.