Monday, May 23, 2011

Running hot and cold

Did you know there are pockets of cool and warm air?

Yes, yes, we all know about cool and warm air masses from weather reports and we've experienced their effect while riding in airplanes, but I mean air that you can actually feel as you move through it. As I was running on the trail last week I experienced these pockets of air, moving from warm air into a cooler patch of air and then back into warmer air.

The funny thing is, my reaction to these pockets depends upon my situation. If it is a hot day, I have a positive reaction to a cool pocket of air, but I don't like the pockets of hot air. Inversely, if it's a cool day, I like the warmer pockets of air. Yet the pockets of air themselves are neutral - neither bad nor good - they just are. It's my reaction to them that is charged with the positive and the negative, and that is so changeable.

I was thinking that this is a bit like life. I can be running along through life and someone says that they love my paintings and they make a purchase. That makes me happy. It affects my mood, I feel good about myself and for a while I am in a happy state of mind. Then something else happens - maybe my car breaks down or someone clearly doesn't respond to my paintings. I have a negative reaction, and for awhile (sometimes way too long), I'm in a negative mood. The events were neutral, it's my reaction that is charged with the negative or positive.

I have a couple of thoughts about the mercurial nature of life that would benefit me to remember and I thought it might help you too, so I'll share them:

1. There are going to be hot and cold pockets in life. It's a certainty. While this realization can be sobering it is reassuring also. No matter where you are, you are moving forward through time and space. If you are in a scorching hot pocket, gasping for breath, doubting you can continue - have faith, my friends. Refreshing cool air is ahead. I can't tell you when but IT IS COMING. In the meantime, pace yourself, be kind to yourself, and hang in there. Inversely, if you are basking in perfectly cool air, cruising along, assuming this perfect state will continue forever, be aware that hot air is ahead. It is inevitable. Don't let the surprise of it knock your feet out from under you.

2. To maintain my equilibrium in foul or fair weather, cool or warm pockets, I must keep in mind that I cannot control anything but my own thoughts and actions. What happens externally happens. So, I can set goals for myself that don't rely on things I cannot control and I can feel good about accomplishing those goals - whatever else happens. I can learn from exterior events and then apply this knowledge to my new actions as I continue my move forward through time and space.
Note: These photos were from my most recent run. These two fellows in the shot right above were picking up trash along the trail. I stopped to chat and thank them and they told me that they do it regularly as their thank you for the trail. As I was headed back along the trail, I noticed a couple of pieces of trash along the way. Moved by their example, I stopped to collect them. Actions truly do make a difference.

Second note: I had a foot scare this week-end. Out of the blue my left foot really hurt when I rotated it at all. No rhyme or reason to it. I tried not to worry or plunge into a pit of despair (this would be a very hot air pocket to endure), and only rested it. Just as mysteriously it seems to be fine now. Go figure. Simply a little reminder that as I run I say thank you, thank you, thank you for a body that works and is healthy. This can change at any moment.

Have a wonderful week my fellow air pocket travelers!


  1. So true! This is good advice to help maintain balance. :)

  2. What a wonderful post. You are inspiring in more ways than one. :)