My apartment flooded last week. Not once. Not twice. But three times within a forty-eight hour period. The kitchen sink fully backed up and flooded the kitchen, front hall, and parts of the living room with eighteen stories worth of dirty water from the building’s main line. Pleasant — right? Fortunately, the issue was resolved within a few days and the damage will be covered by insurance.
After indulging in an appropriate(?) amount of self-pity (we’re all so very familiar with the repeated laments of Why ME?) I changed the narrative and decided to ask what serendipitous lesson the universe was trying to aggressively bring to my attention with this experience? What did this flood really represent?
There is no current consensus among professionals on the average number of thoughts an individual has per day. For my purposes, the amount of thoughts we have over the course of the day is not as interesting as the type of thoughts we have, and, how we choose to react to them. If you’re anything like me, dear reader, there are some thoughts you don’t necessarily want to address when they pop into your cerebrum. It’s much easier to say…lace up a pair of black and gold Nike’s and pump out a run. You convince yourself whatever that thought (or those thoughts) may have been can wait…right?
Let’s return to the beginning shall we? This article was inspired by a series of floods that dampened my condo (and mood!) earlier this week. Between the first two floods the solutions implemented by the plumbers were evidently quick fixes. Temporary. Simply a redirection of the main problem instead of a long term solution. The problem reappeared and the damage was greater each time. Can you guess where I’m going with this…?
You got it! I’m using my experience from earlier this week as a catalyst for a personal experiment. It’s time to take a mental dive into the deep end of my mind. (Water puns — am I right?) For the next month I’m challenging myself to become comfortable with the uncomfortable thoughts I have a habit of (literally) running away from. How? Meditation.
I am aware meditation has become somewhat trendy. There are a gazillion apps; sleek, exclusive meditation studios; and luxury retreats in Bali. (Side note — do we not find meditation apps to be somewhat of an oxymoron?) However, meditation and mindful contemplation go back millennia to some of the earliest civilizations. In my opinion, there is obvious benefit to this practice for it to have stuck around for so long. My personal interest lies in observing the benefits of incorporating meditation into my life as a tool to enhance my athletic performance. The hypothesis in question can be written into the following two equations:
Being more in touch with your own mind = being more in touch with your physical body.
Being more in touch with your physical body = better athletic performance.
Feel free to follow along as I plunge into the world of meditation for the next month in effort to see whether or not these equations ring true. Through personal research, interviews with fellow athletes, and health care experts I will share a final written anecdote about my experience. Through my trial and error let’s see how, for one curious and humble runner, the impact the mind can have over the marathon.
Photograph by Valerie Miles.