the sweet spot

I think the first time I heard of the term sweet spot was when I played tennis as a child and the ball hit the sweet spot on my racket, and with minimum effort I hit an awesome shot. Then again in yoga when positioned in pigeon pose and struggling too hard to get the posture, I surrendered to the moment and relaxed into the pose, and I went further with less pain and a smile.

Sweet reminds us of being indulgent…delicious candy and ice-cream and cake. It tickles the palette and happily jolts the senses in delight. It captures your attention and brings you to a moment. Enjoyment. Love. Its being fully engaged in feeling.

A spot is just that…one small circle. It’s not a line that continues on and on. A spot stands alone.

And so in the run, and in life, we have these indulgent single sweet spots. Where life exists for a brief moment and it all feels just right. I like to think of it as equal parts effort and surrender.  Engagement without obsession. The flow of life in a moment. Nothing forced. Nothing gained. No objective or goal. As soon as you try to hold on to it, or stop it, or master its sweetness, you lose its magic.

Its a feeling. Its being IN your body. Thoughts exist as only thoughts. No layered stories to torment or question or build you up or break you down.

Running in your sweet spot means rhythm and flow and moving with beautiful effort. Your senses engaged. Eyes fixed on greens and blacks and colors everywhere. Ears silenced by the gentle inhale and exhale of your breath and soft sound of your feet touching the earth. You taste the salt of your sweat. You smell the perfume of flowers nearby. You surrender to the pure freedom of the run. No resistance. No force. No questioning. Peace and stillness in movement. A feeling of being. No race to run. No missed PR to torture you. Just running for the pure feeling of moving your body. It happens in one stride and then another, and sometimes its there for a block, or even a mile. And if you are lucky an entire run. But then it’s gone. And you try to get it back. You try to repeat the conditions and the time and the place….but nothing.  So you just run again, and let go. And it’s back. The running sweet spot. I have learned that it cannot be controlled or duplicated or forced. It happens like magic when you open up and let go and expect nothing.

Just like in life – those moments that take your breath away – pure exhilarating sweet spots when it’s all just right. Just IS. No expectation. No past or future. Just present. When every details is etched in your mind and life is clear and vivid. It can be in a moment when you look, really look, at your sweet baby girl and feel her joy and innocence and life. It is beautiful and real and pure. And all you are, and feel, is LOVE. Abundant gratitude for simply being. No bills. No worrying. Everything in that movement, is good and real and true. You see the world as it is and accept it, and are thankful for all you have, and all you dont have.

Without the sweet spots? Average. Mediocre. Blah. In exploring the sweet spots…I noticed my adventures of struggle and pain and dirt also contained vivid, bright, clear moments. Just as we savor the sweet, we pucker at the sour. Both intense. Both vivid. Both poignant. You would not be able to distinguish one, if it weren’t for the other. We fly high on wings on baby’s laughter and crash on midnight phone calls.  We shine in love when we actually do something right in our parenting, and sob with pain when we miss a PR.  We have to experience the bad, to feel the good. I noticed that the feeling of nothingness also exists in sour spots. When bad news jolts your existance. When a lonely run is hard and the voice too much to bear.  When moments of sheer panic and exhaustion, force you to surrender.  Life flows. You feel it all. Thoughts are there only as thoughts. The chaos and screaming in your head quite down to mumbles and you just are. Watching. Experiencing. Feeling. Perspective opens up and you see truth. And its ok. No more resisting the pain. No more changing what is real. You accept. You move through. You open up to feel.

And so I am learning to practice this nothingness. Practice gratitude and love for what is true. No matter if I like how it looks or not.  If I can be thankful for the experience of it,  just living is enough.  It is a constant practice. To let go. To surrender. To FEEL. In the run, the practice of moving. When I let go of time and pace and what a 12 min/mile means? I can just run. When I run for the act of running instead of checking off miles on my plan. I can just run.  When I give up controlling the run with weather or the perfect route, I can just run.  And so the practice continues in life where I can practice nothingness. No expectation of what my house should look like.  Accepting what is….the laundry, the bills, the chaos.

Note to self: Love what is. Be grateful for moments of nothing & everything. Connect to truth.

And that is life on the run rockstar runners.