Running Toward Stillness

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How many miles you run in a week, what splits you have to hit to break 90 in the half, how many seconds it should take you to hit a quarter-mile rep at 10K pace. You find security in quantifying your life. Blood blisters form between your toes. He fits you for new shoes, cushioned and electric blue, but the blisters stay. They look like what you imagine the space between your heart and spine looks like, the sticky jelly middle between the part of you that feels and the part of you that stands.

When you see clots you think of your grandmother who almost died of one that broke off and traveled toward her lungs after her knee replacement.

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You were eight and your aunt took you to watch the Peachtree Road Race while your parents were at the hospital. You remember her swollen legs striped with iodine, her skin that tore like wet paper from blood thinners, and the runners, flushed and dripping, the hard muscles of the first waves, the shuffle of rubber on hot pavement.

Your feet become tough and weathered. You ask her to let you keep your calluses but she snips the buttons of your toe pads with scissors. Your plated skin floats in the water like fallen petals. You lose weight, and then your period. For the first time, you are of your body instead of just attached to it. Whatever that body looks like feels meaningless.

A woman stops you in line for security at the airport to ask what to do to get legs like yours. Your college roommate says you look sick. You run until your legs feel like rot. Your body starts talking to you again, demanding.

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It tells you to eat pasta and puts you to bed early. It begs you to stand, to stretch, to take it on the road again, like a sentient sports car. You put your brain in your legs and let them lead you as far as they want to go, until you break one — a fracture in your tibia. Your orthopedist is 35 years old, with all his hair and high cheekbones. You hop on one leg for him and round your spine to show him its curves.

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You knew there were other options to void yourself. It feels impossible to eat or rest enough to heal yourself, impossible to move enough to exhaust the quakes in your soul. Running is a drug. You are building a tolerance.

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You make puns about chasing a high. But you do want it. You want to construct instead of trace, to use your hands and your ears and your eyes to build something beautiful, to let yourself grow soft and grassy and open. Leo deleted his Facebook account years ago. Music is playing everywhere you go, even elevators. Many people unwind by watching the latest blockbusters. Set a time of day when you read news or blogs if at all.

Stillness. The most important lesson from the yoga mat

Games, apps, text messaging, calls, personalization, internet browsing; you name it and a smartphone provides it to you. This constant bombardment of information is not healthy. You want to stop being a slave to personal technology, media and peer pressure? Follow these simple methods to get rid of the pointless noise in your life. The flood of alerts that continuously hits you through your laptop, tablet and mobile phone needs to be controlled.

Switch off notifications for all apps except the ones you really need. Prioritize people and say no the mindless stream of data coming your way. If you are a social media addict then this is crucial for your personal development: stop looking at your social media and email accounts every ten minutes. Checking them once a day with professional exceptions should be enough.

Sit down and think about all those online accounts you have. Websites promote themselves through several channels including subscriptions.

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Are they important? Everyone has preferences they lean towards the second they find free time. You can entertain yourself in ways other than gaming, movies, online browsing, television and mobile apps. This will not only clear out noise but also improve your efficiency. The main dilemmas that now remain are adjusting your routine after filtering out noise, searching for meaning and maintaining your new lifestyle.

First of all, you need to get rid of all your previous habits associated with that noise. Obviously, you must have spent hours surfing the web, online gaming, conversing via instant messaging or being active on social media. What do you do with all the free time in your hands?

Do the opposite of what you used to do: stop acting. Try sitting or standing still for five minutes without doing anything. Look around you and observe all the little things you missed while running around before. Make yourself the biggest priority in your life. Meditate, take a walk in the park, and write down your thoughts in a journal or sign up for volunteer work.

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They will help clear your mind and offer new perspectives. Embark on an enlightening journey to find the things that mean the most to you.

It will show you the true purpose of your life. Once you understand that, you will finally feel fulfilled and content in your life.