Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happiness is a Manner of Traveling

Jan. 26, 2013

Today I'm 195.0 pounds of rolling thunder.

I've always been a sap for inspirational quotes. Whether it was some hackneyed cliché that a coach posted on the wall in high school or something I've stumbled across in my reading or email, I've always been moved to action by a line well written.

Margaret Lee Runbeck
Today the quote "Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling," bounced into my inbox. It's from American author Margaret Lee Runbeck.

The thought reminded me of a book I bought years ago titled "The Journey is the Destination," which chronicles the life of photojournalist Dan Eldon through his journals. The book is the legacy of an artist who was killed just as his creativity was starting to gain recognition.

So today will be another great winter running day and my journey and destination will be the familiar sidewalks of my neighborhood. The skies are sunny and clear and the temperatures should climb well into the 40s, so I'll be out there putting one foot in front of the other.

I often remind myself that the daily journey, whether it's running, enjoying my family or talking with friends is all part of the marvelous fabric that makes up the journey.

I'll admit that it's hard some days to separate the pools of despair that we all feel during the dark days of winter from the promise of the spring, just as it's difficult to overcome the setbacks and frustrations in our lives that are contrasted by our triumphs and successes.

We are strivers by nature. We are hard-wired to find better jobs, bigger houses and generally accumulate more stuff. 

Runbeck, who died in 1956, wrote: "Giving is a necessity sometimes... more urgent, indeed, than having."

Somewhere along the journey we've lost our way. Nearly 60 years have passed since Runbeck's death and if anything we've become accustomed to having more stuff.

We often fail to stop and enjoy the process of life. Perhaps the sacrifice in all our modern advances is that we've lost the gift of appreciating just being. Our generation of smart phones, flat-screen TV's and GPS watches prohibits us from sitting and listening to a clock tick while sitting in a quiet circle and talking with our aunts, uncles and grandparents.

In running, sometimes it's the pain you feel in your body or the euphoria that falls upon you after a good jog that are the reward -- the journey is the destination. Or maybe the reward is running on a new, unfamiliar path -- the road less-traveled, if you will.

For almost all of us, it's easy to fall into the familiar patterns of life: wake up, go to work, run, TV, sleep. Get up and do it again and then wonder where our lives have gone.

Today I'm 195 pounds of rolling thunder, and I'm going to do my best to embrace the journey while I let life wash over me. 

Remember, it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. 

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