I often listen to Krista Tippett’s On Being podcasts. They generally cover inspiration topics on humanity, philosophy, and spirituality.

A recent episode had a discussion titled Running As Spiritual Practice.

Though this podcast is about running, one could immediately see that we share the same features in our kind of swimming.

However, I am also a runner, and since returning with my family to Oregon USA, something inside me really wants to run more these days. Perhaps it is because running is part of the culture of my home state (it is the home of Nike, after all). And, I love running in the Oregon climate, all year round – if you are an Oregonian, you must be OK with cool, wet weather most of the year. Something about it pulls me outdoors and fills me with energy.

I continue my mindful training in the pool but perhaps swimming in a short, shallow pool is not as captivating to my heart right now as the Mediterranean Sea (can you imagine?). It may be that I am returning to running as a ‘beginner’ in some ways. Using skills and insight I have gained from years of TI swimming I have put in careful effort over these last few years to totally overhaul my technique, to search out causes and remove injuries, and to transform my experience in running to make it so much more like the marvelous experience I have in the water. I am excited because there is so much more to learn and practice – I am a like kid in a mindful candy store!

Without fully understanding it, I accept that my body and heart urge me to run. So I follow the love onto the hills and into sprint intervals, in the rain and in the dark mornings I do moving meditation on technique and sometimes I feel like I can think greater thoughts. So, I could resonate with the diverse selection of people in this episode – all running for different aims – who described their spiritual experience of running.

What caught my attention to share with you was what Ashely Hicks said at about minute 16:30, “The blessing really is outside of your comfort zone. If you stay and do what you are comfortable with, you’ll never experience something new and incredible.”

She was describing some encouragement she got from an experienced runner when she was just starting to consider doing a marathon and was intimidated by the distance. That resonated with what I wrote about recently in Comfort Needs Discomfort.

And, at the very end of the podcast I was brought to tears by the story told by Billy Mills, Native American, and only American in history to win the 10,000 meter race (in Tokyo, 1964) in Olympic history.

You might be inspired by stories on this episode. You too may readily notice the similarities in your experiences of swimming.

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