Trail running in Waldo County, Maine.

Trail Running

I run because I don’t have it all figured out. Because sometimes, despite how much I’ve learned, my sense of purpose seems like a moving point hidden in killer fog (sometimes, it’s the whole damn fog bank). I run because when I do, my lungs demand to be noticed. “Hey, look at us!!” They are such gifted lungs.

I’m a firm believer that when the fog comes in, obscuring light and inspiration, you must trust in karma. My karma came in the form of an email blast from Goodreads, which I almost never open. I have no idea why I clicked on it but it led me to a book on creativity, a little bible called “Steal Like An Artist.” I hadn’t read 15 pages before I started feeling less alone. Less dumb. Less uninspired.

 Quiet, Green, InspirationalWhile the author, Austin Kleon, didn’t specifically write, “Get off your butt!!” as one of his “10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative,” I read between the lines. I laced up my running shoes and headed out on a trail I’ve never been on, winding through forest that, by design, shut out sunlight. Surrounded by cool, quiet green, I jumped over a thousand tree roots, letting my lungs turn air into inspiration. Every once in a while, I got a view of Little River.

The Little River Water District Station in Belfast Maine

Little River

None of us are really alone unless we choose to be. There is joy to be discovered around us that has nothing to do with our social media feeds, the number of zeros on a paycheck, or whether you are struggling to get words on a page or a kindergarten teacher surrounded by bedlam all day. I use this example because, in the middle of my run, I came upon a group of students and their teacher sitting crisscross applesauce in the middle of the woods. The teacher was telling the story of the forest and the river, a balanced and beautiful ecosystem.

The beauty of Little River in Belfast, Maine

Quiet, Green, Inspirational

Getting unstuck is sometimes only about moving your body. About getting away from the noise of your own mind. About breathing. These things are principles of Buddhism not because some genius monk thought of them a long time ago, but because they actually work to quiet the soul. When I got home from my run, I started reading “Steal Like An Artist” again, and when I came to Kleon’s tip #6 it was “Do Good Work and Share It With People.” And so, while I don’t normally try to write inspirational posts, I needed it today so I thought I’d share in case you do, too. 

Trail running in Belfast Maine - lots of tree roots

Root System