Tag Archives: commitment

Hobbit feet

This post has ulterior motives, which I am going to uncover so that they are not actually ulterior and rather… exterior? I am using this post to share about my life and a product I think is wonderful, and I am also trying to persuade Rose, a CouchSurfer extraordinaire in Amsterdam, to host my sister and me on our backpacking trip through Europe.

She wrote on her profile that to make a hosting request more enticing, one should put “Hobbit” in the subject line. (Now this is the kind of person who would make a good host.) I got my new Vibram “barefoot shoes” yesterday, and they remind me of Hobbit feet, if for no other reason than they’re quirky, so I told her as much. My P365 photo was of my new shoes yesterday, so I had wanted to post them anyway, so yay, a post that kills two birds with one stone (or some other nonviolent metaphor) – post about my new awesome shoes and try to convince a cool lady to host Caroline and me in Amsterdam!

Vibram Five Fingers - aren't they cool? (You also get to see my beloved, tattered PJ pants ;)

Vibram Five Fingers - aren't they cool? (You also get to see my beloved, tattered PJ pants 😉

More about the shoes – I saw somebody at Kripalu (the yoga center I was at most of this past year) wearing these in the fall and fell in love. I’ve wanted these shoes ever since. So after about nine months of wanting them, I finally bought them for myself (after too much researching figuring out what kind and convincing myself that they rock) as a reward for sticking with my running plan for a couple of months.

I’ve worn them around today and love them!! I’m used to being barefoot all the time inside (around the house and at yoga) anyway, so being as close to barefoot as possible outside as well is awesome.

P.S. I’ve categorized this as “Mindful Living” because of my conscious consumerism choice.

Are you crazy?

Why yes, I am. Thank you.

My sister inquired about my sanity when I got home from a run at 11:05 PM tonight. Maybe for serious runners, or even not-so serious runners, running at night is perfectly normal. For me though, it’s been a shift in my life to even start running, so running at night never really came up as an option for whatever reason.

Last night, however, the hostess at the restaurant I work at went for an impromptu run on the beach after work with a couple of the server assistants. On my last legs of a 12 hour day, I couldn’t fathom going, and plus, I was still working, but their enthusiasm and action instilled the idea in me. Then, today was the very last day and run of the nine-week “Couch to 5K” running program I’ve committed myself to, and I didn’t have time to go before work because I slept in so late. I very nearly gave up on the planned run, thinking that maybe I could push run three of the last week to the next week. And, at the same time I had doubts, the combination of my own determination to finish the program and remembering my friends’ run yesterday gave me renewed strength and courage to try something new.

When I headed out towards the beach tonight after work, listening to Michael Franti, I felt joy bubbling up inside me. Knowing I was alone on the beach, making a conscious choice to live as I chose, I started allowing the joy to emerge in giggles and laughter.

the beach in the daylight. (Imagine it without all the blue, basically all black. Ok, so it's really not the same at all, but at least you can imagine the ground on which I trod. And I just really wanted to have at least one image to brighten up the post.)

The beach in the daylight. (Imagine it without all the blue, basically all black. Ok, so it's really not the same at all, but at least you can imagine the ground on which I trod. And I just really wanted to have at least one image to brighten up the post.)

I felt so present, so alive, so proud, to be outside under the stars, listening to music and breaking some of my mindsets – the big one of “Elizabeth doesn’t run” and the smaller one of “Elizabeth doesn’t run at night,” which I didn’t even know I had in the first place until I was presented with the option.

Some background on my relationship with running

I still regard finishing the cross-country season in sixth grade as one of my greatest accomplishments, because although I’ve accomplished a lot, I like what I do… except with cross country. I hated running, and I still kept with it, as a challenge. And back then I hadn’t yet developed my willful, souless dedication which has taken over my life a few times since then, so it was still a gentle, loving determination.

My next association with running was a few years later when I ran for supposed “health,” but really more to lose weight. That was unhealthy mentally, emotionally and physically, and so when I eased into a healthier relationship with myself and dropped my masochistic habits, running was among the first to go.

“Couch to 5K”

Now that I am in a much better relationship with myself, I’ve had it in the back of my mind to try running again for few years, but the time was never quite right. Then, suddenly, the time was right, and nine weeks ago I started the “Couch to 5K” running program, designed to ease “non-runners” into running. I like programs because they give me structure, and in addition to the structure that the program provided, which was wonderful, I set up rewards for myself, one every three weeks, and signed myself up for a 5K race – all to keep me motivated.

It worked, and despite all the self-doubt and mind blabber, I ran (and walked, as per the program) three times per week for the last nine weeks. It’s even started to be a time of joy, as I felt today (granted that joy is usually at the beginning, as I’m just leaving the house and going into nature, but still, it’s a start, and I’ve felt joy during the run too 😉

Sangha online?

Sangha = a) a spiritual community and b) something I’ve been missing dearly.

Could I find something as intimate as a spiritual community… online?

I’ve been listening to the Interdependence Project’s weekly podcasts, and hearing people talk about Buddhism in the 21st century mentally brings me back to SI and all the wonderful, stimulating conversations we had about the meaning of life – sprinkled with humour and vivacity. I’ve learned a lot about “contemplative practice” over the past year, but as you might be able to tell from that vague description, I don’t atually know that much intellecutally. So, being the nerd that I am, I signed up for the ID Project’s “Hardcore Dharma Summer Series” as a homelistener.

Today, an email from the teacher with the syllabus and expectations of the course excited me. (Actually, come to think of it, much like when I received information about SI, about a year ago.) Yes, homework excited me. Reading! Meditating! Being held accountable! … even if just by the fact that somebody other than myself expects me to read, meditate, and take this course seriously.

More than any of that, I feel encouraged and reinspired to practice because I know that others are in it with me. Community is so, so important to me, and how excited I was about the email to the class list confirmed that for me. Even if I’m not even sharing physical space or even conversation with the people in the class in New York, I feel connected, on some level.

And now, I repeat my seven day meditation vow, which they will repeat each Wednesday in class and I will repeat each Wednesday to myself, outloud, and right now, online for the world to see:

I, Elizabeth Cooper, with confidence in the benefits of a regular practice of sitting meditation, do hereby commit, for myself and no one else [my emphasis], to practicing at least one session of sitting meditation, for as short or as long a period of time as I am willing and able, for each of the next seven days.

I really like what Ethan, the teacher, writes about why we take the vow:

The taking of this vow creates a tangible memory in the mind of the person speaking it. The mind of the vow-taker is tethered to the flagpole of her commitment, bound only by an elastic cord of awareness. Whenever we stray from our vow, may that cord of awareness snap us back—with gentleness and humor—into the space of our practice.