Spring + Gratitude

The seasons are changing.

I know this not just because of the date on the calendar. There is a change in the air. The smells are different. Birds are singing and in the east, the sun is beginning, at this early hour to peek above the horizon. The air also has lost the bite which has kept most of us indoors for the past few months.

I stepped outside for my run this morning feeling hopeful as a new week begins. A quick glance toward the heavens and I am humbled and reminded as I look at the stars which are visible. I am reminded that I am but a speck in this vast universe.

I think, a lot during my runs. I enjoy running because of the usual escape from deep thought which is offered by running. Often I cannot recall what I have thought as these thoughts cascade and become lost like a drop of water breaching the crest of Niagara Falls.

As I run down darkened streets, the only visible light is coming from my headlamp. It lights a path directly in front of me allowing my immediate universe to remain even smaller. I think about the humility which I feel and for which I am grateful. I thought about the recent goings on in our country and find myself dismayed. Dismayed that we can’t even treat each other with the smallest speck of respect yet we hope by continuing to confront each other, often with violence on very polarized fronts we will unite and achieve our desired goals.


Instead, I think of the symptoms of Tinnitus which have been bothering me with more frequency and intensity over the past couple of weeks. The ringing had been much improved for reasons neither I nor the doctors understand. I think I had lost a small amount of gratitude for the life which I have. These last several days when the ringing in my ears has been difficult to ignore, I have reminded of the importance of gratitude. Visiting my mom and dad last night and seeing his inability to walk reminds me that there are bigger problems to manage and I am a lucky individual.


Turning 50…

It happened one week ago. I hit a milestone in life and I celebrated my 50th year on this beautiful Earth. The day passed with little fanfare save for calls from my brother and parents and a text message from my sister and a few close friends not to mention the numerous birthday wishes from “Facebook friends.” I guess I expected to hear angels singing or trumpets blaring. Instead my son accompanied me in a 5.50 mile run through Central Park. Frankly, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. The end of this run, a hug from my son were in fact the blaring trumpets and singing angels.

What I have learned these many years astounds me. What I have allowed myself to learn astounds me even more. 
This is not a birthday which comes with any anxiety. My only anxiety today arises from not having all the time to do the things which I want to do. I do not want to die, but I do not fear death. I do not want to be unemployed, but I no longer fear unemployment. Today I rise, I look toward the east and cherish the sight of the rising sun. I am thankful for my beating heart and for the breath in my lungs. I am thankful for my wife and children, for a career which I love and the ability to still enjoy the activities which remind me of the importance of enjoying life everyday.
I journal everyday. It’s a practice which I started when I was a teen. Over the years the journal has evolved from a tool designed simply to track my runs to a tool designed to be a mirror to my soul. That tool which causes me to look within and better understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.
My favorite time of day is morning. I marvel at the beauty of each sunrise. I listen to the solitude offered by my willingness to wake before most others. A lot of thinking takes place during this time. This is the time of day which has helped foster a deep appreciation for life and all that accompanies my life. I wonder, sometimes aloud why it takes an opportunity for solitude such as which is offered by my morning runs. When my birthday does arrive, I will rise to greet the sun. I will don my running shoes and shuffle off to Central Park and enjoy that day.
“…we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.  Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity.  We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
I grew up a scared little boy and grew into and individual who faces those same fears with greater ease and satisfaction. I learned to take risks and I learned to love the energy gained from those events. I learned to make mistakes and to cherish the gifts of those mistakes. I learned I cannot know success without the beauty of those mistakes. Many of us are afraid to make mistakes. I had previously counted myself amongst those individuals. Do not allow fear to rule your life and to ruin your life.