Lately, as I’ve become more and more absorbed in the world of mindfulness and meditation, I’ve become reacquainted with an old friend. A friend that I desperately wanted to like, but never really clicked with, or seemingly had the time for – visualisation.
In fact, I’ve actually become reacquainted with two old friends, because as I see the dreaded ‘Tough Mudder’ obstacle run approach, I’ve managed to pull out my trainers and start running again. Or rather jogging. Trotting even?!
My body has changed in the years since I stopped and started. And my knee now has titanium plate and pins supporting me from the inside. So discomfort is a permanent thing. Though it always was to be fair.
In my attempts to keep going, I’ve adopted the following mindfulness meditation/visualisation that I can repeat whist moving.
As I run, I send my attention to my breath. I notice it coming in. I notice it going out. I don’t change or control my breathing. I just notice what’s there.
Then I send my attention to the soles of my feet. I feel where on my feet the ground hits. I notice my toes in my trainers and feel the tops of my feet, noticing the material of my socks on skin.
I move my attention up through my legs, noticing how they feel both as separate parts, but also as a whole as they bend and turn and bounce. Sometimes I send them love. Especially the ‘bad’ one because that guy has really been through it in the last few years, and frankly it’s incredible that he’s letting me run and walk and do Jiu Jitsu and yoga. I’m so, so grateful for these legs.
I bring my attention up through my body, listening to any pain or discomfort or sensations that might be there. When I do feel discomfort, I send my attention towards it briefly, just noticing what the sensations are like with curiosity.
All the while, my breath is in the background, but I do occasionally go back to it and just notice how I continue to breathe, and how this breath reaches different parts of my body, giving me energy to keep running.
I send attention down through my arms and fingers. I notice how everything feels as my arms swing from side to side. I notice whether my arms feel soft or hard; warm or cold; tense or loose. I like them to be loose, but powerful.
Lastly, I bring the attention up to my head and face, noticing what they feel like. I relax my face, while maintaining what I can only hope is a look of steely determination in my eyes.
I begin to visualise a golden thread, holding me upright, reaching from my head up into the sky. I run tall and upright.
I notice the breath coming in. I feel it come in through my nose, filling me with energy, strength and power. I imagine that my breath is a glorious buzzing, yellow colour, the colour of sunlight. As I continue to run, I notice that the sun-like breath moves throughout my body, reaching every corner.
As the breath rests, it goes into my bloodstream and my blood becomes something like liquid honey. It travels around my body, adding sweetness and joy and energy and love to everything it touches, until I am glowing on the outside as well as the in.
And so I continue to run, feeling strong, energetic, powerful and even euphoric (especially once the endorphins kick in!)
If you’re not a fan of the visualisation, just try the first bit of mindfulness. If you usually listen to that inner monologue of how miserable/tired/unhappy/unfit you are, battling with yourself to go faster or just to go full stop, then this has to be an improvement.
Happy running. Or trotting! 🙂