Monday, October 8, 2012

Running Scales

Running to win or better your time is a sport.

Running for time or distance becomes athletics.

Running to run or for duration becomes a practice.

This is a great example of how you can do the same thing but for different reasons.  As attacks on ability mount, whether from age, overuse or injury, to keep running, your mind must move down the scale.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Musings on the Light and Momentary

The discipline of distilling something into a rigid form heightens and sharpens the thing you are working with.

This morning I was our for a run and one of my turns took me through a quiet path that connects the street full of orange cones and construction vehicles to a pedestrian crossing over the Light Rail tracks.  I'd been through here many times but this time was different.  The oleander that lined the east side of the path was in full pink bloom and while the sky to my back was cloudy, the sky in front was a cloud-free deep blue, even without tinted sunglasses.

The contrast between the striking still blue of lapis and the floating, pale pink, between the vast and solid skies and relatively tiny star-like floating flowers struck me hard.  If I had had my iPhone with me, I would have made a photo, but I didn't, so I made a memory another way.  I wrote a haiku, a poem with 5 syllables on the first line, 7 on the second and 5 again on the third.

Profusion of pink
oleander against wide
open cobalt sky

Sometimes collecting our scattered momentary insights into a compact, rigid form gives them an architecture for sharing the experience.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

4 Ways to Address Purposeless Irritations

Sometimes, when designers and manufacturers make clothes, I don't think they think about the wearer.  They often put tags in the most annoying place possible.  I realized that I have 3 pairs of pants with tags that scratch so much that I will only wear them with long shirts tucked in to shield me from their distracting claws.

I was tolerating these things and had adapted strategies for them.  But none of the strategies contemplated the removal of the thing I was tolerating because I didn't want to ruin the clothes.  However, I was getting to the point where I didn't even want to wear them because of the scratchy tags or the need for a certain type of shirt.

So, I pulled out the pants and looked them over. The tag in the first two pair of pants was firmly stitched through to the outside of the band. Removing the stitching would leave faded mark around the stitching through-holes but this could be covered up by a belt if necessary. Upon evaluation, I removed the tag.

The tag in the third pair of pants was firmly embedded in the stitching of the rear seam.  At first I thought removal would make them unwearable but I realized that all I would need to do is visit the seamstress and have them mended.  Since I would never wear them again as they were, I decided to restitch.

The pants example is simple but it made me think - how many purposeless irritations do we tolerate because we haven't seriously evaluated:

  1. What are you giving up? For me it was an itch free existence, the freedom to enjoy wearing those pants, and the freedom to do laundry less often with these in the rotation.
  2. What are you suffering through? Again, for me it was wearing scratchy, itchy, irritating clothes.
  3. What damage would you cause if you addressed the problem?  My pants would have exposed stitch holes and one pair would have an interrupted seam.
  4. Is that damage repairable? Yes, with a visit to the seamstress in one case and a belt in the other.

I'm much happier wearing these pants now because I have removed a purposeless irritation of scratchy tags in a manner that did no irreparable damage.  This is a super simple example but sometimes that helps us become aware of the more abstract areas of life where this occurs.

What purposeless irritations can you remove today?