Barefoot Excerpt

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Chapter 3 of Barefoot Running.

Text of Barefoot Excerpt

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    Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. Heraclitus

    Once barefoot, were no longer simply running. Were now dancing through the woods, on the trails, and wherever we go. We land light, feel the ground, look around, then spring off the next foot, as nimble as the animals that live out in nature. Were hopping from rock to rock and step to step. Its more than childs play. I call it humanplay, or doing what nature intended us to do.

    Running in the NowFor me, barefoot running is an exercise in mindful meditation. I can clear out my mind and let go of thought. I become keenly aware of what Im doing and everything around me, but not of the incessant inner chatter. Being mindful or present of each step, theres no worrying about the past, no concern for the future. Im simply living each present moment, with each and every step.

    Once you start, you begin looking around and seeing the world in a diff erent way. You leave your troubles behind and focus on the feeling of your feet on the ground and the movement of your body. If youre thinking about the past or the future, you cant take stock of your condition. You cant hear your footfalls, feel the terrain change, or know anything going on around you. If youre dwelling on a problem, or focusing on the future, you may be completely unaware of the glass bottle shards coming your way.

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    For me, barefoot running is an exercise in mindful meditation. I can clear out my For me, barefoot running is an exercise in mindful meditation. I can clear out my mind and let go of thought. I become keenly aware of what Im doing and everything mind and let go of thought. I become keenly aware of what Im doing and everything For me, barefoot running is an exercise in mindful meditation. I can clear out my For me, barefoot running is an exercise in mindful meditation. I can clear out my For me, barefoot running is an exercise in mindful meditation. I can clear out my For me, barefoot running is an exercise in mindful meditation. I can clear out my Running in the NowRunning in the Now or doing what nature intended us to do. or doing what nature intended us to do.

    Were hopping from rock to rock and step to step. Its more than childs play. I call it Were hopping from rock to rock and step to step. Its more than childs play. I call it or doing what nature intended us to do. or doing what nature intended us to do.

    around, then spring off the next foot, as nimble as the animals that live out in nature. around, then spring off the next foot, as nimble as the animals that live out in nature. Were hopping from rock to rock and step to step. Its more than childs play. I call it Were hopping from rock to rock and step to step. Its more than childs play. I call it or doing what nature intended us to do. or doing what nature intended us to do.

    around, then spring off the next foot, as nimble as the animals that live out in nature. around, then spring off the next foot, as nimble as the animals that live out in nature. Were hopping from rock to rock and step to step. Its more than childs play. I call it Were hopping from rock to rock and step to step. Its more than childs play. I call it woods, on the trails, and wherever we go. We land light, feel the ground, look woods, on the trails, and wherever we go. We land light, feel the ground, look

    around, then spring off the next foot, as nimble as the animals that live out in nature. around, then spring off the next foot, as nimble as the animals that live out in nature. woods, on the trails, and wherever we go. We land light, feel the ground, look woods, on the trails, and wherever we go. We land light, feel the ground, look around, then spring off the next foot, as nimble as the animals that live out in nature. around, then spring off the next foot, as nimble as the animals that live out in nature. nce barefoot, were no longer simply running. Were now dancing through the nce barefoot, were no longer simply running. Were now dancing through the woods, on the trails, and wherever we go. We land light, feel the ground, look woods, on the trails, and wherever we go. We land light, feel the ground, look nce barefoot, were no longer simply running. Were now dancing through the nce barefoot, were no longer simply running. Were now dancing through the woods, on the trails, and wherever we go. We land light, feel the ground, look woods, on the trails, and wherever we go. We land light, feel the ground, look nce barefoot, were no longer simply running. Were now dancing through the nce barefoot, were no longer simply running. Were now dancing through the nce barefoot, were no longer simply running. Were now dancing through the nce barefoot, were no longer simply running. Were now dancing through the

    Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. )VNBOQMBZ%BODJOHXJUI/BUVSF)VNBOQMBZ%BODJOHXJUI/BUVSF)VNBOQMBZ%BODJOHXJUI/BUVSF)VNBOQMBZ%BODJOHXJUI/BUVSF)VNBOQMBZ%BODJOHXJUI/BUVSF)VNBOQMBZ%BODJOHXJUI/BUVSF

  • 24 Barefoot Running

    Letting go of your over-abundance of thought leaves you free to explore and truly experience your true nature and the world all around you. You smell, hear, see, and sense things youve never noticed before. You notice the birds, sky, trees, and every-thing around as if it were your fi rst time.

    Running in the now, in complete awareness, you feel the surreal sensation of fl oat-ing along. You hear the sound of the birds or the wind swirling between trees or even buildings. You feel the warm glow of the suns early blanket on your arms or even the powerful, healing whoosh of your own breath, drawn in and out.

    Running AwarefootRunning barefoot means running aware.

    When youre barefoot, you have to know whats in front of you and where to step. You need to know the temperature, conditions, and many other factors around you. And you must know your internal conditionsthose of muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons along with your fatigue levels, fl uid levels, and especially your mental state.

    To avoid the pebble, rock, or shard of glass, you are not necessarily scanning the ground ahead of you with eyes cast downwardever vigilant for a discarded, broken beer bottle or jagged rock. Instead, you must open your mind and your awareness by shutting off your thoughts and becoming, as I like to say, awarefoot. Simply feel the ground, feel your breaths, and then open up your senses, yet without thought.

    Once you connect to the ground, and open up your mind, a whole world of aware-ness instantly beckonseven that hazardous twisted soda can and its potential to send you to the ER for stitches. Animals feel the ground and are connected to the earth and their surroundings. Plugged in and free from extraneous thought, theyre constantly living in the now, aware of everything around and underfoot. Its a living awareness of the earth and their surroundings that allows them to avoid storms, forest fi res, and tsunamis.

    We humans too have built-in awareness. For example, we manage to instantly turn our cars without thought, swerving just at the last second, to avoid a collision. Our hair stands on end if we sense danger in a dark alley. But we wouldnt tap into this sixth sense if a CD was blaring in the car or the iPod was cranked up.

    So too our senses can be dulled by that inch of rubber between us and the ground.By cultivating our awareness by touching the ground and opening our minds, we

    improve every aspect of our lives. We go from simply living or being, letting the world carry us along, unaware and oblivious of our surroundings, to being fully aware and awake.

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    of the earth and their surroundings that allows them to avoid storms, forest fiof the earth and their surroundings that allows them to avoid storms, forest fitsunamis. tsunamis. We humans too have built-in awareness. For example, we manage to instantly turn We humans too have built-in awareness. For example, we manage to instantly turn of the earth and their surroundings that allows them to avoid storms, forest fiof the earth and their surroundings that allows them to avoid storms, forest filiving in the now, aware of everything around and underfoot. Its a living awareness living in the now, aware of everything around and underfoot. Its a living awareness of the earth and their surroundings that allows them to avoid storms, forest fiof the earth and their surroundings that allows them to avoid storms, forest fitheir surroundings. Plugged in and free from extraneous thought, theyre constantly their surroundings. Plugged in and free from extraneous thought, theyre constantly living in the now, aware of everything around and underfoot. Its a living awareness living in the now, aware of everything around and underfoot. Its a living awareness

    you to the ER for stitches. Animals feel the ground and are connected to the earth and you to the ER for stitches. Animals feel the ground and are connected to the earth and their surroundings. Plugged in and free from extraneous thought, theyre constantly their surroundings. Plugged in and free from extraneous thought, theyre constantly ness instantly beckonseven that hazardous twisted soda can and its potential to send ness instantly beckonseven that hazardous twisted soda can and it