Practicing The Presence Of Fun!
"Nobody likes a poser, right? Well, maybe. Just depends on the person's motives, I suppose. I used to dislike, strongly, the term "Fake it 'til you make it!" Today, this dynamic is one of the many tools I use to enjoy life. Some days, every thing clicks when I am out barefoot running. I naturally fall into my barefoot technique, everyone is pleasant that I pass, the birds are singing ... you get the picture! Then, there are those days when I feel like I am just clumping along (yes, even those of us who have logged thousands of miles barefoot, on some days, "clump"). These are the days I have to focus more evenly on what's going on with my stride, footstrike, etc. It is sometimes frustrating when I can't just float along with a feeling that I'm barely touching the ground. While these runs are fewer and further between than they used to be, they do crop up from time to time.
These are the times "I fake it 'til I make it". I concentrate on the fundamentals stride, footstrike, knee bend, and gravity of my posture. Then, I try to focus on my surroundings. I try to go out of my way to say "hi" or greet those around me -- I enjoy various sights and sounds that might catch my eye or ear. Today, although it was extremely loud, I was glad for my sense of hearing so that I did not dart out in front of a cement truck when I wanted to cross a street. When the "Attitude of Gratitude" kicks in, then I enjoy my runs so much more. If I concentrate on the negative, it brings me down -- noise pollution, unkept sidewalks, inconsiderate drivers, then I will be brought down to that level of anxiety.
Smiles can be totally disarming, as we've already discussed. I saw a bumper sticker once that said, "If you want to get rid of your enemies, make 'em your friends". From my experience, if a person is continually smiling it is hard for the other person to stay angry. What I have seen is usually two reactions (1) They will be dumbfounded and will not know how to respond, or (2) They will start smiling with you.
Barefoot Ken told me a year or so ago that I had been awarded the prestigious position as the Midwest representative for runningbarefoot.org. He said the pay wasn't very good ($0), but at least the work was rewarding. Not sure if BKB knew how I would take this role to heart, to try to be the ambassador of fun here in the Midwest that he has successfully been accomplishing on the West Coast for years.
However, it all comes down to practicing, for me. The more I practice having fun while I am running barefoot, the more fun I have. I'm not sure I can handle too much more fun, but I'm going to keep practicing while I let the fun leek out into all aspects of my life. Barefoot running has allowed me to stay in the presence of fun and happiness during my runs, and by golly, it's starting to take over other parts of my life. Let the "fun" epidemic spread by practicing its presence with all I encounter!
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