If we really want to get rid of suffering, completely and totally, then clinging has to go. The spiritual path is never one of achievement; it is always one of letting go. The more we let go, the more there is empty and open space for us to see reality. Because what we let go of is no longer there, there is the possibility of just moving without clinging to the results of the movement. As long as we cling to the results of what we do, as long as we cling to the results of what we think, we are bound, we are hemmed in. Meditating on No-Self: A Dhamma Talk (Edited for Bodhi Leaves), by Sister Khema(1994)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

TWO WEEKS!!! Tough on the patience

And we're back.  12km this morning.  It is quite hot in Kyiv.  We had a nice cool period, when I wasn't running of course, but it is back to blazing again.  For the last two weeks I have engaged in meditation, both insight and mindfulness, teaching CELTA, stretching and core, but no running.  Interestingly, three times I thought the next day would be the day, and it clearly wasn't.  Last night it seemed pretty good, so off I went today.

Not bad in general, my following of the breath was continually interrupted by monitoring my back, which of course required that I return to the breath about two million times.  The final two kilometers was probably the best breathing mindfulness I had.  It was not a quick run.  I never thought it would be.  I will be surprised if this isn't the fastest I run all week.

New shoes in play.  Recall I had 250 on the Kinvara's and the shoe people said that was about what I would get.  Well I bought a pair of Saucony Cortana from the same people in America and I put those on.  This is supposed to be their high end version of the Kinvara.  On the internet web chats I should get about 300 miles out of these shoes, that is around 550 kms so I can live with that, we'll see.  First day out was not particularly impressive, I ran without inserts, I think first things first, the inserts have to go in, then I can see what happens next.  The shoe itself wasn't that interesting, seemed like any other shoe, but only one run.  Given impermanence, tomorrows run in them will be different, it is after all a different shoe as I am a different person tomorrow.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Living with Disappointment

Put the shoes on, stretched, headed out the door, after about 1 minute I stopped.  I felt a twinge the entire time, nothing that I hadn't felt before.  However, what I had felt before left me unable to run for 5 days, and now it looks like 6.  So, I shut it down and walked back to the flat.

I am disappointed.  I am waiting, patience, all that arises ceases, and everything is impermanent.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just have to be mindful

No run Tuesday, no run Wednesday, no run today, maybe no run until Sunday.  The back turned out to be a bigger phenomena than anticipated.  I am just working on doing core (which doesn't hurt my back) and a lot of stretching.  Seems to work its way down the left outside part of the leg in a stretch. Today is the first day it actually felt much better, though tightened up as the day went on.

I've tried separating the mind and the body and in breath awareness that has worked pretty well, but I was in a surprising amount of pain yesterday.  A lot of stretching made it much better today so it looks like patience is the order of the day for a few days.  No sense running with any pain just to run, that will cause more setbacks than I want to consider.  So maybe see you Saturday, if not Sunday.

Patience and mindfulness.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back Pain, will it cease?

Since Friday last I 've been struggling with back spasms that managed to radiate down into the flank area over the last four days.  Friday it just was in the lower back near the fascia, left side.  Friday night after the run was a tough walk around the flat.  Saturday, a little worse, but walking was tougher.  Sunday, worse.  Monday I ran and the run seemed okay as it got loosened up but you could definitely feel it.  I could barely walk afterward.  Today all through the day I walked with a limp, so some core and a lot of stretching for today, no running.  I won't run tomorrow either as the assessor is coming to assess our CELTA course so there will be a dinner involved, so home late.  No use chancing it.  We will see what ceases and arises in two days time.

When I was buying the extra shoes in Tallahassee for the return trip to Kyiv I asked the people at Capital City Runners how many miles they thought I would get out of the Saucony Kinvara 3s.  They thought 250 miles was about max before you started feeling things.  I really didn't want to believe that since I live on the 310 mile or 500km rule. Well guess how many miles I have on these shoes?  400km or 248 miles.  is that a coincidence?  I will switch shoes when I start up again. 

Thursday through Monday, 5 days of running.  All of it quite good.  A lot of breathing meditation for each of the runs.  Of course I lost mindfulness regularly, but following the breath the entire run was helpful to return back without blame to the breath and disconnect mindfulness from the body and work with the areas of a new body with every second, every step, every 2 steps, meters, kilometers, miles, runs.  Interesting phenomena.

Also, the back is none of my business, it is the bodies business and all that arises, ceases.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

End of the Week, each step is a different person

This is the end of a very interesting week.  Second week of teaching CELTA is done, and I ran 6 days in the week for the first time in 3 weeks, or the second week of my vacation.  In addition, all sorts of interesting phenomena arose and fell during this weeks runs.  Today was no different.

I would characterize my brain as indicating my body was tired about 10k in to it.  I had a very interesting 3km of thinking about how each step was actually a different person which seemed useful.  If the concept is correct, if all things are impermanent then every step is different, or should be considered to be a different person.  Under this thinking there could be progress toward other things, but isn't that grasping?

It was a 7:45 p.m. start and there was a bit of wind for the uphill 5km start to things.  The rest of it was looking at the world and seeing how it had changed in the last 24 hours.  In the deep hill section, by the US Embassy, where I haven't been in a week, there is a great deal of sand everywhere, looks like there was flooding there, wouldn't be surprising, it is very low country down there.  Not Alvin York's bottom land though.

The real phenomena is where is it all going?  But isn't that craving?  Each step is a different person, interesting, true?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rain and Impermanence

Didn't run yesterday.  Quite tired actually, wondered whether that was because of three days in row, not really, or that I managed to talk myself out of it.  More likely.  12km today.  It rained.  Really nice.  The first rain run in Kyiv in quite a long time.

Two interest arising phenomena today.  Rain cleans Kyiv, a good hard rain moves the dirt and the grime of 4.5 million people off the streets and gives it a shine.  This observation came to me at about 4 km today and I considered the concept of impermanence and dirt for about a kilometer.  The other was why didn't I run yesterday, in reviewing why I can come up with:  1.  it will hurt, it hurt the day before (but it didn't really), besides that isn't the same person as today is it?  2.  I'm tired, I've been on the metro and training all day (I might can accept this) 3.  My schedule was thrown off by other things (this is where the meditation and running came in)  clinging to the schedule really doesn't lead to anything good.

A good hard run, a different person will be running tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Three Days in a Row or All That Arises Ceases

I feel compelled to write about this.  I've run three days in a row.  You'd think I was some sort of runner or something.  It feels like forever since I strung three days together.  In fact, in looking at the running log it has been since the 26-28 of June.  That is 12 days.  My legs today actually started to feel a little dead.

Ran 12k today and 12k yesterday, both at around 8 pm in the evening.  I'm teaching this CELTA course in Obolon and the commute is 55 minutes of walking and riding the Metro each way so who knows how long it will last at this rate. 

I feel good, I'll say that.  Changing my eating habits has been helpful also.  Because I'm not teaching at night I'm not eating late at night.  I've managed to lose a large majority of the weight I brought back with me from the US.  I've also been able to meditate each way on the metro and following the breathing.  All good things.

To think about, of course this is all impermanent and if if thought of as lasting will be unsatisfactory and therefore suffering. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Nothing is Permanent

Rose and ran.  I'm now down to one cup of coffee per day and have switched over to green tea.  How that is relevant to the first sentence of this post is currently unknown.

Man it is hot here.  Low humidity, about 50% and only 30 C, about 87 so really it should not be that interesting of a problem.  In fact it is/was.  Started nicely very relaxed, but of course trying to weave my way around the roads to find all the shade.  At least that occupied my time. Also made some effort to follow my breath and see where that led me.

It felt hot, but it also felt very nice to be putting one foot in front of the other.  About half way I climbed that big hill and that really seemed to take some steam out of me.  I had 241 BS before the run and took 1.5 units, by about 11 k I felt I needed to take a GU, and did.  I didn't have any water with me however so it was like having a blob of goo without anything to dilute it. 

I really felt like I struggled to get it home, yet overall I was going much quicker than I thought I was.  Yet another reason to just have the experience and not attach phrases to any of it. 

Finished up and it appear that I lost 4 kilos of water weight, that seemed a bit dangerous.  We'll see how the rest of my day goes.  But I've certainly drunk a lot of water so far.

Impermanence, each run and each breath is different in some way.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A whimpering start to July

Oh woe is me!  Woe! Woe!  After finishing last month badly, this month seems to have started even worse.  The best laid plans go straight to hell when DELTA Airlines is involved.  Didn't run Saturday to get ready for the flight back to Kyiv.  Boarded the Tallahassee flight just fine, arrived in Atlanta just fine, got in to the international concourse just fine...

DL 238 was scheduled for a 5:30 departure Saturday 30.06.12.  Never happened.  An international flight that gets cancelled!  They loaded the plane late, they got to the runway, they had a problem with a light, they couldn't fix it, they went back to the gate, they couldn't fix it, we got off the plane, they fixed it, we wanted to get back on the plane, then DELTA said they now had no crew, then the lied and said they had a crew, then they said they didn't know if they had a crew, then they fed us water and pretzels.  Then they lied some more, at 3:00 a.m. Sunday 01.07.12 they cancelled the flight!!!!  We collectively waited in line for changed flights, we got meal and hotel vouchers, we took a bus to the domestic side which dropped us off in the wrong place, I took a taxi to Days Inn Six Flags where I arrived at 5:00 a.m. and slept for 5.5 hours.  I got back in a car and arrived at the airport at 12:30 for a 3:45 flight ot Paris Charles DeGaulle.  Made that flight, made the flight to Kyiv.  Guess what didn't make it?  My luggage.   Two days later it arrived at my flat.

Awesome experience. DELTA airlines, worst experience I have had since I was flown half way around the world on a plane used to fly Muslims on Hajj to fight in Desert Storm (now that is irony).

Arrived in Kyiv at my flat around 2:00 p.m. on Mon 02.07.12.  I got in a 10km run on Tuesday that felt good to kick some rust off.  I went to sleep.  I woke up and started a CELTA training course as the trainer on Tuesday.  And then crash and burn.  I slept from 9:15 pm to 6:45 Tuesday and Wednesday.  I never could get out the door.  On Thursday I took a 1.5 hour nap and then ran at about 8 at night a very nice pleasant 12k.  I wanted to run Friday and Saturday. 

I just kept making excuses.  I have no excuses, I just could not get out the door.  I feel much better now that my body clock is back to normal after the Saturday/Monday experience.  A new week starts tomorrow, return without blame.