Saturday, November 22, 2014

Open your Armpits

As we approach Thanksgiving, I am trying to remember to be grateful and thankful daily. One of the things I am so grateful for is the Lake (Washington). It is one of my greatest sources of calm and inspiration. I see it everyday and I run on it often.

The distance from my house to Seward Park, once around the loop and back, if you take just the right extra turns and jogs in the path, is a little over 5 miles. Outside of a slightly longer run that goes through the inner trails, this is my favorite catharsis.  My ritual is to put on my Strava (I'm slightly OCD about mileage), tune Songza to inspirational pop favorites, and run down the hill to the lake.

This afternoon, after a hard interaction with my daughter that left me feeling a little depressed, I knew running would be the antidote to my sorrows. The tip of Seward Park is the half-way point of my run. It's also a popular spot for people to sit on the benches and look out at the lake and across to Mercer Island. Today, as I approached the tip, the clouds were pink, the lake was completely placid and there were a handful of people with their dogs standing, looking at a flock of birds floating on the lake. Everything and everyone was still, even the dogs.

As I approached this idyllic scene, Flo-Rida's "Good Feeling" was playing and I was running at a pretty good pace. I felt SO happy, so energized! The combination of everything was overwhelmingly peaceful and beautiful. I found myself raising my arms over my head with glee. I read recently that one of BKS Iyengar's students heard him say, "If you open your armpits, you'll never get depressed." That thought came into my head as I ran, arms spread, for a few paces.

The remaining miles home were equally blissful. Seattle, and the area around Seward Park where the lake dominates the view for miles, is perfect. People rowing crew, fishermen, eternally hopeful, happy couples walking together, finding time that will make everything better, bikers in their colorful clown-garb, runners, like me, bouncing with happiness at the scene. Open your armpits. And get a good feeling.

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