A few months back I wrote about my experience in letting go of running. You can read about it here. One thing I should make clear is that the physician who diagnosed the osteoarthritis in my right knee talked about me not running marathons again, but she did not rule running out entirely. She prescribed an off-loading knee brace and said, “You might be able to run with it; I don’t know.”
In early December I was fitted with the brace and started using it. I noticed that I had a slight limp or hitch in my walk as I use it. I mostly wear it when I go on longer walks of three to four miles. Also I have worn it on occasion at the gym, using it with an elliptical trainer and walking on a treadmill. I have not as yet tried to run with it. Partly because it is winter in Minnesota and I fear slipping on some patch of snow or ice. Partly because I want my body to adjust to wearing the brace during walking. This spring, when I feel the urge, I will try a short run.
For now, at this moment, I have set running aside. I may be able to run in the future, but for now I am not. What mindfulness continues to teach me is to live in this moment, accepting as life is, not as I would like it to be. In the past I have wasted a lot of mental and emotional energy regretting some event or yearning for something different. Learning to live in this moment is challenging. My mind seems to have a default mental state (sometimes referred to as the default mode network) that likes to ruminate about some past event or fret about some future challenge or problem.
Jesus warned about the danger of future worries in Matthew 6:34
So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Centering Prayer is retraining my mind to let go of these ruminations and worries while coming back to the simple awareness of God’s presence. As one sits in centering prayer, one may notice the mind wandering to some thought, feeling or judgment. When one notices the mind moving off on this mental tangent, whether it be some joyful anticipation or some anxious though, the practice of centering prayer is to gently let go of whatever thought or feeling my mind is following and return to my chosen sacred word. I may do this dozens of times during my twenty minute session. It is the continual practice of letting go and turning to God that is the exercise portion of centering prayer. (You can read more about centering prayer here.)
Like walking with my brace, my practice of centering prayer still feels like it has a pronounced limp. Yet my trust is not in my feelings during centering prayer, but in the fruit of the Spirit that has come with the practice in my daily life. I have discovered that I am more consistent in letting go of my worries and my attachments, such as my fixation on running. At least for the moment, which is sufficient for today.