Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Zen of Running


It took a while for me to understand the difference between religion and spirituality. I was raised in a working class Southern Baptist family from deep in the heart of the Bible belt.  Three times a week my parents took us to our small community church to learn how to worship God.  The lessons I learned are still held close to my heart, even if I have discovered that my organized church is of less importance than my personal spiritual growth.

In my adult life I connected with God and grew spiritually through my running.  Odd as that might seem to others it made perfect since to me. God gifted me with the ability to run and I believe he did it for a reason. I am most spiritually connected to God when I run.  He is pleased to see me use the gift he gave me.

I use the talent I have been given to grow as a purposeful driven human being. I have found that the most important things in life are not things, but rather, connections to others through peace, love and compassion.  Enlightenment on the run is given to me as I silently make my way through natures glories.

 I no longer run for trophies, medals, honors and personal glory.  My running has become the vehicle I use to gain spiritual strength and use that strength to help others.  I run 80 -100 miles a week every week and occasionally run ultra distances for a foundation I hold dear to my heart. Each day, I give my best effort on the run because anything less would dishonor the gift I have been given.

This year I will embark on the longest journey of my life. The Team Underwood Foundation will sponsor a daily Triathlon that starts on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and ends on Labor Day in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It is a 1,600-mile journey divided into 80-100 mile daily sections.  Why do it? To honor God, to show love and compassion to those who suffer with Brain Tumors and to use the talent I have been given to give something of myself.

We all have talents that we have been given and we find ways to use them effectively. Take a moment today and share your talent with others. It is a wonderful way to grow!