Sunday, July 20, 2014

I run because I need a deep cleanse...

Many of my friends embark on 'cleanses'. There are seemingly countless varieties of cleanses to choose from. Some are juice cleanses that entail consuming nothing but juice for 'x' number of days or weeks. Other cleanses entail eliminating alcohol, meat, dairy, or grain. The idea behind many of these cleanses is to 'detoxify'.

Independent of cleanses that involve some kind of dietary restriction, you have a countless array of cleaning products designed to eradicate dirt, dead, skin, oil, and all kinds of detritus that clogs pores and prevents one from being or feeling 'clean'.

Given the glut of news stories published that remind us of the countless ways in which what we eat, drink, and breathe is toxic, the desire to detoxify and cleanse makes sense.

Virtually everything we eat seems to be dangerous to our health. The air we breathe can make us sick. Independent of news stories that remind us of the constant dangers of becoming dirty, infected, or toxic, there are the numerous 'toxic' stories involving the horrific things we do to each other, the environment, and more. It's hard not to feel a bit dirty or toxic these days.

I've certainly felt a bit dirty before whether it's because my diet has been out of whack, I'm stressed, or simply had too many toxic thoughts rattling around in my head.

When I'm feeling decidedly unclean, I usually look to the trail to detoxify. A few miles running uphill on a dusty trail and I can feel the cleansing process take hold.

The smell of eucalyptus quiets and cleanses toxic thoughts. The fresh air rejuvenates and revives whatever might feel stagnant and stale.

Feeling the dirt beneath my feet that is millennia old grounds me and provides perspective. Countless have traveled this path before and countless will after I am gone.

My labored breathing reminds me that the numbers of breaths I have is finite. Each inhale and exhale is something I'm fortunate to have and isn't promised to anyone.

The change of scenery is therapeutic. Even if it is scenery I have encountered before, I likely haven't seen it in quite the way I did previously. The sun may be shining at a different angle. The wind might be blowing from a different direction. The fog rolls over the hill differently than it did before.

The path stretches on seemingly forever branching in multiple directions serving as a reminder that there are always options, there is always the opportunity to explore something new, and I venture on.

Finally, I return home covered in sweat and dirt, feeling as fresh and as clean as I ever have. I savor this feeling of cleanliness as I know it is fleeting.

I will take a shower and bathe myself in water that undoubtedly contains something toxic. Later, I will likely inadvertently (or advertently) consume something that is bad for me. A negative thought will flit across my radar.

Fortunately, my deep cleanse is not a monthly or annual thing. It's a perpetual thing. I run because I need a deep cleanse.

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