Morning Run - Gratitude in Motion


I set out this morning on a run with a sense of both excitement and some apprehension. I had a mask-scarf around my neck as it was day one of the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Running my regular 5km route from my home along street-lighted roads, I had no specific goal in mind apart from just doing it. Not having run for five weeks, I thought I would probably be jogging slowly and walking in-between.

I started jogging immediately, which surprised me as I’d thought I would start slowly by walking. Ok then, I decided I would jog until a certain point ahead and then walk. I didn’t. I continued jogging. This line of thinking and moving along continued until the halfway mark when I realised that I would probably, not definitely, but probably run the whole way, which is what I did.

The main point here is that I allowed the running experience to be just as it was, to unfold as it would, with no stress as to any ‘I musts’. A very relaxing and calming, and at the same time motivating, approach.

I had thought I would have a great sense of freedom of being able to exercise freely outdoors, doing one of the things that I have always enjoyed – running. I did feel this, yet there was much more, and it was very personal. Firstly, I have always enjoyed exercising early, and although for me 6 o’clock is not very early, the area I ran in was still dark, quiet and empty of much movement. Only one other runner seen and one couple walking a dog and a sprinkling of cars. Ideal contemplative time for me – an outdoors semi-solitude experience coupled with exercise. Perfect!

From the very first running step I took, I felt a sense of gratitude, gratitude, especially for the fact that I am physically in a fit and healthy condition to be able to run, more so than the being allowed to run. This feeling of gratitude became ever stronger and morphed into a personal mantra in a way, inwardly, silently verbalising this immense “thank you” in various ways to the timing of my running steps and varied breathing patterns, a coordination of movement and gratitude mantra. Exquisite.

Our attitude is one of the few facilities we have much control over. Do we use it wisely?

I thought of the many people less fortunate than I who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to enjoy the sort of experience gifted me. And, not that I in the least dwell on the subject, given my many years of extreme, alcoholic behaviour, (alcoholism, gently laid aside here and belonging to the archives of history as it has completely played out its role in my life, and is only mentioned to provide context to an even greater and deeper sense of gratitude), what a privilege and a joy to be able to enjoy this almost sublime experience. “Thank you”, repeated over and over.

Following closely on running gratitude’s footsteps, its very close friend and associate – appreciation. Appreciation of so many things; early morning quietness, stillness, darkness, fresh air, Nature in the form of beautifully cultivated home gardens – some very neat and others more wild, sidewalk vegetation dressing-up for its passing visitors and, hopefully, admirers, a few stars still twinkling their existence in the dark heavens. Indeed heaven on earth. A reminder that we ourselves largely create our own heaven and, god forbid, hell on earth.

Our attitude is a definite part of our indwelling creator. Our attitude is one of the few facilities we have much control over. Do we use it wisely? A telling question, requiring an honest answer; which is an enquiry potentially leading us to more meaningful and purposeful lives.

So much more, then, than ‘just’ a morning run: gratitude enabling a deep and rich experience both during and after this particular exercise. A lesson for me on how to live many life moments in this active state of deep gratitude.

“Thank you”.