I passed this small piece of artwork painted along a concrete trail while out on a run in San Diego earlier this year. As I ran past the picture, I processed it in my head and instantly thought it was such a powerful sentiment, but kept on running because I had a distinct amount of miles I wanted to complete in a specified time frame.
I continued to ponder the piece for about a quarter of a mile, thinking it would make a great photograph for my collection and a nice souvenir from my trip out west. I wanted to stop and capture the image, but I wanted to finish my run and move on with my day. I struggled with my thoughts, while my body continued moving in near automated form, before I suddenly realized , I was so clearly missing the point.
We’re all running somewhere – the next appointment, the next errand, the next family function – we never stop moving. We work, we process, we tend to our own needs, we care for others. We move on towards the next big thing without seeing the small stuff. Life is constantly in motion and expectations are high that we will continue to achieve, strive, and deliver. But to what end is our hard work leading us? We move too fast to adequately maintain perspective on the bigger picture.
Ultimately, I turned around and ran back to the picture. I stopped and allowed myself to truly be aware of my surroundings and process the moment. I took the picture above, smiled, wiped the sweat from my forehead, and continued on my run.
I can’t tell you what I ate for breakfast that day, or the clothes I wore during my run, or even what day of the week it was, but I could vividly describe that small square patch of pavement as accurately today as I could the day I was standing on it.
It is etched indelibly into a very happy place in my mind, serving as a reminder of my need to constantly breath and reboot.