My Electronic Fast—Going outside to get inside (To be read while listening to Mario Takes a Walk by Jesse Cook)

Saturday and rainy.  It’s the weekend and there’s no need to get into my weekly routine.  Even though I’m retired and everyday is like a Saturday, I’m thinking of taking the day off—-from my other days off.  My lesser self pulls the covers over my sleepy head, but my better self forces me to stagger from my bed and slip on my tennis shoes. I skip putting on sweats or running gear and just go with the boxers and the 49er’s T shirt that I wore to bed,—I’m tempted to go commando style—now that would be a sight for sore eyes. I get aboard the treadmill and begin to think my walking thoughts.  I put one foot in front of the other and I am going nowhere fast, its a journey down an imaginary road that leads back to me.

It occurs to me that much of my life these days is lived outside of myself.  I know that sounds strange, so let me explain.  My life should be a balance between stimulation from the outside world and time spent sitting still and listening to what goes on inside.  Lately it seems that I spend most of my time trying to get away from myself.  I’ve become an ADD chaser of mental squirrels, OCD multitasker, acronym speaking, energy drinking, gadget fiddling, micro-waver, internet surfing, fast-food eating, reality TV voyeur-ist: and the quintessential soulless connoisseur of things–things outside of me.  Yes, that is what I mean when I say I’m living outside of myself.

It’s time I wake up my sorry-ed and make some changes.  I’m starting now by putting myself on a strict electronic-less fast for 24 hours.  I take a double step as I stumble from my treadmill.   In frustration I rip the iPod phones from my ears.  I look outside my window at a cold December morning with its gray drizzling sky.  I pull on a pair of wrinkled sweats and call out to my faithful dog Chase.   He bounds down the stairs and takes a seat in the foyer expecting a treat.  I encourage him, “Come on boy, let’s go outside”.  He cocks his head and gives me a questioning stare. “No boy, we’re going out there for a real run.” He gives me a confirming doggie grin, a tail wag and then follows me out the door.

As I move down the road thinking my thoughts, a simple epiphany suddenly causes me to stop in my tracks, “What I do, is what I become”.  If everyday I exercise and eat healthy I become an athlete, If I drink alcohol everyday I become an alcoholic, if I practice the piano everyday I become a musician, if I speak negativity everyday I become a negative person, If I choose to enjoy life, life will become enjoyable.  The clarity of this thought puts an approving smirk on my face. Maybe it’s not only what I do, but who I do it with? Well, if that’s true, then I’ve got to be careful about the friends I choose.  Ya spend your time with assholes, you become an asshole.  What I do, and who I do it with, is what I become.

I take a break and have a seat on a rock in the middle of a meadow.  For the first time in a long time, I can feel my body tingling.  I feel energy surging through my muscles; well maybe it was more like an ache from lack of use, but it’s a good ache.  A misty breeze blows across the sweat on my skin refreshing and awakening me.  I’m fucking alive!  I lay down on the damp ground and breathe in deeply.  I taste the cool sweet air.  I suck it in and considered how miraculous it is that my body turns air into life energy.  I’ve never been good at biology, so I’m not really sure how it all works, but it is one hell of a miracle, one breath at a time.  Yeah, I like air, thank god for air and lungs to breath it.

My heart is still beating hard in my chest from the exercise.  What a magnificent organ the heart is.  It’s about the size of a fist and it faithfully beats approximately 42,075,904 beats per year and that’s around 3.5 billion beats in an average lifetime—–And I don’t even have to think about it, it just keeps on beating one beat after the other—thu-dump, thu-dump.  I silently count out one hundred of my heartbeats.  I can hear blood surging deep inside my ears, thank God for my heart and the blood it pumps.  As I remain still I hear birds chirping back and forth to one another, “Good mornin birdies”.  Colors seem brighter, air tastes fresher and the sky above feels so much closer—I’m bigger than my body.

I’m taking this living inside myself a step further.  For me to feel God, to feel inspiration, I don’t need to go to church or read a holy book. I don’t need to be blessed, saved or redeemed. I just need to be still.  When I am still and paying attention, I can feel God right here inside me.  Maybe that’s what soul is, to feel God moving inside me.  Yeah, I think God is inside us all. He is that close, right there inside us and waiting to be expressed through us.  When I shut off all the outside chaos and noise I can hear him in my breath and feel him in my heart heart.

I once again put one foot in front of the other as I consider my new thought,  “What I do, is what I become”.

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