Sustainable Food Trust Chair Anthony Rodale continues his series exploring the Harmony Principles and how they relate to running. Anthony is in training for the Trans Atlas Ultra Marathon which he is running in May to raise money for the Sustainable Food Trust’s Harmony Project.
In my introduction essay, Harmony in running: Anthony Rodale takes on the Trans Atlas Marathon, I mentioned there are three reasons why I run: discovery, health and fitness, and performance. This month I’ll talk about performance and the Harmony principle of Geometry.
In my mind, the principle of Geometry, is about seeing things in a different way and looking at patterns in Nature at both a macro and micro level. This means observing forms such as circles and spirals, reflected, for example, in an apple or a leaf. It is important to see these patterns in connection to the wider world and, what is for me, the sacred source of life.
These patterns in Nature are everywhere. Geometric patterns can also be seen within us on many physical levels. I ask many questions as a runner, including how I can connect “Geometry” to running. There are a few words which spring to mind, including movement and momentum, each of which demonstrate the geometric form of the body. However, there is one word which stands out: flow!
‘Flow’ defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “is a mental state of operation, completely focused motivation, harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In a state of flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized and aligned with the task at hand.”
For the past 28 years I’ve been obsessed by the idea of ‘flow’ and as an athlete, this has involved learning and refining how to put it into conscious practice. It can best be described by the euphoria that I feel when everything seems to align. I am connected to the place where I am running, symmetrical in form, powerful in effort, balanced, focused and self-aware. When my feet strike the earth and I am able to run with confidence and ease, I am also making visible geometric forms. And it is at times like these that I feel flow
Now that I am aware of geometric patterns, I feel, not only more connected to nature, but as though I have improved my attention to detail and ability to focus. These observations mean that I am able to step outside of my usual thoughts, which are often preoccupied by the need to keep going. I am calmer and feel more at peace. My eyes are open to the geometry of Nature’s design. I do look at the world differently.
Geometric patterns manifest in thought, in the mind, body and emotions, including the angular movements of leg and arm strides, patterns of breath and heart beats. Running with the principles of Harmony in mind, helps me, internally and externally, to prepare myself for the Trans Atlas Marathon journey that will require tremendous physical and mental endurance. Geometry is just one of the principles that I am discovering.
I’ll end with a quote which I find particularly relevant and inspiring, and which draws together ideas of patterns, cooperation and harmony. It is taken from The Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams:
“At the intersection of landscape and culture, diversity and inclusion, patterns of cooperation emerge in the name of community. The power of what binds us together, rather than what tears us apart, becomes a shared priority. A creative tension between needs, both human and wild, must be considered and negotiated. An unexpected harmony begins to emerge as something to be honored and safeguarded like water in the desert.”
To donate to Anthony’s Run please click here.
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