For the first time in many years, I am excited to make a valuable New Years resolution. Usually I make a resolution because it seems the obligatory thing to do. This year, however, I got a good one:

Learn to live and move from my center

I got into this idea by reading Chi Running, By Danny Dreyer. The book provides practical advice on how to run faster, further, and with less injuries. In running, Dreyer says that efficiency comes from "...learning how to run from your center, and the better you get at that, the less you need your legs to run" (33). He continues,

According to T'ai Chi, your center, or dan tien, is located just below your navel and in front of your spine. It is conveniently hooked up to your arms and legs by a series of bones, ligaments, and tendons, so whenever you move your center, your arms and legs move, too (33).

He talks about how he sees inefficient runners wasting energy with by moving their arms and legs a lot, "but what is missing is the sense of integrity that comes from having a strong center" (33). I realize it sounds like fluff, but he has actual drills, techniques, and form suggestions for integrating this into your running program.
Throughout the book, Dreyer emphasizes that, "You can also develop qualities from running that can be transfered to the rest of your life..." (17). I spent time describing how to be a centered runner so that you could best understand my resolution to learn to live and move from my center. To be centered in life, Dreyer says, "...gather to your center and let go of all else" (206). By that, he means to focus on those few things in which you passionately believe and those few things that you know are based on Truth. He uses his wife as an example:

She is rock solid in her beliefs and holds to them, knowing they are based in Truth. She creates her own life every day by embodying her beliefs and knowledge of what's best. She's not driven by the goals of others, and I rarely see her going along with the general trends of our culture without deeply questioning their benefits and drawbacks (219).

Just as efficient running comes from moving from ones center, extraordinary living comes about, "...if we first and foremost sense and acknowledge our own feelings, then act from a sense of who we really are, not from an idea of what will earn us the most positive or avoid the most negative responses."
I say learn because I do not expect to master this is the coming year. The learning is what gives a challenge it's spark - it's the challenges which make growth posible.
In this coming year, I will learn to live and move from my center. The living will occur by paying attention to those thing which matter most to to me - not in an isolationist or self-centered way - so that I can best contribute to my friends, family, society, etc. The moving part will be for my triathlon-ing, so that my swimming, bikyling, running are done with less effort.
According to Dreyer, running from one's center involves intense relaxation, which he describes as, "...the absence of any unnecessary movement" (55). Running faster means relaxing ones arms and legs while focusing on ones center. Therefore, to say that I will be learning to live and move from my center does not mean that I will be working harder. It means the opposite: I will be living and moving in a way that is simultaneously more focused and more relaxed.
Let's be honest, however. The FreyBird is already pretty damned focused and relaxed in my training and in my living. This resolution is basically just reaffirming what I do already while encouraging me to take it to another level. We'll see how it goes.


Libby Maxim said... @ January 1, 2008 at 7:33 AM

that is how you were raised Frey

dad and me always followed our center, and never followed the crowd when making decisions about you, what other parent woulda busted you out of football camp!!

onward and upward

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