Two Completely Opposite Ways to Cleanse Your Spirit

I think I get used to, even addicted to, the feelings associated with the end of a long training run.  I love feeling empty, clean, worn out, starving, and sweat-purged.

~Kristin Armstrong, Mother, Marathon Runner, Writer for Runner’s World Magazine


There is something pure and cleansing about immersing yourself in physical exertion. Something that washes away mediocrity and ambiguity. Replacing fuzziness and uncertainty with the sparkle of clarity.

When I run and sweat and think and dream I move through the crusty outer layers of myself and go deep to the pristine well within. In the space of complete presence and hard work, values and visions become crystallized.  Distilled. With each footfall and heavy breath my body and spirit get leaner. Negative impurities glisten on my skin, then evaporate. Worries and surface dirt wash away, leaving a clean slate for personal growth and good decisions.  I feel and see myself glow. I step off the treadmill or trail with a renewed sense of strength and confidence in myself and the world.

 Cleaned Up On Sundays

In complete contrast, I also find this fresh scrubbed feeling when I live slowly and with rapt attention.  Sundays are especially clean days for me.  The schedule is usually open and everyone is less ruffled and messy.  I may even have time to sit out on the deck with a good book or engage in meaningful, mind-expanding conversations that make space for ideas and spontaneity.  Sundays are the days when love flows easiest from my heart to my significant others without spilling over into distractions.  I listen with my whole self. I find details easier to remember and creativity at my fingertips. I am more likely to whip up a fun dessert or make up a story at bedtime. My body and mind are lighter from lack of dirty have-to’s.  Physically I am sure my eyes are more twinkly and my posture a little straighter.  Everything is ship-shape.

Human Dustbusters

I admit it is a struggle to keep my life clean.  Clutter and debris enter with every relationship, distraction and expectation. Many days I am merely a human Dustbuster, sucking up drama and collecting trivial busy-ness that will have to be dumped out at some point.

It is a battle to eliminate this filthy accumulation. I suggest creating a vacuum of space that eats up the inconsequential and produces clear lines of what is important.  Where to find such a vacuum?  Try a running trail or a backyard deck on a Sunday.

Where do you feel pristine?  What can you accomplish in that state of being?

P.S. This post was inspired by a Sunday morning run on a trail through impeccably imperfect nature.  As I walked to cool down afterward, I ran into an old friend gearing up for a lengthy bike ride.  We hugged and talked and connected over our unspoken but mutual love of fitness and its gift of refining its participants.  After saying goodbye to my friend, I headed home.  I felt the purest sense of satisfaction and content as I looked up at the sun streaming through billowing clouds and rounded the corner to my home where a whole unplanned Sunday awaited.


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