Stay Where Your Feet Are

This weekend, I took advantage of a sunny Sunday to enjoy a long run with my buddy, Carol. I am not fast or particularly good at it, but started running years ago as a way to increase my lung capacity. I grew up with asthma and would get winded running the bases during softball. I would have scored a lot more runs if I didn’t have to break out the inhaler by the time I rounded first base.

To remedy this, I began running on the treadmill in college and increased my miles little by little. After finding that boring (incidentally around the time I lost my footing and was flung backwards into the wall at gym during peak hours), I decided to hit the road. Eventually, I began running farther and farther until I signed up for my first half marathon. Six full marathons and various races later, I’m still here. Slow, but still running.


I had used the extremely cold winter this year as an excuse to run less frequently, and about 6 miles into our run, I was feeling the repercussions – wobbly legs, achy feet, and heavy arms. I started looking ahead for any sign that our turnaround destination was near. When I couldn’t see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, I began thinking that I wouldn’t be able to get there. “You’re tired. You’re slow. You haven’t trained for this.” The more I thought about how much father we had to go, the more convinced I was that I couldn’t do this.

As I persuaded myself that I would black out before we got to the halfway point, I remembered a phrase that had nothing to do with running but was apropos in this situation. Stay where your feet are. I had picked it up from this Tiny Buddha article that I meditated on during a particularly hard time two years ago.

I literally looked down at my feet. I began concentrating on each foot hitting the ground, the rhythm of my arms and legs, myself breathing in and out. I acknowledged the pain, but also realized that I was strong and nowhere near my limit. As I appreciated where my feet were, I became hyper-aware of the environment around me as well. The wind rustling the trees, the robins chirping away, the gorgeous blue sky, and the sun warming my face. As I celebrated where my feet were at the moment, I no longer concentrated on the miles to go. The end was not the point anymore; it was about taking this journey in literal stride.

When we reached our turnaround point, I tried to be just as conscious on the way back. Even though there was still pain, I felt that my load had somehow been lightened by pushing away the unnecessary thoughts.

After some post-run hydration at a local watering hole, I drove home thinking about the upcoming week and all the tasks that I had to accomplish both at home and at work.

Vodka. It does a body good.

Then my thoughts moved toward my current, mini quarter/mid-life crisis. I’ve been feeling like a general failure since I’m not as far along in my career as I thought I’d be by now, and we don’t have a family like we had anticipated yet. The runner’s high began fading as my reality began consuming me.

Stay where your feet are.

I may not be where I thought I’d be, but I’m here now – in this car, in this city, with this husband, in this job. Instead of focusing on where I wanted to be career-wise, what if I focused on being the best at the job I have now? How would that change my productivity, my career development, and my overall attitude?

Stay where your feet are.

What if I concentrated on how Pete and I are already a family and became passionate about making our relationship as strong and healthy as it can be in this moment? What if I gave over to happiness, instead of sadness?

Rainn Wilson talked about happiness and this concept of being present in an interview with HuffPost Live back in January.

This idea that you’ll get happiness through material means — everyone can kind of say, ‘oh yeah, yeah, I know that’s not true’ — but still we operate in that way. There’s this kind ‘if, then’ proposition about happiness which is if I get this, or if this happens, if I get this wife, or this house, or this job, or this promotion, or whatever, or this career…then I’ll be happy. I’m not happy now.


I think that happiness is to be found in the Buddhist tradition, completely in the moment, right here and now. Daily gratitude, twice daily, thrice daily, minute-daily gratitudes — how many minutes are there in a day?? — that is where really happiness is to be found. It’s not something outside of ourselves to be pursued.

Ding! Ding! Ding! What he said!

I don’t think any of this means that we shouldn’t have goals and dreams, but it does mean that these ambitions aren’t where our happiness lies. Thinking about where I want to be only distracts from where I am.

Stay where your feet are.

I plan to use this mantra as a way of grounding myself and appreciating what I have, doing the best I can with it, and moving forward in positivity and gratefulness.

Where are your feet now? What can you do to make the most of your present?

3 thoughts on “Stay Where Your Feet Are

  1. Carol’s friend here. She told me about your blog!!! We had lunch at Mad Mex. remember? You are so creative and a fabulous writer!! Very inspirational !!

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