Whether I'm doing ChiRunning, ChiWalking or my everyday ChiLiving, the one thing that never changes is that I'm in my body. It's where I do my most important work… my deeper study. It's my school. My current course of study is to be present as I encounter the world in each moment. That's why I call ChiRunning a practice. It's where I learn to be attentive and responsive and to let go at the same time.
Traveling, for me, is much like going out for a run. I have my internal focuses that I'm keeping track of while I'm doing my best to relax my body as much as possible. Every challenge I meet on the run is another opportunity to consciously adapt to the circumstances, and let go of trying to control my world. After all, a hill is really only a hill… a rainstorm is really only a rainstorm. Deal with it.
I read a book many years ago that permanently altered how I looked at travel. It was called 365 Tao: Daily Meditations from Deng Ming-Dao (highly recommended); a very simple book filled with daily quotes from the Tao Te Ching explained in the author's own words. I read one every day for a year and it changed my life by allowing me the time once a day to ponder how I understood the world, my life, and my path. The stanza that still rings true for me in my practice of ChiRunning is:
"Body is the tabernacle.
Traveling one thousand miles,
The gods are still in place."
– Lao Tse from the Tao Te Ching
We all know travel can be fraught with plenty of angst around things not going as planned. Your life can swing from bliss to hell in an instant, with airline delays, traffic jams and every other contrivance the Universe can throw at you. There seems to always be in internal battle between "letting it all hang out" and "keeping it together."
So, as I'm traveling and come up against one of Life's hurdles or roadblocks (as also happens in my ChiRunning), I have to just stop and take a moment to remind myself that it is only test. And, that whether I pass or fail doesn't really matter as much as what lesson I come away with, and whether or not I am present enough to keep my wits about me as I try to go with the flow and learn from the lesson at hand.