R-U-N-N-O-F-T THE GRUMP Meditation has taught me all about the wandering nature of our thoughts, how emotions can fly around your brain like those stupid end-of-the-year flies that flop around the windows in my house but never hit an open door to escape.

(Do you have those at your house? Is it just me? Gads they're idiots -- and thus an appropriate analogy.)

Even though I know that thoughts, emotions and even moods are impermanent and transitory, it's habit to, as a wise boy in a Coen brothers flick said, R-U-N-N-O-F-T with them.

Maybe I need to start paying more attention if I want this meditation thing to work.

Anyway, I like to think that this why humans need activities that literally clear their heads. On Monday, a morning grump followed me around, clinging to me despite my admonitions, "Hey grump, you're not permanent! I can change at any moment here!" But the grump stuck. So I made myself go for a jog out in the weak November sun.

I can't say I like to run. Last winter, I got myself on enough of a running kick that it stuck until spring, and I ran the Bolder Boulder for the first time. That kick stuck for so long because I read a book by our local lama who runs marathons from time to time, Shambhala's Sakyong Mipham. His "Running with the Mind of Meditation" got me to put away my headphones, pay attention to what's happening around me and run past those stories in my head: "I'm tired, I suck at running, my knee hurts, rock climbing is so much more fun than this running bullshit."


The book briefly turned me into Zen runner gal. I told a runner friend, who claims to hate running, all about it. I was preaching iPod-free, mindful running like the newly converted -- with a little too much oomph.

One of the unintended consequences of taking in this book, though, was that it also got me thinking about how I could trick myself if necessary. On that grumpy Monday run, I didn't trust my brain to be Zen enough to set my mood into a pluckier zone. So I did something that felt almost sacrilegious.

I brought my headphones, pressed play on a fave old running playlist and I R-U-N-N-O-F-T.

And I finished my run with a smile.

-- Jenn Fields