Climbing For Mindfulness

Climb to the TopTwo weeks ago, I embarked on my mission to be more mindful and find more meaning in the ways I choose to spend my time. It is one of my broadest New Year resolutions to date, but I think one of the most important ones by far. While I didn’t simply waste my time before, I just didn’t necessarily connect with it. I would rush through things, grow distracted by other thoughts, disconnect my mind and body to just get the job done and move on with my day.

The latter strategy became commonplace during my weekly cross-training workouts in preparation for my next half-marathon. The running days were a no-brainer—pounding the pavement seems to be my definition of the mind-body connection. And meditation is literally built into my weekly Bikram yoga fix, a 90-minute sweat session I found six months ago that I can no longer live without. But those cross-training days in the gym, meant to condition my body, prevent injury and get me from one tough run to the next in one piece, those days needed work.

I needed to find a way to steer my brain off autopilot during those workouts and really make them count for something more than just another training day—which is where Lori Feren comes in. Around this time last year, Lori introduced me to the world of stair-climbing races through one of my writing assignments. She has been a team captain for years for the National MS Society’s Climb to the Top event, the top being the Top of the Rock Observation Deck in Rockefeller Center. The climb is a fun way to work out on a Sunday morning while helping those with the life-altering autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis.

When Lori reached out to me around the holidays and asked me if I’d like to join the team this year rather than report on it, I thought long and hard about the invitation. I tend to stretch myself too thin by overcommitting to things, and I was afraid of doing so before the New Year even began. However, I knew it could be the perfect way for me to give back, channeling my love of fitness and my desire to help others into one event. It could also be a way for me to add meaning to those cross-training workouts that tend to just go by without me knowing it. And it could be a way to spend a great morning taking in one of the best views of New York City with a new group of friends.

I’m pleased to say that I officially added my name to the MS Climbers team roster earlier this week, and I couldn’t be more excited to give the climb a go on March 2.  If you are in search of a little mindfulness, a little more meaning behind your actions, or an interesting fitness event to try, I encourage you to check out my team page. Whether you decide to donate to the cause or sign up to climb alongside us, I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for.

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