Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seenby Christopher McDougall

I wasn't going to blog about this one, as my running habit is rather unrelated to performance (or it appears that way at first glance).

But I found this book to be one of the most inspirational reads I've had in recent memory, and it just reinforced my ever-present feeling knowledge that we really are all one, and Energy is Energy no matter how it is manifesting.

"I never really discussed this with anyone because it sounds pretentious, but I started running ultras to become a better person," Jenn [Shelton] told me. "I thought if you could run one hundred miles, you'd be in this Zen state. You'd be the fucking Buddha, bringing peace and a smile to the world. It didn't work in my case -- I'm the same old punk-ass as before -- but there's always the hope that it will turn you into the person you want to be, a better, more peaceful person. "When I'm out on a long run," she continued, "the only thing in life that matters is finishing the run. For once, my brain isn't going blehblehbleh all the time. Everything quiets down, and the only thing going on is pure flow. It's just me and the movement and the motion. That's what I love.

As I'm making the transition to the Vibram FiveFingers barefoot shoes, I am giving myself plenty of room to play. I'll run through the park to an empty soccer field, take off the shoes and see what it actually feels like to run, barefoot. I have no attachment to being the Best Barefoot Runner or the Fastest or the Most Graceful (though I do look forward to some modicum of improvement!) and so I don't get upset if my feet start to hurt or if I look, quite frankly, like a total fool romping around in an empty field. I let it be whatever it is, and consequently it all becomes rather enjoyable and easy.

Enjoying that ease so much, I am experimenting with applying these principles to my singing practice. What if I had no attachment to being a great singer or progressing in my career, or to making a pretty sound every time I opened my mouth -- how much freer would I be to explore the physical and emotional range of my voice? What kinds of sounds could I make, using what natural, efficient technique? It takes constant reminding and re-focusing, but I can tell I'm on to something (hint: it's fun).

When I told my teacher this last week, she smiled. "Of course," she said. "Because you are born to sing, too."