Running Shoes by John Cali

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John Cali

I can almost hear some of you groaning and rolling your eyeballs, thinking “Well, Cali’s gone and done it again, coming up with another crazy newsletter article title.”

What on earth do running shoes have to do with your spiritual path? Well, as with most (maybe not all) of my wacky titles, this one will eventually make sense.

Several months ago, my feet started hurting whenever I jogged. But since I love running so much, I just put up with the pain. Eventually, I didn’t even notice it anymore.

Then a couple weeks ago, while I was jogging, I noticed my feet were hurting more than usual. I thought it might be a good idea to take a couple days off from jogging. Then I put the whole thing out of my mind.

But the next time I jogged, my feet hurt again — they really hurt! When I got home, I took a good look at my running shoes. Suddenly it dawned on me how long I’d had those shoes. So long they were literally falling apart at the seams!

So I decided to buy a new pair of shoes, albeit a few, or perhaps many, months late.

The first time I ran with the new shoes, I was amazed at how good my feet felt. I’d gotten so used my feet feeling bad, I’d forgotten what good felt like. Bad felt familiar. That is, until it got really bad.

Isn’t that sometimes the way we live our lives? We ignore the pain because it’s become so familiar. We’ve forgotten what good feels like.

Here’s Spirit.


We had to chuckle a bit here when John was talking about his feet hurting. We certainly don’t think it’s funny when we observe any of you in pain and suffering. But we are sometimes surprised by how much pain you will put up with, even to the point where you become numb to it. Or, like John, you don’t even notice it any longer.

Friends, you don’t have to accept pain as a normal part of your lives. Having said that, however, we realize that’s exactly what many of you do.

How many of you reading these words can feel the pain in your lives? In your relationships, in your bodies, in your work, in your homes?

Very often you simply accept the pain as part of being human, or as your “lot in life.” You accept it as normal.

And yet nothing could be more abnormal than pain. Your higher selves, your souls know that. You knew it when you were a newborn babe. When you were in pain as an infant, you let everyone around you know about it so it could be fixed.

But as you grew older, you grew numb. And your modern world has that tired old cliché, “No pain, no gain.” So you’ve equated pain with success.

Strange way to live your lives!

We are not beating up on you, or John, here. We are simply asking you to take a closer look at your lives. In any area where you are feeling pain, physical or otherwise, it’s always — no exceptions — an indication you’re straying off your path. You’re getting out of alignment with your higher selves, your souls.

So pain is a friend. It’s telling you you’re out of alignment. But if you ignore your friend, the pain gets worse. It gets to be a real nag!

Sometimes it’s so simple. All you need to do is stop and take a look at what’s happening — as John did with his running shoes.

Other times, it’s not quite so simple. It can take you a while, especially if you’re experiencing severe pain. But let that be okay. You generally cannot overnight go from severe pain to perfect ease. You take it baby step by baby step, and eventually you’ll get there.

But, either way, when you see your running shoes are coming apart at the seams, it’s time to change something. Your “running shoes” can be a relationship, a job, a place, a dis-ease in your body, and so on — whatever doesn’t feel good and is hurting in your lives.

If it takes you a long time, that’s fine. If it happens quickly, that’s good. The point is you’ve decided you deserve to live your lives pain-free.

Acknowledge the pain as a gift — then go out and buy some new running shoes.

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