Like any other art form

by Jeb on 05/04/2009

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I’m not a traditional artist by any stretch. I don’t paint or sculpt or play music. But I do enjoy writing, and I’ve read enough to know that there are those who wield the pen (or, more often, the keyboard) as a painter does a brush. So I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to suggest that I could make the comparison.

About half way into a run today, on a fairly steep and rocky downhill section of the trail, it occurred to me that running is like so many other art forms. Regardless the  subject, the medium, the finished product, that thing of beauty, requires keenly focused attention.

Like choosing the right note or color or angle or shade, foot placement is critical, and must be attended to with the concentration of a producer…a creator. It must be chosen to perfectly fit the occasion, to properly address the challenge. One bad step and the work of art is ruined.

Unlike many forms of art, though, running is meant for an audience of one. I can’t hang my experience on a wall for others to appreciate. No, my masterpiece is for me alone. But as with any worthy creation, it serves to inspire. And it reminds me that greatness can be achieved with every step.

So paint or sculpt or write or run. Do whatever it is that requires your best, and returns it many times over. Don’t wait for your masterpiece. Get out there and start moving toward it. The journey will most certainly not follow the route you planned. But it will deliver you.

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Twitted by detlef_c
05/08/2009 at 10:44 am

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel Kao 05/04/2009 at 8:53 pm

I find that when I run, it’s not just my feet that takes me to new places, but my mind that also wanders. Running has been one of the things I’ve grown to cherish a lot. Thanks for sharing.



Jeb 05/04/2009 at 9:26 pm

Hi Daniel,
Absolutely. It’s one of the things that draws me to running most. Nothing clears my mind of worry or sparks creativity like running does. It helps to do so away from the paved world many of us inhabit, which is why trail running is my preference. But regardless the venue, running is mandatory.

Thanks for coming by my friend…


Henie 05/04/2009 at 9:58 pm

Running is indeed an art form! And you are an incredible artist! Not only with running but you are an artist of thought and the written word. I also love how you are incorporating your photos with words…very nice touch! Your creativity runs the gamut and you should be very proud!

I am also a runner and I am most at peace with my heart, mind and soul as I run faster than/with the wind! Yeah, running trails, you have to be sure-footed!

I am really enjoying the depth of your creative soul! :~)

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Jeb 05/06/2009 at 8:13 am

Hi Henie!
Thank you, as always. You know, when I was younger, running used to be all about speed. How fast can I run this race? Can I beat my PR, that sort of thing. But lately it really is becoming so much more. I enjoy the running/pushing myself aspect, for sure. But being in nature, taking photographs, stopping to enjoy something along the way. It’s all adding up to a more complete experience for me.

Art? Absolutely…


Evelyn Lim 05/06/2009 at 7:30 pm

The joy is in the experiencing. Life lessons also arise. We cannot expect to experience any transformation if we do not put ourselves to feel, to be in motion. Running may sound like a dull activity to a lot of people, but there can be beauty in each tiny form of expression.

Get Evelyn Lim’s content here..Me In Every Thought


Jeb 05/07/2009 at 11:08 am

Very true Evelyn. If we’re not willing to get out there and try our hand, we miss the beauty all around us.


krissy 05/06/2009 at 9:14 pm

Thank you for a beautifully written post…I think some of us (me :) think we don’t have creative abilities worth sharing but this post just shot that down. Thank you for revealing the depth and beauty our passions and giftings allow us to enjoy and share.

Get krissy’s content here..Monday’s Muse


Jeb 05/07/2009 at 11:15 am

Hi Krissy,
Wow, I’m so glad to know that this post has given you a new perspective on your passions. Anything for a fellow runner. :)


Chris 05/06/2009 at 9:14 pm

Jeb, I think that anything that you have a passion for in life is art. I walked nine holes of golf by myself early this morning. No one around, clear and crisp. I didn’t play particularly well, but that just means that I have to work more at the art form. That 90 minutes made my whole day.

Peace and thanks for making me think.



Jeb 05/07/2009 at 11:17 am

You know what Chris, that’s an incredible point. The expression of any passion is art, period. I like that way of thinking because it gives that extra motivation to get out there and do it. And it validates our individuality in a new way. Excellent contribution bud, thank you.


Detlef Cordes 05/07/2009 at 1:24 pm

Hmm. But passion is not always positive, is it? What’s with the expression of destructive passions? Lots of artists live extreme lifes, encounter destructiveness and sometimes succeed to transform those into art.

But if I beat someone up, that’s an expression of passion - but it’s not art, unless I’m Muhammad Ali, and even then…

Get Detlef Cordes’s content here..Changed the theme of this blog to P2


Jeb 05/08/2009 at 9:57 am

Hey DC…
Hmmm, not really sure what I think about that DC. I do see your point, but I think there’s a distinction to be made between the passion we’re talking about and the kind that is colored by psychosis or otherwise destructive influences. Expression of passion, like that of any freedom, is limited by the extent to which it affects another’s ability to express their own.

So, no, I cant say I’d consider that sort of passion art. Maybe the key is in whether the expression of passion creates or destroys. Tough questions my friend…but thanks for bringing it up. :)


Bamboo Forest - PunIntended 05/06/2009 at 9:48 pm

Beautiful post.

You really capture the essence of athletics here. It is an art. It is an art of mind, body and spirit.

Are other arts less dimensional?! I’m not saying they necessarily are… but I do like the argument!

I’d say this… physical sports like running, tennis, or basketball require a lot of body. A lot of mind and a lot of spirit…

Does painting require that much body?

Ah… another argument for another time I guess.


Jeb 05/07/2009 at 11:27 am

Ah, BF, you’re not going to get an argument from me! I’m with you on this one. Of course, stick figures are about as good as my painting skills get, so it’s no wonder. But honestly, I really like this whole idea. As Chris brought up in his comment, the expression of any passion is art…I think that opens up some amazing opportunities to consider ourselves in a new light.


Sue James 05/06/2009 at 11:24 pm

Wonderful post. I’m most definitely not a runner - I think when they were handing out kinaesthetic intelligence, I wasn’t in the queue. :-) But I marvel at the grace, the skill and the speed of runners - and watching them run *is* like watching a work of art.

And your post is definitely a reminder that all of us do have art within us - related to whatever particular passions or skills we may have.

Some express their art in conventional forms - drawing, photography, painting etc. Others in the art of movement and grace, as you do with your running. But other folk find different forms of artistic expression. For example, my mother could make a sponge cake that melted in the mouth and was as light as air. :-) And what about gardeners that bring beauty to life under their nimble green fingers? So many more I could list, but I won’t or this comment would grow to gigantic proportions … :-)

Everyone is an artist.

Get Sue James’s content here..Stink Bombs


Jeb 05/07/2009 at 11:46 am

Sue, I couldn’t agree more. My wife is an amazing cook and she bakes equally amazing treats…definitely an art. And my step-father is a horticulturalist and the things he creates in a garden are amazing.

I wonder what your work of art looks like…???


Bobby D 05/07/2009 at 1:14 pm

Thinking about action and art in our hobbies is wonderful. Like Chris, our golf scorecard might be a work of art when we play well. But the act of choosing the right tool (club) and envisioning our choice of shot knowing how different each result can be is fantastic.

I’ve been working on my website for weeks and I enjoy the effort so much that I consider it a hobby and thanks to you it’s now my ART. Some might think it “work”, but when we enjoy the “action” so much, the result is our ART.

When you find physical activity (golf and lifting weights for me) and work activity (building my website) that you absolutely love, you have found a synergy like no other.

Love the article Jeb. Now I head off to do some art at the gym.


Jeb 05/08/2009 at 9:51 am

Very nice Bob, and I’m with you on the web building, too. Course, I haven’t figured out a way to earn a living running or building websites, but they at least they’re showing me how it could (and perhaps, should) be. Keep creating big buddy!


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