Julia Chi Taylor – Barefoot Runner

I have loved running for as long as I can remember; the daily practice of going for a run is as natural for me as walking to the cafe to get my morning coffee… It has been a rhythm, a ritual, a routine that I have enjoyed my entire life.

I have made running each day a priority and a practice so that it has the effect of a morning meditation…

My life’s work has been to find silence in the step, and silence within me. This orientation of my running as a spiritual practice has also been lifelong… The added complication of being a ‘fast runner’, deemed ‘good at running’ only served to deepen my practice as it offered a huge distraction away from the silence, in the form of the chimera of success… That fed my unresolved need to find approval and love outside of myself.

However, it was on the running road that I learned many lessons…

I ran for my country at an international level, two of my best results being winning the Dublin City Marathon in 1985 and placing 7th woman (3rd British) in the 1986 London marathon in a time of 2.36.31…

In stretching for excellence, I found my way back to trusting each step and running as an expression of myself, rather than trying to ‘gain anything at all…’

And so the running track has actually and metaphorically lead me round and round in circles in order to work out how to shed the illusion that I can ‘get’ anything through running, and has leant itself to a life of running to learn how to be free. How to be me, free of any shackles of pressure and push to get anywhere, or seek anything outside myself…

I have over the years learned to let go and trust each step and where it leads me…

To circle once again to the place I knew before, and to run without shoes, barefoot and free, just as I did as a child.