The Power of “Good Morning”

The world is turned on its head right now. I don’t know what’s up and what’s down. It’s been disorienting.

I have been beyond lucky to not have my livelihood stripped away from me yet. The trails and roads are empty, distance from others is not hard to find. It’s quiet. The only noise I’ve really heard is internal.

On the road, unlike the trails, your brain isn’t consumed (or distracted) by evaluating rocky terrain, figuring out how to stay vertical, the beauty of nature, or scanning for wild animals, hikers, off-leash dogs, bikers, or poison oak. Without those obstacles, I find more space to think.

And so, today, I had an aha moment while running around my neighborhood.

If you’ve run with me, you’ve probably heard me enthusiastically say, “Morning!” to everyone I pass (runners, dogs, hikers, dogs, walkers, dogs, most cyclists). It’s never many people; LA isn’t a morning city. But I like to recognize others; passing someone who is out there doing their thing and ignoring their existence feels weird.

This morning, I soaked in every single one of those greetings. There weren’t a lot of people out there, maybe a handful of walkers and some construction workers starting their days, but I deeply appreciated their presence, returned smiles, and hellos. I have never felt a boost like that. It was incredible.

As I finished the last few miles, I realized why these “Good Mornings,” are so important to me.

It’s not the passing along of warmth or receiving it back, though that feels very good in the moment. It’s that the encounters let me feel wholly inspired by humanity and my community. They help me start my day on a “People are good” mentality and give me a big ole rush of positivity. They remind me that people still care about each other.

Today, the “Good mornings” were level 10. Words and smiles were electrified. There was this underlying, “We’re all in this together.” I felt so much honest and pure respect and empathy from these local strangers.

Since I started writing this, strict “safer at home” guidelines have been announced for LA. Things won’t be the same but I hope I can still figure out a way to continue to find this feeling somewhere.

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