One Year Later…

I read my last blog post from a year ago- I was gung-ho on running and starting to blog weekly. Alas, this last four months running has not been a part of my daily repertoire… and I am OK with this. Normally, when looking back about a commitment I had made and failed at would send me into the depths of the chaotic ruminations of self-condemnation–not this time.

I know I will return. There is always a return…with some sense of new understanding, new learning.

I am listening to my new favorite podcast, The One You Feed, thinking about Thich Nhat Hanh and the internal seeds I water daily, or as their podcast postulates, which wolf do I feed…which seed do I water: the self-condemning, fearful one or the loving, joyful one? I think about Jung’s shadow, that side of us we keep hidden from the world.   What do I nourish, joy, gratitude, passion or depression, apathy, and self-loathing? Both wolves need to be approached with an objective compassion- I will never be “rid” of my human self.

The commitment to write last year has not not faded, nor did the commitment to health and exercise….I write every day, just not on my blog, yet.  I exercise, just not running, yet.

The question I asked last year: “The doubting, the self-critic so strong and mean at times – can be crushing.  The question becomes – how do we use irrational fear and transform it into a power that catapults us to the next step?” Meditation, writing, exercising, serving others, and a host of other things lead me to self-acceptance, a form of loving kindness to myself. My meditation has also called me to a commitment of no TV for a year, with a focus on more intentional writing and reading. As always, exercise (walking, running, strength training, stairs, yoga – some form of movement) every day for 10 minutes or more and meditation is included in this commitment.  So far, so good – 33 days

So here I sit, writing a new blog post.

MUSINGS – Originally posted in December

MUSINGS: Interestingly,  I have told few people about this blog! The “public v. private” voice can be overwhelming, and the fear of sharing the private voice is, has been, prevalent.

It has been a while since I posted… The journey of running is akin to disciplines of life.   I began this blog last August with gusto and confidence.  My voice strong, matching the tempo of my conviction for running. My conviction for running still strong – alas, confidence wavered…It is funny how the inner landscape of the mind can be a tricky plane to traverse. Mind over matter – however, when the mind is caught in the spider’s lair…whew!

I am still running!  Injuries, like life, have happened.. posterior tibial tendonitis in October. Neck frozen- spasmed in November… coupled with the long term injury I have had since last January — frozen shoulder – “common in women my age”,  Fear crept in. Fear what an awful — motivating — creative –paralyzing –substance of the mind and body.  We possess the feeling, or sensation of fear, for a reason, to keep us out of danger. The doubting, the self critic so strong and mean at times – can be crushing.  The question becomes – how do we use irrational fear and transform it into a power that catapults us to the next step?  Through time, prayer, meditation, journaling, ( running)  -ultimately,  showing up for life. Remembering we are not alone… friends, mentors, the random acts of strangers, ultimately the sources inside and outside help us. Everything passess.  Nothing is permanent. With time, all fades and becomes a memory.  Sounds depressing,  not really. It is a relief. It is.  The lesson happens — maybe a small 1st step, an awareness or a larger AHA! Sometimes, like life, we have to revisit the lesson (maybe a few times) and learn another portion.  And again the lesson passes…it is, it has become, it has passed. Changing us.

Yesterday I got out and ran 5 miles….I was determined — even though it has been a struggle to get out of the spider’s lair of my brain.   As I ran — my breathing at first labored, an uneven tempo, scattered, slowly became even, harmonious and strong, as did the tempo of my feet pounding and dancing on the pavement.   Meditating – breathing — feeling every muscle strain and finally give. Being one with my breath — the clean air moving in and out… bringing needed clarity.

Yes — running – discipline. Showing up. At the end…a sigh of YES!

August

Running for me is a spiritual experience…yesterday morning it was challenging to get motivated to run….my goal was 3 miles, a normal goal for me now,  oh how perspective changes with time and experience.  I wanted a break – and I had already had 3 break days from running. 

Let me digress – when I first started running I was ecstatic when I made it 2 miles.  The first time I ran 3 miles, I was shocked;  that state of shock continued for a while every time I would run 3 miles.   Every time I would go out the door I would think- will I be able to make it 3 miles; will my body fail me?  Now….I know I can — like The Little Engine That Could. Last Monday I ran 6 miles for the first time in my life; I am 49 years young.  Unlike the past, I know that I will be able to run 6 miles again.

So, yesterday was a SHOCK!  – I was not prepared for the lead legs and the limp lungs that arrived in my first and into my second mile.  In my outer/inner life I was experiencing some conflict, a challenge to my moral fiber.   I thought running would help…by my second mile I wasn’t so sure.  I continued… I prayed and breathed… counting my breaths and footfalls as I ran.  And then it happened. MAGIC… I kept going and ran 5.25 miles.  My head cleared of the internal fog… and trappings of anger and fear.

Did I get an answer for my conflict? .. no. In fact I am still contemplating — what has been removed is the draining emotional pull of fear and anger.   I came to a peaceful acceptance of what is…. the challenge is still there.  I cannot change what has already transpired.   I have faith the answer will be provided as long as I am open. 

Running — who would have thunk….

Chaotic Meditative Empowering

I meditate when I run.  And I pray.

Last Monday I thought “I should create a blog about my foray into running”… and yes for me to begin running was exactly like preparing for battle, engaging an invisible enemy – known as my brain.  Just a little over a year ago there would be no way in h**** that I would have imagined that I would be running 10 miles a week.  (And I know to those of you who are runners – that mileage is nothin’!)

Running for me has been challenging, to say the least. I meant it when I said preparing for a battle. I hated the idea of running a mile.  My body would seize at the thought. Several of my colleagues have trained for 1/2 marathons. I used to think they were CRAZY!  I thought – I don’t want to race — never, ever going to enter a race.  My friends would say — just run a 5K  – it’s easy…. Maybe for them!

Here I am a year later –  two races done and in training for a 1/2 marathon (maybe).

As I sit here writing this I know that today is a 3 mile day — and I know I need to get out there, but I am tired and it’s Saturday — I want a day off. I could skip it – who would care – really? No one – but me. I struggle, sometimes I think – if I am so resistant — why do I run?

There’s the skinny…meditation is also a practice that requires discipline – because sometimes meditating is not pleasant – especially when one’s mind is on a hamster wheel.  The end result of meditation – centeredness, awareness, compassion.

So, I meditate as I run, I breathe and focus on breath and my footfall.

At the end of a run — I am better than when I started….