It’s absolutely stunning in Atlanta today. The sun is glorious. Everything is blooming in an explosion of color. It is as perfect a spring day as I can conjure.
Days like make it seem like anything is possible, probable even. Like the cosmos have aligned to heap blessings upon me.
Then, I watched a hearse back its way into the driveway next to mine.
And all day long, I’ve been sitting with the contradiction of the beauty of the day & the man who is suddenly absent from this beauty.
We weren’t friends, he and I. I don’t think he liked me much, to be honest. But I still found myself tearing up as I stood at the window and looked at the hearse.
Something about this death, one that I was aware of but existed wholly outside of, that happened on this perfect Spring day in Atlanta, made me hyper-aware of the contradictions, the both/and of the every day.
I am the cosmos. And yet, I am dust.
I am light. And darkness.
I am filled with wild potential. Yet, I gain the most through surrender.
I am my own. But I am bound to those I love.
I feel expansive, full of hope, energy and love. I also want to turn inward and shrink from a world that can be ugly, too.
I found out, shortly after watching that hearse back its way down the driveway next to mine, that a friend needs a miracle to beat the cancer that has dogged her for a year or more.
So, I did what I do when shit gets too real, scary and overwhelming: I laced up my shoes and I ran. I needed forward motion, to remind myself that the earth is still there.
And I prayed. Because she asked her friends to. And that’s the kind of request you do not ignore.
And, as I ran, this became increasingly clear: She deserves a miracle. Everyone deserves a miracle. Hell, we all ARE miracles.
I ran in the brilliant sunshine and I explained to the Great Mother exactly what kind of miracle my friend deserves.
It is the best kind. The most brilliant kind. The long life full of health and vitality kind.
I know it is possible.
Because we are all the cosmos, full of stars and dust, infinite and finite… and we are all unfolding miracles.
This isn’t the first time I’ve committed to a daily yoga practice. I think the longest I did was 90 days or so. Every time I commit to sustained daily practice, I learn something new. Yoga tends to meet you where you are. Which is why I like it so much. It’s a moving spiritual practice–and I find that I’m constantly applying what I learn on the mat in my everyday, walkabout life.
Today, I was thinking about presence & impermanence. Simultaneously. Because I was running. Running which is like meditation for me. If mediation involved 1001 creative ways to say fuck.
Today’s run was kicking my ass for no discernible reason. At about 1K, I seriously considered laying down on the sidewalk for a quick nap. But I kept on. Because I persevere like that. Anyway, at about 4K, I’m feeling better. Perky even. But now I’m trying to decide how far I want to go. A 5K? 4 miles? (I like to switch up my systems of measurement whenever possible. You know, just to keep things interesting).
I’m trying to decide on a goal distance. But I’m also focused on staying present. Just being where my feet are. But presently, I’m running up a hill. And that hill feels pretty steep. Then my thoughts start wandering to the idea of running more than 3.12 miles. And that makes me tired just thinking about it. So, I pull myself to the present again, but presently I’m still running up that damn hill.
But then I think … impermanence. I mean, this hill isn’t going to last forever. This moment isn’t going to last beyond, well, this moment.
And then my mind melts because I’m both present and impermanent. But my feet are still moving. And so I settle deeper into this moment, not striving or pushing. Just being and letting my feet move me forward.
And then I remember that the Yoga Camp mantra for today is “I enjoy.” And I think what my present impermanent self is going to enjoy most is the brief walk home after this 5K.
Which was true. I always relish the afterglow of a run. It’s pretty spectacular.
But the walk also gave me some time to contemplate why I’m so disconnected from my own energy. I felt that way all weekend really. This vague sense of malaise. Unsettled.
It could’ve been the full moon.
But I was looking for something I could exert a little more control over. The moon tends to be pretty intractable. So I settled on food. And my mindfulness–or complete lack thereof–around food.
I’ve never been a particularly mindful eater. And if I get too hungry–watch your appendages. Nobody is safe. I’ll grab whatever is there & eat WAY too much of it. I seriously got AFTER some trail mix yesterday, in an unfortunate combination of slightly hungry, bored, and grumpy as hell. But y’all, I showed that trail mix who’s BOSS. Yup.
But for real, I’m a speed eater. Even when I’m eating a Little Debbie (there are SO many Little Debbies consumed in this house, and we make zero apologies for our behavior), I throw it back like it’s a race.
So, as I enjoyed my walk home (being both present & impermanent), I decided the goal for this week is to a) drink enough water so I know when I’m hungry and when I’m not, b) to eat more fresh fruits & veggies, c) to only eat when I’m hungry & until I’m full, and d) to be present while I’m eating. Which is going to have to involve more chewing than hoovering, I suppose.
And because I like to start on my goals right away (Virgo. Over-achiever), I had a handful of raspberries for a snack after my shower. I chewed each one individually. I noticed the tartness of one, the sweetness of another. And, for real, those things feel hella weird in your mouth. Not mushy, but not firm either. And you can FEEL each individual little bump on the raspberry on your tongue.
Each berry was dutifully contemplated and enjoyed. Very zen.
But y’all, I’m about to starve over here.
If you need me, I’ll be mindfully consuming a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (there’s fruit in jelly, y’all. That’s a fact).
I know this doesn’t sound particularly deep. But it’s 100% my mantra for today.
I am an all or nothing kind of girl. I don’t half-ass too much. Which can be good.
Because, sometimes, that all-in-ness can translate into not paying attention to where I am right now. I make everything a referendum on my personality, my worthiness, my potential. Which means there’s little room to respond to current conditions–whatever those may be.
This idea of just being where I’m at right now popped up in yoga this morning (thanks, Adriene!). It helped me work through the fact that I was way bendier one one side than the other today (I like to be symmetrical, thankyouverymuch). A small thing, sure. But just being able to sense what my body needs, and to not see my current state as a limitation (or even a triumph) but just to let it be… it feels kind of revolutionary.
I’m a Virgo. We rarely just let things be.
The reminder to just be where I’m at also came in handy on my run–when my ankle went all janky and my joints literally felt like they were unhinged. Why? Who the hell knows? But it looked something like this:
Typically, I’d get all up in my feels (and WAY into my head) about what would happen if my ankle got pulled out of alignment because my hips were too tight and then my foot got all janky and I couldn’t to to the chiropractor because COVID and then my leg got so off-balance and tight and out of whack that I couldn’t run and then I’d be all mentally out of balance and sad and not nice and then maybe no one would like me anymore.
And that started to happen. It did. But then I remembered: just be where you’re at, right now. So, instead of that shitshow of a mental spiral, I just kind of shrugged.
My body feels a little weird, right now. So right now, I’m going to take it easy. Because that’s what I need. Not forever. Maybe not even tomorrow. Right now.
Instead of making myself miserable trying to power through this morning’s run at optimal speed, I slowed it down. And suddenly I realized there was a breeze. And that it was cool out–instead of hella swampy like it has been the past few days. I chose to be fully present in the moment–and the moment was beautiful, even if it wasn’t the run I’d planned out.
Somehow, I beguiled the 9 year old into taking a run with me yesterday.
Well, actually, it was more like a directive: Put on your running shoes. Do not lay on the floor and cry like last time. That will not work this time. Pull it together, Tina, and let’s go. (Yes, we totally call her Tina when she’s being obstinate. No, we don’t think it’ll take too much therapy for her to work through it.)
The thing is, Jane is a good runner–when she’s not flailing about and acting like she’s marching into Armageddon when I insist she tie on her shoes. And quarantine has forced us to work on a little concept over here we like to call you-are-nine-and-don’t-get-to-make-all-the-decisions-and-yes-I-AM-the-boss-of-you.
So, off we went. After I issued some threats (i.e. bedtime at 7pm if she started acting a fool on the run). Look, I’m not above threats. Especially on quarantine day one-million-seven-hundred-eighty-thousand. And I’ve wised up to her favorite strategy of resistance: doing what I say (technically), then making the whole damn experience so miserable that I wish I’d never made her do it in the first place.
Atlanta is hilly. Which makes it beautiful. And makes running both harder and infinitely more interesting. We live at the bottom of a hill. So, runs don’t start out easy. But Jane made it up the hill loping like an antelope. She’s taken to running a bit like a muppet–maybe because her arms & legs have gotten really lanky? But it’s a little silly and incredibly endearing.
I’d strategically planned frequent stops on the run. And also, through subterfuge, trickery, and downright avoidance, managed not to tell her how far we were going (5K). Things went shockingly well for the first kilometer.
En route to kilometer #2 she may have yelled over her shoulder: “Mommy, STOP TALKING TO ME.”
YOWZA. Touchy, touchy.
But all was forgiven after we walked up a big hill versus running up it (see, I’m a benevolent dictator). And, blessedly, we’d hit a flat stretch and got to cruise along, chatting and just hanging out together for a bit.
It was uneventful and lovely… until we hit the two mile mark.
I don’t know when the last time you watched a small human begin to emotionally unravel was… but it’s not pretty.
Before we go any further, here’s a quick bit of background: Jane ran her first 5K with me when she was 7 years old. And we did a Girls on the Run 5K together last spring. Her PE coach at her first elementary school here in Atlanta pulled me aside specifically to talk about getting her into track because she’s a stellar runner. All that is only to say: I’d didn’t ask (wouldn’t ask) her to do something she wasn’t capable of. But running is HARD if you don’t do it frequently. And she’s dug her heels in recently and refused to run. So this was HARD.
I need to stop, she whined in my general direction.
Nope, you don’t. You’re okay. Let’s slow down. You can do this. Stay where your feet are and breathe.
And so it went for a while.
Then I look over and she’s starting to sniffle. Now, I’ll cop to the fact that (belatedly) at nine years old, the kid is honing her dramatic acting skills. And she’s learned that crying–when it seems genuine and not like a tantrum–can sometimes get her what she wants. So I was wary. But still… she broke my heart a little bit.
We pulled over to a shady little corner.
Buddy, what’s the matter? I pulled her close to me, she put her head on my shoulder and cried quietly.
It is, I agreed. Because it really IS. But we can do hard things.
She nodded and continued to cry, leaning in for a minute. I waited a bit, kissed the top of her head, asked her if she was ready to finish. She nodded, and we were on our way.
But the whole way home I kept thinking that standing on a street corner deep in our neighborhood, sweaty and completely focused on the moment felt like an epiphany: Jane cried because something was hard. It was a pure expression of what she felt. She didn’t pry and twist that emotion until it came out sideways. It was honest. And transparent. And vulnerable. And I got to be there to experience that emotion with her–without trying to fix it, or reason with it, or in any way control it.
It was just the two of us together, in the moment, understanding that we CAN do hard things. But sometimes we need to cry about them, too.
She finished the 5K by the way. And she was wildly proud of herself. And she should be. Running is hard. Emotions are hard. Vulnerability is even harder.
But she’s a champ–one who can, in fact, do hard things.
I can see your pain, and it’s big. I also see your courage, and it’s bigger. You can do hard things.
I’ve run into an odd phenomenon. Maybe it’s best illustrated by a quick little graphic:
To carve out space to read, write, and meditate, I wake up at 5:30 am. So I can get these these things done before the “real” day starts at 8. And, no, I don’t feel guilting doing these things in the hours before the family chaos ensues at 8am. But anything that doesn’t get done before 8 gets bumped from the schedule. Which means I’m constantly picking and choosing from the very things that de-zombify my soul to make room for the more mundane stuff: walking the dog, fielding 101 questions about Caboodles for make-up storage (it’s the 9 year old’s latest obsession), or answering emails/setting up appointments/et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Lately it’s meditation that’s the loser in the time war. Which is stupid as hell. And I know it. Meditation is the long game for me, where I process what I read, feel, experience. And yet. If it doesn’t happen before 8, well I couldn’t possibly take 15 minutes (!!!) after the day starts.
And then there’s yoga. I do yoga with my kid. It’s time she looks forward to every day. But I still feel that tug when I get on the mat to think about all the other things I should be doing that fall into the “accomplish shit & take over the world” category. But, if I took time to meditate, I’d feel guilty I wasn’t spending time with the kid. So, even when I’m accomplishing a (very important!) thing on my list, like spending time with my sweet kid, I still feel like it’s frivolous time if I enjoy it too much? That is BANANAS. And yet.
Running most consistently gets a chunk of my time (even after 8 am), but mainly because–after over a decade together–Simon gently nudges (aka insists) I go for a run so that he doesn’t have to deal with the emotional chaos that I bring to the table if my mind doesn’t have the opportunity to calm the hell down on a run. But, if the schedule gets tight… you guessed it: I’ll skip the run in favor of being able to check a task off at the end of the day.
Reading brings me the most pure, unmitigated joy. And, fortunately for me, reading is required for my chosen work. Hard to sell books if I’m not (relatively) well versed in them. But still, if I spend an hour or so reading the first thing I think when I pop back out of the story is all the things that didn’t get done during that hour.
Simon, on the other hand, has not a single hesitancy to engross himself in projects and activities he gets excited (or fixated. Whatever) on. And, if I’m being real honest, I resent the hell out of him for it.
But he certainly isn’t the one making me feel guilty when I do things I enjoy.
The fact is that I’m the one devaluing them. But where does that voice come from that tells me that the things I want to do–need to do–to feel healthy and whole, aren’t valuable? Why does my day so quickly become a checklist, especially right now? We’re still quarantining. But that pull is still there to do, accomplish. But it’s like it’s someone else’s agenda that I’m focused on.
At the end of the day, I measure my worth by items checked off my to-do list. Like I can bring what I’ve accomplished before the Universe and it will deem me worthy. But what I’m constantly de-valuing are the activities that bring balance, wisdom, compassion, and connectedness to my world. And those are the things I really value.
Maybe it’s time for me to fire my cosmic judge and just do and be in a way that brings me joy, wholeness, and peace.
My guess is that cosmic judges don’t take kindly go being summarily dismissed. We’ll see how it goes…
I try to approach life with gratitude. I think Oprahtold me to do that once, and I listen to Ms. O. Also, the AAers may have mentioned it…. So, yeah, Attitude of Gratitude over here.
The gratitude portion of today’s programming goes something like this:
I am grateful that my body is healthy and strong enough to run. Also super grateful that my foot healed–and that my incredible massage guy taught me how to properly care for my body before & after a run. Running brings my mental, emotional, and spiritual life into balance. For that, I have much gratitude. And for Spring in Atlanta… it’s beauty far outweighs the threat of impending death by pollen.
See me? So grateful. Legitimately.
Gratitude gets me get out of my own head–and helps me stop creating my own problems and my own suffering–long enough to take stock of the world around me.
As I was running through my neighborhood, full of gratitude, nose running from crazy amounts of pollen, taking in the Spring morning, here’s an ugly truth I ran right up against: toxic masculinity SUCKS.
This is not news. I get that. But there’s a direct way that it’s impacting me lately–and it has to do with my ass.
You read that right. No reason to read it again. My ass is the issue here. Okay, not really my ass… the comments about my ass while I’m running are the issue.
Right now, you’re probably thinking “You’ve GOT to be kidding me.” Nope. Wish I was.
In the past two weeks, every time I’ve run some wanker finds it necessary to comment on my ass, turn around to stare at my ass, ask me if I can run back by so he can see my ass again, make his whole group of wanker friends laugh at some lewd comment about my ass, or whistle or shout at me (always after approaching me from behind–no pun intended).
Some of these guys probably genuinely think they are paying me a compliment. Fuck that. Objectifying someone is never a compliment.
Some of them like to sexualize random situations and intimidate women. Fuck that doubly hard. Because it DOES scare me when someone catcalls me out the window of his van as he drives slowly by. And what I want to do is flick him off or tell him to fuck himself. But I don’t. Because I can’t. Not without putting myself at risk for physical violence. Men have killed women for telling them no. So what does that leave me with? Impotent rage. A need to grit my teeth and fight my way through it.
Men, you have to do better.
It is absurd that I can’t run in my own damn neighborhood without fending off lewd comments. Not one but two men today found it appropriate to comment on my body. That is fucking infuriating.
Guys, my body is not yours to comment on. Not ever. It’s not yours to ogle as I walk by. My ass is none of your business. I don’t care if you like it or if you don’t. I don’t want to hear it. At all. Ever again.
If all the events of the last 4 years hadn’t shaped me into a much more indomitable spirit than I used to be, I’d probably consider just not running.
Let’s stop there: at a different point in my life, I would have considered giving up something that brings me joy and balance, that enhances my mental health, because toxic masculinity taught guys that it’s fine to make comments about a girl’s ass as she runs by.
I will spare you the litany of profanity that this inspires.
But I will say this: If you are a guy, you have a moral imperative to do something about this. And don’t even tell me that you’d never act like this. I don’t give a shit. I know not all guys catcall women. But you have a responsibility to call out your friends, your coworkers, your brother, your dad when THEY do it. Tell them to STFU. Tell them they are assholes. And, while you’re at it, go on and tell them that what women feel when they are catcalled is likely not flattery at all but an intense desire to take a baseball bat to their car.
Well, truthfully, the whole idea of meeting my appropriate edge IS kind of a BFD to me. And it’s become a touchstone of sorts as I move through the world.
In January, I did Yoga with Adriene 22 out of 31 days (which for a recovering perfectionist like me seems… fine, I guess. But, truly, part of me just wants to be like: Dude, you couldn’t have bucked up and done those extra 9 days?!?). Look, I’m just going to go ahead and admit that I’m a little taken with the whole Yoga with Adriene scene. I like a yogi who can say the kind of random, absurd things that run through my head OUT LOUD on a YouTube channel with millions of subscribers. She totally has convos with her dog while leading a yoga practice. She makes me laugh. And reminds me to be kind to myself. And that I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to acknowledge where I am right now, today, in this moment.
Anyway, she’s constantly saying “meet your appropriate edge.” Which just bounces around in my head, even off the mat. It’s kind of brilliant. I mean, if she just told me to meet my edge, well, I’d have to take that as a challenge. Even though I know it’s not meant to be. But my appropriate edge changes from day to day. It allows for softening when I’m injured or feeling vulnerable and for pushing when I’m feeling vibrant, energetic, and ready for forward momentum.
Telling me to meet my appropriate edge implies an inherent trust that I know what that edge is. That I can trust myself.
This whole foot debacle has taught me a lot–about my body and myself. And, no, I didn’t ask to learn any of it. I’d rather have been running consistently, instead of in fits & starts. But, no one asked me before the Universe threw me this “learning opportunity.” So I’m making the best of it (and making a list of things to remember):
43 requires more care & maintenance of my body than 33 did. I can’t ignore the tightness in my hips and assume it will go away. It won’t. I can’t jet off for a run without stretching. I’ll really regret it later.
Everything is connected, in running and in life. My foot pain? Caused by my hips. For real.
Yoga, stretching, and listening to my body will keep me healthy and running.
Stubbornness is over-rated.
The negative, self-sacrificial messages I internalized about self-care as a kid were some bullshit. And they’ve got to go. To care for the people around me like I want to, I must care for myself. The two are inextricably linked.
Which means that, while I run, I’ve got to pay attention to what my body is saying. Of course, it always cusses on the hills (so do I. Like, for real, if you’re offended by cussing, EARMUFFS when I run by).
On the day of the serious-meeting-my-edge picture, I was relatively pain free until about 2 miles in. Then I could feel the muscles in my foot begin to tighten. By 2.25 miles, it hurt. Bad. Typically, I would’ve just pushed through. I would’ve been all grit and suffering and like-hell-I’m-gonna-quit-before-I-get-to-3-miles. But, this time, I just stopped. And there was some bizarrely glorious freedom in just letting myself be.
I’m more trustworthy than I used to be. That’s what the idea of meeting my appropriate edge reminds me. I have intuition & insight–but I have to listen to myself, to my body, to my heart to access them.
In order to lead the BIG, joyous, fulfilling life that I want, I have to trust myself.
Meeting my appropriate edge that one day lead me to two more runs this week where my appropriate edge looked a lot more like this:
One of my girlfriends, who I adored with what I’m now sure must’ve felt like stifling intensity, really enjoyed spending time alone.
No, not like time alone with me. Time alone. Like by herself.
This baffled me.
What did she think when she was by herself? Didn’t she get bored? What was going on in her head that required time without me?
If my response to her wanting a damn minute to herself seems a bit off-the-wall to you… GOOD. That’s likely because you’re a well adjusted human.
I, on the other hand, was a college-aged kid who was terrified to spend a minute alone with my own thoughts. I was so afraid of my own interior life that I didn’t even believe I HAD thoughts to mull over. It never occurred to me that thoughts were supposed to be a precursor to conversation. Nope. I didn’t really analyze much of anything until it was flying out of my mouth.
I discovered a lot about what I thought and believed by hashing it out with other people. Which was great, mostly. But I still couldn’t stand to be alone. And I resented the hell out of my girlfriend for wanting a private thought life. Or maybe it was less resentment & more jealousy. I wanted to be interesting enough to spend time alone.
I tried that once… spending time alone. I went out to a cabin in the woods by myself. Not that I’d planned it that way. I’d been dating a girl for a couple years. We’d booked the cabin for our anniversary. Then we broke up a few weeks before the trip. I decided to go anyway. I was filled with all kinds of I-Am-Woman-Hear-Me-Roar independence. I’d go and relish the time alone. I was sure of it.
In the woods, by myself, I was struck with the most breathtaking loneliness. Even well over a decade later, if I’m outside when the light hits the trees just right, I can still feel the aching emptiness in my chest. Even thinking about the forest brings on this intense melancholy.
I wish I was kidding. I am not.
So, yeah, solo camping isn’t for me.
But being able to think IS for me. Digging through my internal landscape and using my brain to uncover what I thing about something before I open my mouth… yeah, that’s for me, too. It’s such a gift, this ability to be alone. To not be terrified what my mind will turn over and over if don’t fill every second with constant chatter. To like my own company. Hell, to like myself.
I’m so grateful that I reckoned with enough of my emotional wreckage to not ever have to wonder again why someone might need a minute alone. The peace that comes with solitude, and the connection to myself and the world around me, is a grounding force in my life. Running, yoga, meditation (which I’m awful at. So bad) connect me to myself. Which feels a little miraculous and a lot triumphant.
Because that’s what I’d been running from the whole time: ME.
Foot pain isn’t funny. And I hadn’t learned a lesson from it. Which is why I haven’t written about it–until today.
So, here it is: I’ve been struggling with aching and burning in my right foot since October. First, I thought it was plantar fasciitis. So, I did exercises to strengthen my feet. I stretched. And it, mostly, went away. Until around Thanksgiving, when it came raging back. My mom suggested it might be a bone spur (she’s capable of going form zero to bubonic plague in 3 seconds or less). I shrugged it off and kept running. Because, the honest to God truth was that it hurt whether I ran or not. And sometimes it felt better when I ran. I certainly wasn’t going to give up running without evidence of direct causation. And I had none.
Then, 3 days ago, I was standing in mountain pose, and I swear to the sweet baby Jesus that it felt like my foot was on fire. ON FIRE.
It couldn’t possibly have hurt worse if I was actually walking over hot coals. (Okay, it could have hurt a little worse, but who’s story is this anyway??) That was the moment when I began to believe this might be an actual problem.
Then, that night, the pain. in. my. foot... it woke me up THREE separate times. The next morning, my first sensations were pain and a little bit of desperation. (I need a lot of sleep to be a regular human. Now, my foot pain was interfering with that. Not today, Satan)
So, I surrendered. (Things always work so much better when I surrender, but I’m a slow learner of that particular lesson) I started googling folks I could see about this pain.
Part of my reluctance to have anyone look at my foot wasn’t just pigheadedness. It was flat out fear. My arch collapsed when I was 12 or 13. I’d been running in shitty shoes because I didn’t know any better. I saw a podiatrist who created orthotics for my shoes. Swell. I wore them. But that same podiatrists wanted to do surgery on both my feet when I was in college. He wanted to rebuild my arches. Each surgery would have meant I was non-weight-bearing on that foot for 6-8 weeks. So, basically, he wanted to take an otherwise healthy college kid in her early 20s out of commission for about 4 months–even though I wasn’t in any pain.
You can guess the profanity I let fly in the general direction of that idea.
Add to that experience that my arches have been wildly sensitive ever since then (I don’t like foot massages because I’m afraid someone will touch my arches), and I had a real recipe for avoidance.
But, in my google search, I ran across a foot massage practice right in my neighborhood. In fact, I’d noticed it several times as I drove by. I’m pretty into supporting our local businesses, so I booked an appointment.
That’s right: I booked an appointment, the sole purpose of which was to have someone massage my feet.
But I was surrendering, you see.
When I got to the place, it looked a little haphazardly cobbled together (which isn’t too out of character for the neighborhood). The massage place was housed in a side building attached to a larger building (our neighborhood gym). The entrance was kind of hidden. And I knocked and didn’t get an immediate answer (it didn’t look like a place you just wander in). I almost left.
But, then, someone opened the door and invited me in.
And I surrendered.
I went in and sat down in a recliner. I soaked my feet in warm water with Epsom salts, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils. Already my foot felt better than it had in months. So, when they took out the massage cream and a scraper to break up the fascia in my arches, I took a deep breath–and surrendered to the process. I hated the scraping. It tickle/hurt, I almost flew out of the damn chair. But I did as I was told–I breathed deeply and let it pass.
My foot got massaged, pulled on, popped, shaken, and scraped. I probably smell like essential oils and fear. Or maybe relief. Because it’s not all better. But I can see, from here, a time when it will be better. And I am very grateful for that.
Running is sacred for me, like meditation or yoga is for some folks. I check in with myself when I run. I get real. Like, real real.
Running is sacred for me, like meditation or yoga is for some folks. I check in with myself when I run. I get real. Like, real real.
When I’m running, I can’t lie to myself. Who’s got the energy for running AND lying? I get honest when I run. It’s the time I can best see through my own bullshit.
Truth-finding at it’s finest.
This summer, I committed to approaching each run with curiosity & wonder. Atlanta’s got a rich tapestry of complex beauty to explore. But I can’t really engage with my surroundings when I’m tripped up on things like time and distance. So, I stopped struggling to meet goals that required miles of continuous running. And I started taking pictures. Instantly, running became an adventure. Taking time and space to connect with the world around me really upped the ante on running as a spiritual practice.
Now, (on most days) I emerge from a run with an honest, peaceful connection with the space that surrounds me.
Pretty damn cool.
Running has also honed my ability to listen to myself. I often set out on a run with some loose goals in mind. But, most of the time, my body has plans of its own. Sometimes that means a farther run, because I’m feeling good or I’m trying to work through something–and I need the mental space and/or the boost of triumph that a long run provides. Or it could mean altering my pace, running faster for a shorter time or plodding along just taking it all in. Running is teaching me to trust myself again (drunks are notoriously untrustworthy. It’s been years since I picked up a drink, but I still struggle with self-trust. Running helps).
Today, on this bright and sunny summer day… I didn’t want to run. It seemed like a helluva lot of work–especially since leaving my house for a run requires running uphill no matter which direction I head. I procrastinated. I rationalized. But I had no good reason to not run–so I finally hauled my ass out the door. And for the first 500 feet, I was miserable. Then I told my brain to suck it. I needed the time outside. I needed a self-check in. And spiritual practice is, well, a practice–not an if-I-feel-like-it situation.
And I’m so glad I hung in. Because today I found this:
I ran through the water (spontaneity! Usually I’m AWFUL at spontaneity). And took a picture. And felt really grateful I’d come on this run after all.
Running’s about discovery for me. And about being a better version of myself.
And, c’mon, a spiritual practice that involves splash parks…that’s rad.