i have been running with castle james.
at first i am trying to figure out what speed to go. i am thinking about the length of my stride. i am watching my pup pup watch the squirrel run through the underbrush. the words are frenetic in my head like they can’t swirl around fast enough. the thoughts are there surrounded by condemnations for thinking and wishes for an easier smaller framework in my head. i adjust the leash, i look at mapmyrun to see how long it has been. i think about how lame that is. i think about what it will feel like when i am halfway done. i think about what it will feel like to finish this run. i think about whether my knee is hurting, how my shoes are tied, how warm it is, if the misting will be bad for my phone, should i have left it at home, is it safer to carry it, am i almost at the end of this road?
then i look at the clock again and i have been running for 3.21 minutes and i wonder how i will ever ever ever make it. how will i run three miles and not hang myself up in the knots of mental acrobatics at warp speed?
then finally my body starts to warm up and i begin to see the road in front of me and my peripheral vision blurs out a bit. the first round is over. i am in a nice pause moment. my body is moving, my legs are running, i can feel things just beginning to fall in to place. i realize i am doing it. i am out for a run.
the second round begins and i wonder how far i should go today. should i turn around a bit early? did my knee just start hurting? is castle james being bad or good? are the people passing by looking at me? should i push myself today or take it easy? are my feet getting wet in this light rain? is that going to bother me? how far down this road am i? if i turn around early how early? if i go a bit longer how much longer? should i take my phone out and decide how far to run or just listen to my body? what does it mean to listen? to be extra kind? to try a bit of suffering? am i afraid of suffering? is my whole culture afraid of suffering, was i raised to fear suffering, is it right to avoid suffering or is there something intrinsically good about suffering, and what is suffering? am i relaxed?
i shake out my arms and roll my shoulders and i take a few deep breaths. and then again i feel the shift to being present. i can feel the evenness of my breathing and the questions seem to fall into the sandy edges of the deteriorating asphalt road as my feet hit it. this rest is longer and i am simply running.
for the third round my body is hot. i am sweating and my muscles are limber and full of heat. then i begin to pray. i pray for guidance, i pray for healing, i pray for direction, i pray for people i love and i pray for myself. i pray for the heat to shift the energy in my body so that anything i do not need is let go. i pray that the running is resetting my vibration so that i am just how i need to be. i pray for patience and correct balance in my parenting. i pray for my health, i pray for more ease in the practice of quieting my ego, i pray for guidance on my path as a healer. then i just pray, i connect to the divine and i ask to feel the great energy filling my body. sometimes i close my eyes as i run trusting my other senses to lead me down the road.
there is a short break now, a silence but for hearing my longer deeper breathing as my body struggles on through this run. and then in the fourth round i run. i allow my body to remember with its own physical memory what kind of running feels true to it, i do not hold back i do not push myself. my stride tends to open up at this point and my legs are reaching out for the ground in front of me and then pushing me up and off the tarmac for a momentary lift before reaching again. i am five, i am twelve, i am sixteen and i am thirty-two. i feel tired but more deeply i know i am fine. i know my body is strong i know i am strong.
then suddenly i am home.
the kids are ready to hold my hand and crawl up to sit on my hip while i walk to the front door.
i am wondering where my water bottle is.
i am wondering if i will get a shower today.
my heart is still pounding but i am back in my life again, submerged immersed surrounded. i am back but i am cleaner now. sweaty and humbled, opened up with prayer and moving meditation, blood pounding through my veins, i have found my way.