Sunday, November 25, 2018

On self-reliance

               The most important thing I have learned from running is self-reliance, not just self-reliance on a physical level, but on a deep  emotional level. One learns self-reliance through running because without constant communication with oneself one could easily hurt oneself. The more one does it the more one becomes intimately connected to ones instincts, one's inner voice, one's thoughts and dreams. 

              Loneliness use to be a horrible thing to fear. God forbid one would be without friends around to validate one's existence; that was me, 10, 15, 20 years ago. Today, I would rather walk alone than alongside anything that devalues me. I have learned over time that no one, not even the ones who LOOK like they have their shit together, actually has their shit together. I believe those online memes that constantly remind us all that, "Everyone, (and I mean absolutely everyone) is fighting a battle we know nothing about." It would be unfair of me to act as if I knew more, or as if I had all the answers. It belittles their fight, their past, their struggles for me to roll along and try to define their life for them.  What makes a person stand up to me is how they deal with their little piece of struggle. Do they work on them openly and honestly? do they hide it and pretend they are not struggling? Do they pick apart others to avoid and deflect their own struggles? 

                With this knowledge that we all struggle I have chosen to bear all my struggles. Not for sympathy, not for advice, not to be fixed, not because I am broken or have not forgiven or not forgotten. I share my struggles openly (on this page and personally) because I think that is the ONLY way I can help others find their way. As someone who herself has never listened to others' advice, I have followed others' examples. Only in living your own path can you teach others....words are extra, not needed....not helpful. Understandably, I navigate towards others who also understand the power of just living out your lessons and gifting the world you through your actions.  BEING surpasses any advice I could give anyone. I fact, I have always have had total distrust of any teacher who flat out MUST tell you who they are...Hey!! if you need to tell anyone who you are, it's then never been clear anyway. To define one's greatness in words says much more about your lack of greatness than anything else. I follow this zen ideal of "eat the Buddha". Once you reach a level of wisdom you lose religion, you have no walls, no dogma, for all these are used to separate you from others. Hence, you "eat the Buddha".  

           With self-reliance comes pride. I take great pride in all the struggles I've been through. They have provided me with invaluable lessons, multiple perspectives, and immense mental and physical fortitude. I know the value of one's past on my own life and therefore I value the stories of others very much. People always surprise me with their stories of strength, conviction. The very best of the human spirit are not found in Godly books, or religious places, they are found in everyday people. I always find it a great honor when anyone inquires about my world, anything from my running, to my struggles to my work. To know what one has been through is to truly understand that soul. It's no surprise that I am surrounded by a handful of amazing women who have survived and succeeded great feats; deep trust is exchanged between us and that is worth 1,000 lesser friends.  

You don't have to like it, agree with it or have an opinion

 Last week, I was sitting with a group of women of all ages and we were talking about tattoos. One married woman began saying that she once wanted one very much, yet, her husband right off the bat told her he was absolutely not "into them" therefore she should not get one. I find it interesting how some women don't question this ownership type relationship approach and don't feel uneasy being told what to do with their bodies. I hear it all the time too when it comes to running at night, for example. Women will pronounce, without an ounce of questioning, how their loving and caring husbands would never "let" them run alone, or at night or at dawn, or in a specific location.... The main thought that always goes through my mind when I hear these blatant ownership type statements is, "I am glad I don't have anyone in my life that is telling me what to do with my body." Seems to me that in the plight to feel safe we have willingly and almost happily abandoned the idea of ourselves as free wheeling souls, with ideas of our own, dreams of our own.....and a will to choose our own destinies. 

              I am not going to lie and say my husband was crazy about me getting a huge arm tattoo, yet, I sat him down and explained that this was very important to me to express my sense of beauty in this manner, that I have been wanting this for years, this was my body and most importantly, due to my past experience with sexual abuse as a young adult, it was most important for me, solely, to execute decisions about my body. He understood completely and did not say another word. At times like these I am so glad I did not grow up with my dad, who himself was a forceful, unrelenting force in our home before my parents divorced. I was therefore raised expecting to have full ownership of my body, my decisions and the consequences of them. Yet, it's not like I would have never married anyone with an overactive chivalry muscle anyway.... men like that often felt suffocating, somewhat creepy and overly intense. They begin every relationship by laying it on so heavy up front only to fade into childish expectations and blaming behavior directed at you for having had to fake it for so long. 

                  Running, along with any other passion you might have, (like tattoos, or gardening....etc) is an expression of your freedom. Choose partners and friends who are not intimidated by your level of passion for running or tattoos, or whatever....choose a partner who give you all the space you need to find you. It's not that important that they know all about your passion, but it's important that they begin to invest in the better you that comes as a result of your freedom. It's understandable that your loved one want you to be safe and sound and ask that you be safe when running outdoors, yet, it's another whole story to be told that you can't go. HUGE difference. The more a partner or friend fans the flames of fear, the less able YOU are to use your own instincts to assess any situation. Choose your friends and partners carefully....



Thursday, November 1, 2018

Braveheart -----trust yourself, trust your coach....

I did it.....I dove in the deep end...not once but four times!! I am so excited I could jump for hours..... (okay maybe a hop....still sore from my race)

Anyway, this is significant, perhaps just to me, but the story behind it is quite amusing.

Back when I was around 14, my mom's boss asked a swim instructor friend of hers to give me one swimming class.  We lived with them during the summer and being as they lived near the beach, being able to swim, would make my summer much better, or so she thought. During this said "class", instead of starting from scratch with more easy challenges, he proceeds to try to get me to dive into the deep end of the pool. Now,  I did not even know how to float yet and this is what he chose to do. Nevertheless, he tried to get me to dive face first into the water and he never did get me to do it. Although looking back now that is not where a swim lesson should begin, I still walked away from the experience feeling very depressed about my lack of bravery.

Until 45....thirty-one years later, I accomplish that task flawlessly.....not once, but four times.....I must give huge credit to my instructor Kira who is a whizz at scaffolding any skill into reachable tiny challenges until you get to the main goal. But I also feel thankful for my ability to shut off the panic and my instructor, who right before jumping in said, "it's totally okay, just do it." I also trust patterns over time.... good things generally come after you jump a matter how small.

So if you have a fear in your heart.....find a good instructor and trust, trust your training, trust your heart.