Last week was I published a post about bad writing days and how they teach you to cope. And I shared with you this warm and fuzzy story about how I turned a bad running day into a great one. But I have to be honest with you: they haven’t all been like that.
The thing about running is that it gives you a lot of head space to pay attention to your thoughts. Running is meditative, in some ways, which is why it jives with me. And there are other sports that are like that, too, swimming, cycling, yoga, and what not. But for me this is running. What goes on in my mind while I run is not unlike what goes on in my mind when I sit on the cushion.
So I have all this head space, and recently that head space has been filled with thoughts from the breakup: shame, anger, guilt, and pain. Sometimes in that order, sometimes two at a time, sometimes all at once.
There are days when I don’t get past it, days when the cannonball feeling in my chest doesn’t go away. There are days when I don’t let go of the thoughts at all and I have one big stinking crap of a run. On those days I don’t get to that place of non-attachment, and my thoughts completely overwhelm me. My chest feels heavy; I start walking; and I can’t stop crying. Eventually, I turn around and go home and resolve to try it again the next day.
The next day is almost worse. I experience this kind of mini trauma. I think about running, and it triggers what I felt the day before, all those nasty emotions, failure at having quit, and the anxiety of facing all that again. I might go out and be okay, or I might get overwhelmed again. I don’t know what will happen, and I’m scared to find out.
That thing that Yoda says about trying, normally I agree with him. Either you do something or you don’t do it. Shit or get off the pot.
But in moments like these where the memory of a bad experience has marked you, the only thing you can do is try. Trying means that an effort is made, an effort made with no expectations.
Maybe this will be a day where the mark of the bad memory cuts you or it doesn’t. You simply don’t know, but you’re never going to find out sitting at home. So I lace up and go out there to see what I will find.