“Running is a road to self-awareness and reliance-you can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the earth spin beneath your feet.” – Doris Brown Heritage
I ran today, more the “watching the earth spin beneath your feet” kind of run. A 10K. It wasn’t that fast, I didn’t want it to be. In fact, I didn’t want it to end. In what could have become a temper tantrum this morning at my kitchen table over a few days of negative interactions and run-of-the-mill bullshit, I jumped up from my table instead, grabbed my shoes, and in the clothes I already had on set off down the street. I didn’t even grab my iPod. And as I left my house, I was angry, the blood pumping through my veins heavily before I was to the end of the block fueled by adrenaline and the beginnings of a quiet and bubbling rage.
I recently wrote a blog post about Being Nice and true to form, I’m being challenged to live my own advice. Being nice to other people is the right thing to do but sometimes “nice” feels like the last thing I want to be. And my nice side is anchored by a mostly rare, but quick to rise temper that doesn’t seem to want to settle down. I find myself holding my tongue and forcing a smile more than is comfortable in recent days. And I have let other people get into my head and under my skin and that is an intolerable irritant.
So as I tore off down the street and turned the corner, the sun suddenly hit my face, a sharp wind blew a chilly blast across my cheek, and the warm kiss of anger that burned there was replaced by a sudden exacting calm. And the footsteps slowed up slightly I was completely aware of being outside and the clear, cool air that flooded my senses seemed to help shake loose the tension I was holding. So in that moment, I decided that I would focus on enjoying my run. The chaos, the work, the demands, fell away behind my footsteps as I ran. And as the precious miles passed, (far too quickly but not very fast) I was uninhibited by what I knew was waiting for me back home. It was as if I was stepping out of what is and into the parts of my life that are not quite and could be. I wasn’t thinking about what I had to do today, or what would be demanded, expected, required… rather, it was a time to think about what could be possible beyond those things if I got past the trees and stepped into the forest. And the further I ran the lighter I felt. Not in my feet but in my heart.
And all that was waiting for me at home when I stormed out was still there when I arrived. It hadn’t disappeared in the 45 minutes or so I was gone, but the anger had. With a clear head, it was easy to decipher what wasn’t important anymore, and what actually needed my attention this time. Somehow, the shift of new things I wasn’t fully aware of came into view and I was missing part of the big picture.
It became clear that part of the lesson in “being nice” meant to myself as much as anyone else, sometimes even more. I’m not saying to go easy on yourself, put yourself first at all costs, or only listen to what you want… but there comes moments when you should be the focus and when you and what you want, what you need, what you should get, and how you should be treated does matter and should not be ignored. It’s not selfish, sometimes it’s survival and sometimes it’s just recognizing hitting a wall or what is being presented to you isn’t something you want, or how you’re being treated isn’t okay. It doesn’t mean that you even need to speak up, you just need to quietly decide, change directions, and keep moving watching the earth spin beneath your feet…