Running Cycles and Circles

I’ve had a lot on my heart lately. While exhausting, it’s not been a bad thing but a good thing. Bloggers have probably been familiar with this at least once (or twenty times) in their careers: Writing and scrapping, then re-writing and then scrapping yet again a blog post.

Everything is a process. Everything is a cycle. I say that having a heavy heart is a good thing sometimes, because there needs to be a release. If you block a motion, the energy from that motion will manifest itself in other ways. That’s not to say that hard work isn’t painful sometimes. If it is truly hard work, it is painful.

I get what the emo kids are at. That is, now that I’m on average about 10-15 years older than them–and the emos when I was their age were all “goths.” Remember, “emo” is short for emotional. Dark hair? Check. Pale complexion–by way of white face makeup or lack of sun? Check. Black clothes and black eyeliner? Check. Of course, that’s not to discount that “young pain” has gotten a bit more specialized. But the concept is similar and it is timeless. Feeling pain. Not masking that there’s a reaction to every action. Satan without God, good without evil. Sad without happy.


Balance.

I haven’t been able to write but not without want. I’m not saying that it’s bad to take a step away from blogging; in fact, I think it’s essential. Everyone needs a moment to go inside themselves without interruption. There are things that need to be absorbed, thought about, and let go. Sometimes, they’re rejected. Other times, they’re released. The latter is the hardest thing to do. But the process of getting to that point is a phenomenal thing. I’ve essentially been learning that you cannot rush nor anesthetize emotional pain. It takes patience. And time. And waiting. We have to recognize what it is and even respect it in order to let it out. When we cover it up, it creeps up on us and we end up giving ourselves to it because it’s there–despite our failure to acknowledge it.

A really helpful thing I’ve been giving myself to lately is journal writing. I think part of what’s therapeutic about it is that it’s in your own handwriting and there is a lot of thought in constructing each letter by ink and paper. A favorite writing tool also helps. It’s a way to externalize your thoughts so that they stop bouncing around inside your conscience.

I haven’t been able to blog publicly because through the pain, I’ve been doubting myself. I’ve been vulnerable. What being vulnerable does to us sometimes is to ask for help and seek a safe place outside ourselves. Sometimes, if we don’t believe a provider somewhere will give that to us then usually we end up shouldering that ourselves. We don’t deserve this kind of doubt though, because it overcomes us. That type of doubt doesn’t do anybody any good.

Part of it is that it’s a natural inclination. Doubt is rooted in fear and it is a natural instinct by which we protect ourselves. Fear is essential for survival so we can run when we sense danger. There comes a point, though, where this is not simply an emotion that we feel–but it becomes a way of being. It becomes our very essence and it becomes our only means of motivation … that is, or our lack thereof. The fact of the matter is that we need to let it go–or it controls us and things we do, whether we let it dibilitate us, purge at other people or drive us to control every aspect of our environment.

Breathe.

A most revealing moment I had inside myself lately was a recall on the perspective on running I had as far back as high school. I was on the cross-country team all 4 years and well, I had participated long enough in it to be captain by the time I was a senior. I didn’t have terrible times–they were about average. In fact, looking back I think I had a decent amount of talent–I remember being told so. But something was holding me back.

It was my perspective on running. I had come to know running by its pain. If you think about it, running is at least 50% masochism and 50% accomplishment. It is probably one of the most high impact sports around, save for rugby and American football. And even then, there are breaks in play in those games … but not in running. Many people know running to be predominantly psychological; you’re your own worst enemy. How well can your mind control your body? It’s that word again: control.

My first three years in high school, I had cried after many of the races. It was as if I was disappointed in my finishing time, each and every single time. And that was just it–I was setting myself up. I was prepared to fail, and that was exactly what I did, in my mind, almost every time. But it didn’t make any sense–I didn’t have the worst times on the team. It was as if I could never fulfill my own expectations because they were so lofty and unrealistic . I was determined to be disappointed. I didn’t accept my abilities as they were (nor myself as I was) and I didn’t think deep inside that I deserved to enjoy the practice of running. The truth was that my inadequacy was rooted in the home.

People don’t go to therapy because they’re afraid of being mislead, or afraid of being led to believe lies. They avoid going to therapy because they don’t want to be confronted with the truth–and this would require therapeutic and consequently painful reflection and action on their own part. Outside action is just symptoms. And symptoms are just indications of a deeper condition. Ignorance is not bliss. If you ignore the deeper condition, it can be destructive and enables the cycle to continue. (Important to note: When choosing a therapist, I highly recommend getting a referral from a friend if at all possible.)

Lately, I’ve been completely awakened to the things God has placed in my life. My eyes have been open to the world around me–such as more conversations with people on the benefits of therapy than I can count on one hand since my awakening. Though I didn’t know it then, when I trained for my marathon I was given the ability to look upon my training with a positive attitude. It rectified my outlook on running as a sport. I’ve been surrounded by cats the past couple years and have been given the ability to connect with them, despite that I had mistreated my pet cat when I was a child (I had tried to control him just as I had been controlled). Everything comes full circle.

Everything is a cycle. Energy comes back to you in one way or another. It’s really a phenomenal thing.

Love,
*e