Running towards life
I always seem to get an epiphany while I’m running. Things that relate to life.
It’s a place for me to practice "being with" and noticing what happens when I don’t resist. Often while I’m running I begin to feel fatigued or something hurts and I want to stop. I begin to resist and I tense up, which takes me out of a better form for running. So, I decided one day to look at what I was telling myself. I realized there was an unconscious part that was saying,
“You’re getting too tired! You can't do this. It's not ok! You need to stop!”
It's the part of my brain that monitors my physical state and wants to keep me alive. Once I was aware of the thoughts then I could gain perspective, and check if they were true.
Funny how in life there are thoughts in the subconscious, but just by bringing them to light, they lose their power. Different than just “thinking positively”. To me it’s about increasing my tolerance just to be with however I’m feeling. First I need to notice the underlying thoughts. Because it’s my thoughts that bring about my feelings. I learned this when I learned W.A.I.T: What Am I Telling Myself? And then I look at what I’m feeling when I’m telling myself those thoughts.
So after the thoughts I noticed my feelings. I felt worried and stressed, because I wanted reassurance and trust in my body. And I wanted well-being and definitely comfort. So instead of running and thinking, “When can I stop?! ” or “I can’t do this. I can’t handle it”, I decided to experiment and just be with the feelings of worry and stress and relax into "this is where I am. I have some resistance."
And suddenly relief came, much more than when I resisted the thoughts or tried to talk myself out of them. The more I just said “Yup, I’m tired and worried because I'm wanting to trust I can do this and I want ease from discomfort.” - the more I felt at ease running and enjoyed the journey. As soon as I accepted and stopped resisting, I began to be less tight and my true, natural form of running returned. I began to look at the trees instead of my watch, and worried less about when I could stop. I experimented with just saying what I valued - trust, well being, reassurance and that I could keep going. Then I began to appreciate the parts of my body that felt strong.
And I thought how important this is for me to do in life. Be with what is and keep going and get to gratitude. Not resisting when pain or worry comes up, not beating myself up for having my feelings, but mindfully choosing to be with it and, most importantly, getting to what it is that I value – Reassurance, Trust, Care for others, Peace of mind, etc. Then I begin to move towards what I’m wanting. When I resisted it was like those feelings went downstairs and lifted weights and came back when I didn’t expect it! “What we resist, persists.” In allowing I found more gratitude in the process, too. I never thought I would learn to be OK with any feeling and be able to handle life. Such a tool for empowerment!
So the next time one of my kids did something that triggered me where I found myself furrowing my brow and sighing, I stopped and did WAIT. I was telling myself that they weren’t functioning and so never would. That I was messing up for not teaching them better. That they weren't safe.
"Really? Is that true?"
Just noticing this gave me a bit of distance from having thoughts and having them be my reality and the truth. I realized I felt anxious, scared, and discouraged. I remembered Tara Brach’s Yes Meditation. And so, although I felt a bit silly, I said out loud to myself,
“Yes to worry." Breath. "Yes to fear." Another breath. "Yes to discouragement.”
And I realized I wanted reassurance for them being ok, to have Peace of mind and to Trust. When I became aware of these values then requests came as to how I could trust and find reassurance. That gave me compassion so I could be aware and act out of choice rather than react out of fear. Whew. That felt reassuring. I could decide to trust. I felt so much more resilient.
Maybe THIS was all I needed to teach my children. Help them know how to be with any feeling that comes up. And to show them how to look at what's important to them that's connected to that feeling, what they value. Then I’d be reassured that THEY can increase their window of tolerance and be resilient, too. Rather than resisting life, they, like me could run towards life.
2. W.A.I.T. What Am I Thinking? What am I resisting?
3. What is my body telling me - What am I feeling? What do I feel in my body?
4. Connect to my core, literally and figuratively. What do those emotions point to?
What is important to me? What are my Universal Needs?
5. Breathe into what's important to me. Picture breathing that need into my heart. Savor it. Rest in Gratitude for those precious values.
6. See if any requests come.
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Marcia has been studying and practicing Nonviolent Communication since 2005. She has experienced immense joy & gratitude while learning this consciousness. This blog reflects some of that learning.