Saturday, November 24, 2012

163/365: Running Toward the Idea High

Today I made:
good use of my running shoes...

When I was a little Mila, I loved to run. I ran barefoot laps in our big backyard. I ran down the street to my friend's house so we had more time to play. I challenged my brothers to races. I had reoccurring dreams of running so fast that my strides turned into great leaps and before I knew it I was flying.
Running was a way of life back when I had the energy to support it.

Sometime during my growing-up phase, running became a "work-out" and my brain did its best to reject the idea. But my body still had urges every now and then to burst into a sprint. When we moved to San Diego three years ago, the bay path by our house coaxed me out again. Then my husband and I began jogging, sporadically, together. We keep dropping the habit and picking it back up. Every time, I am reminded of the strength of my will and the eagerness of my body to work for me when I ask it to. My thighs scream "Fowl!" but my mind screams "Yes yes yes! Remember how you love this? Remember how much it recharges you creatively?"

We don't always have the energy to begin a workout, but the workout gives us energy. (Darn those silly catch 22s!) It's like showing up in your art space without the slightest idea of what to make. Trust that showing up and making the gestures will result in energy and inspiration, in exercise and in art.

So this afternoon, with my favorite coach and workout buddy cheering me on, I made my legs and arms go through the motions until my heart was drumming in my chest, my lungs were bathing in fresh air and my veins were filled with delicious oxygenated blood. It didn't take long before my mind was solely focused on catching my breath and pushing through the pain. The rush of oxygen and endorphins to the brain made for happy and brave thoughts. I reached a place of possibility. Ideas flooded through and interesting connections were made.

It's probably my brain's way of shutting out the physical struggle by busying itself with far-out ideas and inspired whimsy. Whatever- I'll take it! Aside from getting a great workout, it is good for me to reach this happy place of letting my mind float on possibility. Running is becoming a spiritual practice for me, like a moving meditation, and the "idea high" lasts well into the day. I need to remember all this next time I'm groaning about putting on my running shoes.

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