“I want out of this body.”
“My body betrayed me.”
“This body’s limitations are not ME.”
“My will is stronger than this body… I can push myself farther and faster because I WANT IT.”
I say these things. And I shouldn’t. Because like it or not, my body is a part of me. I don’t always like it. And therein lies the problem.
My soul is healthy, passionate, curious and intuitive. My body hurts, twinges, aches and at times, has pain. It is mortal. I want to disassociate from my body. My mind wants to fly far, far away. Often times, I don’t want to be in the present, and I especially don’t want to FEEL.
How sad. There are so many opportunities in this life to FEEL. Pain is real, but so are emotions. Sometimes my face literally hurts from the perma-grin when I am ecstatically, wondrously happy or content. I can’t and wouldn’t ever want to disassociate from the physical reminder of my happiness, just as I never want to forget those exquisite moments when my emotions and body work in perfect harmony to create that feeling of JOY.
Pain is different. As a culture we’ve worked so very hard to stop any feeling of pain. Having a baby? Here’s an epidural. Headache? Pop an aspirin. Feel sad? Prescribe an antidepressant. Break up with your boyfriend? Drinks are on me. Not only do we want to erase the feeling of pain, we actually want to erase all feeling. Numbness is the only solution. And then we mistake numbness for happiness. Only when there is an absence of feeling can we relax. We have completely separated from our bodies.
I wrote “Training Pause” a few days ago, and several wise people have written comments or emailed me personally about the forced break. The words are varied, but the message is the same. Take time. Rest. Recover. Be good to your body. Let your mind relax. This happens to endurance runners. Feel the pain. Feel the unsettled feeling that comes from waking up at 5am and NOT going out to run. Sit with the stir of energy that wants to whirl you around like a hummingbird. Be in your body. Connect.
It’s the last word that’s the hardest. Connect with a body that has aches and pains and its own needs? My soul has needs and desires, but my body too? How do I reconcile those things? What if we’re not compatible? Can I get a divorce and find a body that’s more in line with my soul?
No. This isn’t dating. This is what a true partnership is, and the old marriage vow comes to mind; “…through thick and thin, for better or worse, til death do us part…”
I can either choose to have a better relationship with my body, to work on understanding its needs, to nourish it, to baby and shower it with love and compassion, or I can punish it with every ounce of loathing and neglect my pathetic soul can dish.
If I’m capable of loving my own body, then it seems reasonable that I will be better able to have compassion for another person’s body and soul as well. Love and compassion start here, with this one person. When I’ve managed that one, then I can branch out. Only then.
Marathon training has taken me into uncharted territory. I’m trying new things, running farther and longer than I’ve ever run before, learning about rest, nutrition and balance, and discovering and feeling things that have probably been sitting dormant in the dark recesses of my psyche and soul for lifetimes. I’ve struggled with trust over the years, and I’m coming to see that my reticence to trust others goes deeper… I’m scared to trust myself. My body has wisdom that I’ve tried to ignore for much of my life, telling me truths about my capabilities and relationships that I didn’t want to believe.
I’m being told to Connect. Connect to my body. Let my mind and body come into balance. Feel the pain of the body with the mind, and notice where the minds’ pain resides in the body. Only then will I go further. I felt betrayed on Sunday when I was forced to stop running because I disassociated from my body. My mind had an agenda my body couldn’t manage.
I rest so that I may run again. When I take those first steps after this recovery period, I hope I’m a wiser person, a person who runs because the mind and body have consciously agreed that it’s a worthwhile activity.