Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Necessity of the Run


One thing about posting my writing every day and having people read it: they can sense the moods I'm in and start to feel the rhythms of my life. In the past week I have had one friend writing email to me asking about things that I have written and suggesting ideas. It has helped to move me forward. Another friend wrote to say that she would help me with running. She could sense that I was in a hole and offered a hand up.

I wrote yesterday about the need to be able to ask for help and I also need to be aware that I can accept help. I've tried to do that in both of the instances described above and want to be sure that I do it over my life entire. It's a good project to have.

As you may have guessed if you've been reading for a while, I'm also trying to listen more carefully to myself and to think about what I need. Today, in class, I have started kids writing about what they want, what they need, and the difference between those things. They are struggling with the idea that there is a difference between wanting and needing. One student is trying to argue that his gaming system is a need while another has sworn that whatever she wants is something she needs.

When my students write, I write too. What follows is adapted from my writing notebook entry for today.

What do I need?

More and more I'm learning that I need to run. Without running, I'm not the person I want to be. Running is for me the symbol of moving forward. Not running is standing still.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been mush. I've been stuck to the couch, listening to the television's white noise, staring through the laptop screen, not paying attention to myself and what I need. And so I have sunk into a depression of sorts.

I say "of sorts" because I don't think of myself as depressed. I don't think that my condition is that severe. I don't sink into something out of which I can't climb out. The darkness doesn't swallow me. Instead, I get to feeling lazy, intimidated by whatever it is I might better be doing, and so I sit still. I get stuck in ruts. I follow patterns. I let the world run me. I become a victim of events.

Isaac Newton said that an object at rest will remain at rest until acted upon by some force. So it is with me. A Brian at rest on the couch will remain on the couch until he chooses to exert some force to set himself in motion. The force in this case comes from within. Or it doesn't.

Monday afternoon I got myself out for around three miles. The run was easy enough. I stuck to the flats and I just went for a run. I didn't think too much about anything. I felt the beat of my bare feet on the pavement (I run without shoes, but that's a topic for another time) and enjoyed how my body warmed in the cold air. I just ran. It wasn't a thinking activity in anyway. And it was just what I needed. I came home, showered, and then sat before the computer (without the television) and wrote. I turned out good stuff. I was running even though I was sitting on the couch. Forces were at work and I was in motion.

Yesterday was really a tough day. By the time I finally got home around six (that's late for me) I was worn out mentally, emotionally, and (I thought) physically. The sun had gone down and it was cold, but I changed into running clothes, strapped on the head lamp, and went out for five miles. Again, I wasn't thinking about all the stuff that had worn me down during the day. I wasn't dwelling on my life at all. I was in the moment of each step of that run. And when I came home, I was aware still and I accomplished the things I wanted to accomplish.

I am still having all sorts of trouble with sleep. I keep waking at three or four in the morning and lying there in varying degrees of panic and anxiety. I'll have to see about that. Maybe it will come out in the run. Or in the writing.

What do I need? I need to run. I need to be in motion. I need to write and produce things I take pride in. I need to keep moving forward. And, as you can guess, I need to write on.