Sunday, March 11, 2012

Waking Up Aware

For those paying attention to details, you'll notice that the date seems off. I write these essays the day before I publish them. So there you are. 

I woke this morning ready to go. It's a feeling I treasure. I'm not ready to take on the world so much as to accept what the world has to offer. I've shaved my head and my face, showered, emptied the dishwasher and cleaned the kitchen. Last night we had friends over and I picked up some of the debris from that. I'm also marveling that while others were imbibing at the rate I usually do, I was set to take it easy and just be there. We even watch the Syracuse Orange lose a Big East Tournament game and I was okay with that. Later this morning, I'll run the Shamrock 4-mile run here in Syracuse and I hope to be just as aware through the running of that as I was unloading the dishwasher.

I have felt more than a little out of myself the past few weeks and it's nice to, if only for a morning, wake and feel like I know what's what and who I am. Like I said above, I treasure this feeling.

Here's the thing about being aware, however: I realize that I won't feel like this every moment of today and that tomorrow I might find myself in a different place. Accepting things means accepting that I won't always be happy and, more importantly, that it isn't necessary or even desirable to feel that way. There is the whole range of emotions out there--or rather, in here--and it would be a pity to give up all the others in order to exist only in one. That said, mornings such as this remind me that how I react to the world, how I act is about sixty-five percent my decision and thirty-five percent the status of the world. I don't expect to be able to choose happiness during the zombie apocalypse, but most of the other times I have a better than average chance.

I write about this sort of thing a lot. I'm unwilling to comb through the old entries and tally how many times, but I would bet that I've written about this at least a dozen times since I began last Halloween. I'm gnawing on the subject because it's the thing that I most want to learn and need to know. Just considering how I feel this morning makes me want to understand better how it works and feel more like I can make this happen more often in my life. I want to be this aware when I feel the other emotions too. What would it be like if I could be both angry and self-possessed at the same time? I think it would make me feel better. Since I learn through writing, that's why I have said so much here about it. For better or worse, you have tagged along on my learning journey.

There is part of me that worries that you folks have this all figured out already, that you're reading this and muttering a collective, "duh, Brian." All my life I have wondered if I was the one who didn't get it. I realize now that I'm not the only one, but I still worry that most of you have life sussed out to a degree that I only dream of. If so, I'm not sure I want you to let me know. Maybe you could take pity on a guy and just tell me that you struggle with this stuff too. I don't mind if you lie to me about it.

This reminds me of the race I'll run in a little while. I have no chance whatsoever of winning this race. Nor is there a chance that I will come in last. I am in the great middle and it's not a bad place to be. More important, the race I run today will occur in two places: on the streets around Syracuse's Tipperary Hill and within the confines of my mind. I'll be running my own race today. Running it with friends, but running it with the goal of achieving awareness while I run. This isn't quite as highfaluting as it sounds. I want to run and pay attention to my body. I want to know what I can do and push that boundary just to know myself better. I don't want to "kill myself" on the run so much as know myself.

There is talk of the runner's high. I've felt it. That moment when I am at peace, when my body is doing all the things it was meant to do, when I am just going along and living completely in the moment of each step, that's the runner's high for me. I've felt it when writing, when holding my children, when staring into my true love's eyes. It's the best feeling in the world and it's mine (and yours) for the low-low price of being aware.

Write on.