Monday, October 09, 2006

The Practice

Lately I have been using running as a metaphor, a practice, a meditation, a way to heal the body, repair the emotional scar tissue, and deepen the connection to the spirit. It is self-guided. Intuitive. I sense its effectiveness because the personalized instruction that comes from within feels so spot on. Combined with the intuitive writing that follows, I feel I am being delivered my destiny in every session, flowing forward in some inevitable journey to self-actualization. At least, I hope so. It feels that way.

I don't "set" an intention, but one usually comes to me anyway. I just get out there and try to remain open to whatever my higher self wants to communicate. I tune in. I turn off the noise. I listen. This is why I like to do my practice in silence, and although I love company, I do my practice alone. I really want to "hear" what knowledge will be revealed to me as I jog along. There is wisdom there, I know it. In this way it is like meditation. Moving meditation. The inner-connection is strong even if the body isn't yet. The form of practice itself, in this case consistent jogging, is irrelevant to the practice. Jogging just seems to be working for me right now as a way to connect my body, mind and spirit.

I suppose any repetitive physical task would work as a means to connect to the deeper source. But right now I need to feel my body really move. I want to feel my sweat push the toxins out of my pores. I want to challenge myself physically as I attempt to untie the knots in my brain. I want to combine something physically taxing for my body, while inviting the inner calm of spirit. I want to build stamina inside and out. Running, contemplating, and writing, at least for now, at least for me, seems to be the magic combination.


As I jog up the hill behind the airport, I am aware of newfound strength in my legs. As my feet press off the pavement, I focus on the area where the back of my thighs push against my glutes with each stretch of leg behind me. I am aware of the extra bubblewrap there, the layers of flesh and flab, touching, pushing against each other as I move, acting as my own personal protection plan. I can "see" my inner body, hiding out underneath, the bones and muscles tentatively beginning to get stronger and reveal themselves.

Pretty soon, I will not need the padding anymore. Pretty soon, I will be strong enough to let it go. I know that day is coming. It is coming both physically and mentally, as I continue to get closer to my goals.

I am aware of the feeling "I am gorgeous inside." I laugh to myself because first, it sounds so ridiculous, so vain even, and second, it reminds me of a sign with that very phrase on it, tacked across a "For Sale" sign a few blocks from our house. The realtor must have thought, hey folks, I know the outside isn't much to look at, but please, consider the inside. Desperate maybe? Or a metaphor for life.

So one Sunday, we decided to check out the "I'm gorgeous inside" house just for fun. We walked the whole house in under 10 minutes and left shaking our heads. Gorgeous? Ah, that was a stretch…inside and out.

Obviously the buyer thought so too. No sooner had it sold, but the whole damn thing was razed to the ground. The "I'm gorgeous inside" was so gorgeous it was demolished! Not a scrap was saved. Not even the uninspired HGTV Ground Rules "concept garden" in the backyard. Nope. No landmark there. And true to the growing trend in housing these days, a brand new 2-story McMansion is currently being built to replace the awkwardly laid out 1-story dwelling. Next. Step down.

Now I'm not saying I'm not worth saving or ready to extinguish myself. No, not in the least. But not unlike that realtor, I am thinking that through all the layers of padding, there IS a lovely body and spirit in there. She just needs to be coaxed out. Renovated. I can pull the lumps of flesh away from my body, particularly in the middle and feel the muscle underneath. It's in there. Same with those padded thighs hitting my protruding ass. If I could just slice those cheeks in half, I'd be fine. More stairs, please.

As I run down the stairs, bobble, bobble, bobble, I intentionally loosen all the flesh in my legs while I go down each step. Shaking off the excess, feeling what's underneath, I try to connect to that part. I imagine that being the "real" me. The part I am trying to get to, coax out, reveal. It is that part I communicate with, that hidden potential of strength, as I push back up the incline two stairs at a time. The rest is a false sense of me. An illusion. A space suit. Unnecessary extra protection. What am I protecting anymore anyway?


Being sore from doing 2 workouts in a row due to my sporadic "routine" of late, I reduced the number of stair laps overall and on the return, slowed my pace down enough to do the sets while maintaining deep breathing…just like my fireman did, described in a previous post. Not in any hurry. Not huffing, not jogging, but slowly, evenly, consistently climbing. Barely breaking a sweat. Knowing my body already had the strength within itself, and then, just allowing it to execute the stairs effortlessly. Assuredly. Knowingly.

(Like writing. Knowing I already had the story, and then effortlessly, assuredly…letting it out onto the page.)

I'm not sure what my connection is to the LAFD or firemen in general, as prior to just recently, I never even paid them any mind at all. I guess ever since Les' daughter passed away and our block was lined with 3 trucks, I have become a little more aware of them. They seem to be everywhere.

The other day, we pass two uniformed firemen crossing the searing hot parking lot at the Rite Aid, while my daughter and I return enjoying our deal-of-the-century 99-cent ice cream cones to cool off.
(Not bad for drugstore ice cream.) Perhaps they had the same idea.

A long red fire truck lines the yellow-paved no parking zone at the local Albertson's where we sometimes shop for groceries. Must be chili cook-off night back at the station.

Then, Sienna latches onto an old childhood book of her father's called "The Fire Cat." It's about a rather mean alley cat named Pickles who ends up becoming a fire station mascot and a very good cat indeed. She insists we read it again and again.

Today as I was jogging down the back of the airport, I happen to look up just in time to catch another fire truck, engine #5, passing by…

Huh? What is it with fire trucks? And firemen?

And moving vans, for that matter. They seem to be everywhere these days. Is everyone suddenly trying to cash out of this crazy housing market before the inevitable crash? It seems every third house or so is on the market now, at least around here in the reportedly overpriced SoCal housing market.

Perhaps both trucks remind me of the inevitable… Passage. Change.



Make of it what you will. I'm staying strong.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

"What am I protecting anymore, anyway?" Love that question. Go big with that question, Tanya, I think that's where the true healing lies! You are FABULOUS, inside and out, gorgeous too!

Suzy said...

Amazing post, as always. I am envious at how well you know yourself and how well it translates onto the page. Your voice has such depth and truth. And for the record, you are gorgeous inside and outside! As far as the firetrucks. firemen and moving vans go, you may be right- always prepared and on alert and ready to move, and change when needed- just like you do in your writing and living.....

Michelle O'Neil said...

I felt like I was right there inside the runner's head when I read this piece.

Glad she is staying strong!

Lee Wolfe Blum said...

the bubblewrap ...pretty good. Love how your relate your body to your self and who you are. We ARE body, mind, and spirit...all working together.

Oh and the firetruck/moving truck...great analogy. I am feeling that housing MN there are 10 houses for sale in every neighborhood.

Oh and I also liked the "I'm Gorgeous inside" thoughts.

Keep writing. :)