In the in-between
I love where my mind takes me when I run
I’ve still wrestling my way through the sort of burnout / exhaustion I’ve alluded to the last few weeks. I’m prioritizing sleep. I’ve stuck to my habits as much as I can: get up, workout clothes on — but then instead of getting moving, my rhythm has been to read or journal and sip my not-coffee (since I had to cut caffeine out to help manage my stress symptoms)
(I know, right?!)
and snuggle with Gibson and chat with Chris and try to find some leisure and some connection to my physical life
before sitting down to plug my brain into the matrix.
But yesterday morning I got up, put my workout clothes on, and then went for a very gentle run.
It felt good.
My goal was to start my workout — not to finish it or achieve a specific goal — just to start running, and consider that a success. So I did a little bit less than my normal run route and it felt just right.
And getting my eyes up from the screens was, as always, helpful. My run was easy enough my body didn’t have much to say, and my mind was able to wander. And the thought it settled on was a memory from a trip I took when I was a senior in high school. I rode the Amtrak train to Chicago (via the southern route) with a girlfriend who was touring colleges there, and it was a long, weary, wonderful trip. Two high school seniors crossing the country via train, then bus, and plane home. (It was a different time.)
As the train wound through Wyoming headed East, the scenery had been pretty stark for some time. And the train turned a corner through a slot in a canyon and the view of a lush, green, beautiful landscape poured away from my train-weary eyes. My brain registered it as the most beautiful landscape my youthful, not-yet-traveled eyes had ever seen.
And every cell in my body responded with:
PULL THE STOP CORD
But such actions have consequences and I didn’t. But the reaction was so strong
I still remember it
PULL THE STOP CORD
some 26 or 27 years later. I remember the view, I remember looking up at the handle attached to the stop cord, and I remember thinking: just pull it. I want off this train, here. I need off this train, now. Here. In this place.
It was a strange, strong, deep knowing, and it felt like a strange betrayal to not heed it.
That of all the moments in my life my swiss-cheese brain remembers that one, and that the blank space of my run brought that memory to me this week amuses me.
I think about the times in my life I’ve had an impulse to pull the “stop cord” and haven’t; and about the few times in my life when — despite my fear of the consequences, I have.
Is there a stop cord you’re eyeing right now? Something your cells are communicating to you the signal to do (or stop doing)? You may not be (or feel) able to do it — but can we notice it for a moment? And listen for the message in the signal that may be worth hearing and considering. And thinking: can we act on that signal in some other way? What need does that signal communicate? Maybe — just maybe — we can respond to it in some way to honor our inner wisdom (even if we can’t react to it by pulling the handle).
I’d love to hear what that sparks for you.
P.S. a reminder from @glennondoyle on instagram:
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