Running. How do people
do this activity for minutes and hours on end in one day? And then when you think they had all that
time to think about what they were doing step after step after step, these
runner people wake up the next day and do it again!!! “Amazing,” I used to think. Well, that’s because I was part of that camp
that could not understand how people could do one monotonous motion over and
over and not go crazy in the head.
Secretly, I was really jealous of them. Whenever I ran, my mind would get the best of
me. “Shilpa, just run to that stop sign…you
can do it, you can do it… run, run, run…wow, the stop sign doesn’t seem any closer
and I’ve been running here for at least 30 seconds.. what were you thinking making
that stop sign the goal!… ok, just get to the tree instead and then you can
walk….thump, thump, thump… wow, did I mean that tree over there… flop, flop,
flop, jiggle, jiggle, jiggle…you know you can’t do it, you had asthma, you are
not in shape, you are not meant to be a runner, just go inside and do your
Truth is, I have been avoiding running for years for 1 big
reason and it was never about my physical limitations. I was afraid to be alone with myself and my
negative speak about my exercise potential.
So instead of facing my fears head on, I have been busying myself with
other exercises that suit my ego. That
is to say, I preferred to do exercise programs that I could pick up easily and
convinced me that I was at my full potential.
Well, what’s wrong with that?
Nothing- at face value. However, there
is no growth in that mindset and I secretly knew I wasn’t really at my full
potential. That’s right; Dr. Integrative
has some healing of her own that she works on!
Don’t get me wrong, I am proud that I am a much improved
yogini and that I can do Turbo Jam with the best of them, BUT exercise is so
much more than being able to lift a certain amount of weight, run the quickest
mile or do the prettiest downward facing dog.
There is a meditative space that
true athletes attain that brings them closer to the peace that resides in each
one of us. Our minds are our biggest
enemies. The mind, the house of your
thoughts, is constantly in motion- sometimes for your benefit but mostly for
your distraction, if you really think about it.
Your mind is constantly jostling you from activity to activity, emotion
to emotion, reaction to reaction. But
when your mind is focused on one thing, for example run, run, run, run, run…
you hit the sweet spot of meditation. When
our mind is quietened and focused, the sounds of all the “I can not’s” are not
heard anymore. It is at this time, at
the moment that you are free from all distraction, that you are poised to overcome
your perceived potential and push beyond it.
THAT is what I was really afraid of having to face!
I am happy to report that Saturday morning, October 2, 2010,
I completed my first 10K supporting the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Did I run the whole thing… heck no! But did I run…YES, I did! And in the midst of all my mind taming, on
this day of the race my thoughts were quiet enough for a short glimpse of time for
me to notice a beautiful thing. I felt the
strength and energy of all the breast cancer survivors and their friends and
families and grew more than any 6.2 miles I had ever walked in my life.
I still have many more miles of mental calisthenics ahead of
me, but I made it past my personal hump- once!
The second time will be easier and third even easier. I encourage you to be silent with your thoughts
and see what ‘I can not’s’ you have been flashing around for years and see
where you can find the peace of mind to move beyond it. Perhaps, it’s running that will be the field
where you practice the taming of your thoughts, but wherever or whatever it is,
just do it! Sorry, Nike and readers- I
had to say it!