Running For Joy; Learning To Stay
I found a wonderful quote about accountability the other day, or rather, what happens when there is a lack thereof:
"Having accountability reduces drama and self inflicted chaos".
How many times have we run around in circles, creating the same problems and suffering for ourselves. And yet, awareness is also not linear, more like an upward moving spiral. What I have learned over the last five years of my life, is that without grief, there is no joy. The dark and the light are both welcome. I can be tossed about in the waves or I can ride the swells. I can pause, or I can react. And most of all, I can be accountable to myself and others and reduce the 'self inflicted chaos.'
What I discover is that awareness is not a linear process, and I don’t know what I don’t know, but once I was motivated to stop whatever behaviour or thinking was keeping me stuck, I can’t unsee what I now see. Like other forms of practice, I am used to, lifting weight let’s say, or training for a 5 km race, where the improvements ebb, flow and plateau, the more I embrace the uncertainty of the nature of any one day, the more I can relax into trusting the process. In runners' terms, the more attached you are to a particular outcome or external reward, the more suffering you bring yourself through the inevitable disruptions and unmet goals: chaos ensues.
The cracking open arrives intermittently. I don’t notice for several days, or even months, that I have shed that very heavy burden I wore for so long. That somewhere, I discarded the armour, or more, it dissolved during some conscious moment where I was being patient and planted in one spot, rather than running around in circles.
Awareness is not a stealthy thing that requires me to have eyes in the back of my head. It requires a surrender and a trust, that I am ok right now, not that I will be ok at some future time when what I 'want' happens.
My soul makes space in small irregular increments. I know there are others that speak this language; I read their words and hear the knowing murmurs.
Each wave of awareness sheds more light than the one previous but there are no steps that can be skipped. I can’t, as in the past, run a little faster, or hold my breath to dive beyond what I currently know.
I never know when the light will appear, there is no predicting. Just as I realize later along the trail that I have lost some protective layer along the way, I also can hardly recall the devotion to which I clung to it. I’ll be across the field at dusk and feeling lighter and more grounded at the same time. I’ll also get moments of sheer acceptance that takes my breath away.
The light appears after darkness, usually in a space created by leaks, or memory of the past not processed, a body sensation that feels like darkness and old shame. I have had to train myself not to run away, or really, not to run at all. To not pretend, cover up or deny. I have had to learn to sit uncomfortably in my own crawling skin. It is after these moments that a spaciousness occurs, like the vast blue sky, a deep joy and gratitude that has nothing to do with fleeting happiness or getting what I want.
And then I may run free.
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Writing about the art of moving well and the lived experience of a life in sport.