I went running yesterday, which I hardly do anymore, and as I moved my legs forward and up, I realized that I’m not as hopeless as I think I am.
Let me explain: I’ve roller-coasted up and down various levels of physical athleticism…meaning, I am not an athlete, nor do I intend to be, but I love to move. When I get stressed out or when I am in school (the two of which are synonymous) I pour all my energy into worrying and simply have none left to spend on exercise.
It seems so simple now when you say it like that…
Anyway, I finally went running yesterday, because I got fed up with worrying. So I stepped outside, took a breath and bolted, though more like an old dog than a jack-rabbit.
Now, before you start asking yourself about the most recently advertised health benefits of long-distance running versus apparent risks, or the newest work-out fad, let me just say that I do not run for “fitness” in the glitzy athletic club shiny medal high end sneaker sense of the world…I run, at least, I know I must run, for spiritual solidity.
How does this work? Good question. Maybe it’s not so much a spiritual thing as it is a unifying in which my body and my spirit think and work together to achieve one common goal: simply moving faster, going higher, breathing longer.
And then I started thinking. I was amazed that, even after months of not running, I could still do so! This seems obvious in retrospect, because of course if I can walk, I can run. But when you don’t do something long enough, you can quite easily forget that you have any potential at all.
As I realized that my legs hadn’t given up on me, that my muscles are still buried somewhere deep in my flesh, I thought about the Potter and the clay: “Will the pot say to the potter, you did not make me?” No. Will the pot wiggle and squirm and try to reinvent itself every time it notices and fixates upon a crack or a chink? If that pot is me, then yes, it certainly will. This is how I started out yesterday when I decided to run. I thought I would wipe my slate totally clean and begin “new,” as if I could erase twenty two years of living just by putting one foot in front of the other.
So I put one foot in front of the other…and another, and another, and another, and then I wasn’t running from anything, or running towards anything, or erasing or embracing anything at all. I was just caught in a space in the air, with my feet somehow down on the earth.