This morning when I woke up, I did my usual. First, I reached for my Blackberry to peruse the email that had loaded up during the night and then I reached for my running shoes. Uncharacteristically, I reached for them begrudgingly. I didn’t feel like running…which is kind of odd.
But, I shoved my lethargy and fear of the cold, winter wind that is likely to plague my island for at least 2 more months aside and headed out the door anyway. Because I know how good I feel when I walk back in. Triumphant. Accomplished.
By the time I reached the end of my road, something wonderful happened, so wonderful that it is, perhaps, the runner’s holy grail. My body lit up, it felt light, strong, powerful, fast. I felt good, and despite the running blahs I woke up with, my run was going to be good too.
Oh how the brain will chatter…
When I run, I think a lot – my mind is never quiet. I write, I analyze, I have long debates with myself, I replay old memories, I study things…it’s like the steady pounding of my feet is a morse code to my brain that says, ‘Let ‘er rip’. Sometimes I’m in there talking back, fully conscious…while other times, I drop down into my body and just listen to the conversation as it rolls up and down my brain and my life.
Today, I was in listening mode and I was fascinated to hear what I had to say. At first, my brain was ecstatic that I had so much energy, that my body felt so vibrant. But then – shockingly – my brain did a 180 and started sending out orders like it was fighting for its life. “SLOW DOWN!” It cried. “Conserve your energy! Don’t use it all up now or we’ll never make it home! We’ll be stranded, we’ll be cold, we’ll be hungry…WE’LL DIE!!!”
My most beloved yoga teacher, Tarika, and Seth Godin would call this the lizard brain – that segment of our brains that cares purely for our physical survival. In yoga, the reptilian brain needs to know how long a pose will be held, where the restrooms are, when the class will end. On my run, this snake needed to know that my burst of energy was enough to make it home. It was terrified that it wasn’t.
This got me thinking about reserves. Are they necessary? And by dampening our performance today in order to save some for later, are we really getting any benefit? Or are we just missing opportunity, turning down our light, buying into the fear that we can’t possibly be that fantastic.
Does this happen to you when you write? Because it doesn’t happen to me. For some reason, when I start writing and it feels really good, I never, ever look back. I go with it and I go for it. And I watch it build on itself, this phenomenalness. The words just come faster, smoother, better the more of this beginning fuel I burn – it’s self-fulfilling, self-recharging, self-fueling.
So, why would the run be any different? Why would any pursuit be any different? Physical, mental, emotional – I don’t think it makes a difference. Whether the good energy lasts or it doesn’t, it does affect some part of your trip and that influences next steps. Don’t save it. It doesn’t work that way. Savor it. Take advantage of the gift.
In the case of my run, I jumped right into the lizard brain’s face and bellowed: Seize the energy. RUN! If we glide like a puma gloriously for even one mile, it will be worth it. We can walk home. We can hitch a ride. We can run slower on the way back ’round. We will not die. And we might just fly through all six miles.
Ha! Look at that. I did…I flew the whole way.
Image credit: Nieve44
Hey y’all! Check out The Daily Norm – my interview blog – for a new and stunning interview with Artist & Painter – Traeger di Pietro…