By Sarah Meyer Tapia
Lately my body has been sending me signals. I’m tired. I’m tired from the final push of 2016 at work. I’m tired from having a kid with poison oak. I’m tired from world events. I’m tired from running too many months (years?) without a proper break. I’m Body & Soul t-i-r-e-d.
Still, running is my favorite way to deal with the tired and I’m trying to not be too needy but rather ask Body with all due respect if she’d kindly hang in there till I’m done with my finish lines this year. She’s so far agreed, but not without some reminders that she is, in fact, finite. She’s reminding me that my hamstring could use a rest. She’s reminding me that my brain did, in fact, experience a trauma 3 years ago and the damage is still there. I’m still gonna “feel it”, as I say, whenever I’m tired.
I don’t like to talk about it. I don’t like to feed it. I don’t want this to be my story. I may be dramatic but I’m also pragmatic. I’d like to move on already and expand the narrative. This storyline gets old. But sometimes I’m not allowed to forget it. Sometimes, despite my greatest efforts to erase this from my body’s history… I feel it.
I feel the fuzzy sense of balance, the not so stable ground, and the extra seconds it takes to calibrate, to get my bearings, whenever I move my body. And I feel the occasional automatic heart-drop, gut-drop in response to this glitchy brain thing.
Also…I feel the magical healing that happens when I move anyway, when I trust the multiple messages of “You’re Okay” and gently start running and visualize new neurons forming and remembering how to do this…the euphoric rhythm that grows as my body says, “Oh YES…this is where we heal!” It’s a most amazing high. And it can be scary as heaven to trust.
And in this state I entered the 2016 Santa Cruz Turkey Trot, with my people by my side.
Elizabeth Gilbert has a motto of replacing fear with curiosity. Fear is rather inevitable, after all. Nothing interesting happens without at least a small dose. Let it be there if it must. And then, get curious.
I held this thought as I started my race. I noticed fear and I decided to do the Gilbert experiment. I got real curious. I felt into my body and mind and I noticed. And even when what I noticed scared me a bit, I practiced saying, “That’s interesting. Let’s keep watching and see what happens”.
This, by the way, is precisely how I teach meditation except it somehow feels safer when I’m sitting down.
Along the course I shot my husband the periodic thumbs up, thumbs sideways, but thankfully no thumbs down. From his bike he held me, knowing I couldn’t say everything out loud without making it real, but knowing just the same that IT was going on. From his bike he called me a sexy angel goddess which, I must say, are the perfect words to help this girl fly.
Bernardo knows better than anyone the ins and outs of this BodyMind tangle – he’s seen me both crumble and soar. He knows firsthand my fragility and my strength, the sobering physical realities and this wily powerful mind. He kept his eye and his heart on me yesterday, thereby helping me do the same for myself.
And so became my mantra for the miles: On My Terms
No one else will make me hurt myself. I know what my body can and cannot do right now. I’m staying in the space I trust. I will push at the very edge of that space but not beyond. I will be smart. I will love my future 40-year-old body by taking care of this 35-year-old one. I am going to do everything I can to win this race. If I can’t, I won’t. If I can, it will be on my terms.
And I did win. Not because I ran a crazy fast time (I was over a minute off my best). But because on this day I showed up and I ran steady and I did what I could do.
More and more I’m learning the power of showing up.
I’ve been the one who can’t run. I’ve been the one at the back of the pack. So anytime I get to play in the front, I just breathe gratitude. Because especially when these signals from my body remind me that she is fragile…when I’ve heard the heavy whisper of tragedy in my ear, it is always Gratitude that crosses the line with me.
How curious, this life. Let’s keep watching and see what happens.