When I aimed for a word called healthy, I didn’t ever think that six months later I’d be alcohol and tobacco free.
I’m running to release the excess energy, which I identified as anxiety in accordance with Anodea Judith’s chakra workshop. I’ve been using her book Wheels of Life since it was gifted to me as a teenager by me grandma.
A long while ago, I posted about confusing the word for the symptom with the feelings of the symptom—completely different experiences. In Buddhism, this is called mistaking the moon for the finger pointing at it.
When I run, my chest is tight for the first two weeks. Every hill is a battle to put down thoughts like Is this what a heart attack feels like? I’m totally one of those high-strung people who would die of a heart attack at thirty. Oh lord.
Running is a practice in testing and training my instincts. My thoughts run negative and catastrophic against tests of will. No surprise there I guess if my time in the kitchen is anything to say about it. I was not a very nice cook or teacher for that matter. I am hard on people because I’m hard on myself and it’s a filter I forget to turn off sometimes.
Running teaches me to turn those filters on and off. If I let the negative thoughts get too loud, I’m not going to make it up the hill. If I shift my focus, sometimes the top of the hill comes and goes. Sometimes I’m thinking of what to switch my focus to still when the hill is achieved.
Doing hard things exercises the mind and trains us to overcome ourselves. I’m my own worst enemy, by far, and I identify different pieces of my personality as demons. Shame. Guilt. Pride. The victim. When they arise I picture a hero self slaying them with a sword. I’m actively battling my own demons on a daily basis.
They become tame and rise up again once in a while. A random craving for a cigarette, an old instinct to swing by the liquor store. Then I remember that’s over and heave a sigh of relief. The further those days get, the happier I am they are memories and this life is someone else’s now. That girl was nuts.
I started writing this post this morning a few hours before my grandpa died of a heart attack.
My grandpa was the best. I knew five grandpas growing up, and Grandpa Berti was my favorite. He was a a cooky old man and intelligent, rebellious, tech savvy, and a few marbles shy of a full bag.
He went to seminary school as a young man and exorcised demons.
There are exorcists on both sides of my family, so I guess it’s not that weird I’ve dabbled in this too. It’s too soon to talk about him already like he’s gone.
I ran harder today than I have in a while. I ran on my lunch break. I got the news. I called family, left early, ran more. Run. Run until it hurts.
When it hurts like this, all I want to do is drink. I sit outside my apartment building waiting for the urge to pass. Waiting. My legs don’t work anymore.
He didn’t drink a lot. At least he is pain free now. At least he had his faith, his family, a true love like the kind you only see in movies. He believed and knew he’d be happy on the other side.
It’s my grandma and my cousins who lived with him about whom I must concern myself. He is at peace and they survive him to feel the pain he is free from.
The pain becomes energy, a flow, a force hurtling me along.
Entropy is an interesting concept right now. Does the total pain in the universe always equal the same amount? Is it matter? When a person passes on, do we inherit some of the suffering they left behind when they stepped off this world to be free of it?
I hope so.
We are here to lift one another up.
To my grandpa, who always exorcised the demons by making us laugh.