This past fall I started running. Which even as I type this truth it feels like a bit of an impossibility. I've never been, or ever wanted to be a runner, but it undoubtedly became something I felt driven to do. Something in me, one day, just needed to go fast.
For a good part of the last year I compassionately let my body have every comfort it needed to get through all the hard things. Extra amounts of sleep, carbs, deep quiet and rest were medicine. Until I could feel it in my bones, as the leaves began to change, I no longer needed to be still. It started off as a daily walk outside on the beautiful rail trail in my town. Eventually it picked up pace to where I was ticking off miles at a time, closing some invisible distance inside me. Everything in me just needed to move, sweat, and burn. It had zero to do with losing weight. It had everything to do with letting go of things I no longer needed. Part of it, I know now, is shedding decades of an unhealthy, unloving relationship with my body, that is still always a work in progress.
I often found myself crying when I ran, just allowing it to happen when it came up. Something about the flow of sweat and tears as my body moved, processing the weight of heavy emotions, some old and some new, feeling strong and capable, has been absolute alchemy. And I have finally come to trust my body knows what it needs. This, I realize, is the real gift.
We know now that trauma is stored in the body. It is physiology and neuroscience, and there are countless studies that speak to how healing literally happens in our bones. I feel this truth every time I step onto the treadmill or yoga mat. I understand now from my own healing experiences, how a movement practice is as essential and fortifying as my creative practice, and how it took me the better part of this past year to come through the layers of trauma and home to both my body and spirit. It's never a straight line. It isn't about getting from point A to point B or some other notion of perfect execution, or reaching some external goal. The practice is simply, first, to listen, and then to say, Yes, to the beautiful beat of your own heart, again and again and again... yes, to what makes you feel connected to yourself, joyful in the moment and alive, even when it's something totally unexpected, (like running). Maybe, especially then.
As soon as my body said, run, I knew I had found my way home.
So run, paint, write, dance, sing, build, scribble, stretch, leap, stitch, create, move, to the beat of YOUR unique heart!
What's waiting for you on the other side will be worth it.