Moving hard or hardly moving?

How do we experience each breath differently as we are pushing air out of our lungs and sucking it right back in while we exercise? Are we a flame consuming oxygen until we burn out?

In reviewing my running log on my phone, I realized that I’ve unintentionally kept up a “new year’s resolution” I never intended to create. During winter break, I started doing yoga with a friend. When the spring semester began again, I kept up the habit, then I started added cardio, running a bit, trying to be in the moment and enjoy the movement of being outdoors and active.

I wasn’t trying to prove a point of how fast I could run (because I can’t run very fast). But in the process of training my body to endure the pain of a forty-minute three-mile run, I found some semblance of peace. Here, in between breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Nobody was asking anything of me. I wasn’t being observed or judged. I was getting back to the basics. Teaching my lungs how to be grateful for air.

It’s now been almost two months since I’ve started running again. And only now have I started to notice the changes in my body. My back has a crease down the middle where muscles have adapted to support my upper body when feeling the impact of concrete. When I stand, my legs feel a certain sturdiness and my calves are springy.

Some might say that this is self-care, but really it’s for my personal sanity. It’s too much at times being at home. A run is a good excuse to escape. And even then, do I really escape my reality? I run around the same block in my neighborhood. I never go too far trying to stay near enough when my body is ready to give in for the day. I see the same church building, the same cherry blossom tree, the same SUV with the “Go Cal Bears” sticker every time I round the bend.

It’s funny to feel stuck especially when others perceive you as someone who’s emerging in their craft or art. But in seeing how far I’ve come, I can’t help but look back and turn to a pillar of salt (read the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah). I think back to my high school days, coming to my childhood home. How angry and dark the world felt back then. How unloved and unseen I felt.

Even now, I feel echoes of that in my work and in my relationships. How many times have I pulled away from someone fearing the hurt that my mind perceives as impending but isn’t really there? How many times have I thought to myself, “If I predict it, it won’t happen”? It makes sense when we consider how our bodies carry trauma the way we grow accustomed to trusting a chair will hold our weight. We lean into the familiar for comfort. This is why many of us find ourselves returning to habits we thought we broke. Falling in love with people who are emotionally unavailable. Staying in an abusive relationship.

I’ve come to realize that healing isn’t a linear process. It’s more of a labyrinth you wind towards a center, finding dead ends and sometimes returning to where you started because you are lost. I’m still figuring out that journey. This blog will be a part of that. An unburdening of sorts. I hope that some part of what I will share resonates and invites you into your own contemplation.

I’m excited to be in community with you all.

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