In the madness of my constant overthinking, I discovered something precious. There is nothing more divine than “easy silence.” In the past, I would take long walks which later turned into long runs. The desire was initially sparked as I wanted to get in better shape. The first few weeks were gruesome. I would have to give myself a daily pep talk to encourage my feet to move, one foot in front of the other. As a short-legged, smoker, with shin splints, I had array of excuses. In my second month of forced motivation, something changed. Endorphins kicked in and I began to look forward, actually crave, my afternoons of “exercise.” One mile turned into three, then four, then five and I was addicted. I refused to walk with friends. I refused to join a gym. This was my time of the day, entirely mine. Eventually, I learned of why this was such a refuge for me. It was the only portion of the day where my brain would become free of thought. No obsession. No analyzing. No worry. No stress. In this absence of thought, I found peace.
As aforementioned in a previous blog, the tornado in April of ’08 destroyed my home. What I failed to note was the tornado also robbed me of neighborhood walking and running. Before, I lived in a neighborhood where I felt safe. Often times, I would run when day light was no longer and even amid the darkness, I never felt afraid. Also, it was beautiful. The trees canopied the streets and each road presented new hills, new homes, new scenery. I took this for granted, as we often do. I can’t run on a treadmill. I want to feel the pavement. I want to really sense the distance. My life is full of running in place, so I refuse to do so in the literal sense. I now live in an apartment, and though I like my new space, I miss my old street. As the old adage states, “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” Since the running has halted, the desire has as well. I no longer remember the feeling as well as I should. I attempted to run (treadmill style) and grew obsessed with the calories I burned, my average “pace,” the time I’d spent running (I’m lying, I was walking) on the damn thing and the freaking time remaining before my time was “up.” I tried a few more times, hopeful of the change awaiting me, but only grew more bitter and decided to eat some cheese dip instead. Or was it ice cream? Or was it cheese dip and
ice cream? Point is, treadmills are the devil!
Last week, while with Ben, an old friend with whom I have recently reconnected with, he said, “What are you thinking about? It’s evident you’re deep in thought.” He’s not the first to convey my thoughts as written all over my face. I need to work on this problem. Not simply concealing the thought from my expressions, but the actual thinking itself. Several people have encouraged me to relax as though I wouldn't if I could!!? I love my blood pressure to cause such concern, my doctor has to take it multiple times. That's awesome. Ben encourages me to remove myself from stressful situations. This enables actual relaxation. I said it a million times, but it is worthy of repeating, I am attracted to the calm in others. Slowly, I am discovering my own calm. Slowly.
I don't know how to stop the constant chaos. I do know, I am learning to relish the moments of idle time, like watching TV with my neighbor, conversation unrequired. My next move and comments (and his) refusing to be dissected because the simple, quiet moment wins the battle. Also, I've invested stock in the word "no." My New Year's Resolution was to incorporate this word in my vocabulary more often. I am avoiding ridiculous obligation and I refuse to apologize for it. Long overdue and bound to inspire some rest.
Reading tends to toss me in another world. Sure, the absence of thought is not in play, however, the absence of my own thoughts, certainly take a miniature vacation. The Dixie Chicks sing a song called “Easy Silence,” which to me, is the perfect love song. It definitely strikes a nerve.
Earlier this week, I purchased a couple of new CD’s. Many months ago, my sister Grace, encouraged me to listen to a song called “Chasing Pavements.” I was turned off by the name of the song and her suggestion went in one ear, except it didn’t. I later heard the song on some late night show and it lullabied me awake. Sleep stole me again before I could connect the dots. Last Friday, the song played on my friend Chris’ satellite radio. I made a mad dash to find out the voice behind the song. I have played this song on repeat the last two days. It’s a haunting song for me as the lyrics could have crawled out of my head. “Should I give up or just keep chasing pavements, even if they lead nowhere…” Odd is it intertwines two things I connect to thought. Chasing pavement, running in circles. Running, the very thing I feel frees me from my own manifestations. Great song, nonetheless. I recommend you give it a listen. My sister Grace does too.
We find our peace in unusual places. For some, it rests temporarily at the bottom of a bottle. For me, it resides at the top of a conquered challenge. Being able to recognize it and rest in the recognition is where my true peace is found.