Thursday, July 28, 2011

Transcending Pain and Running through light.

Recently I started running.  I wanted to see if I could reduce my rare chronic pain disorder through fitness.  I've poo pooed on running 95% of my life.  I used to joke, "What's the point?  You just end up where you started."  I was ignorant.

I run in a local park I can reach by foot from my house that has a few trails.  Running with cars sucks.  Running with trees, birds, water, and sky is bliss.  Last night to beat the heat, I went for a run by moon light in the park.  Mind you the heat index at 12:30 am when I left was still in the upper 80's.  It was a 3/4 moon and I got more than I requested.

The run to the park is boring.  About a mile of necessary sidewalk to reach the wooded trail.  I turned down the trail and about 100 yards in I saw joy.  The light of the street lamps now gone, I was swallowed by the fireflies.  Their numbers were staggering.  I was immersed in a blanket of blinking lights that stole my breath.  I was swimming.  I was floating.  I was gliding like a spaceship through a sea of stars going supernova.  Each one bursting with light only long enough to pick out an individual and then it was gone.  Gone forever.  I was free falling.  I put my hands up like you do on a roller coaster when you are a child.  I had no voice to scream.  It didn't make sense anyway.  Bullfrogs cheered with their deep voices like it was the most awesome fourth of July fireworks presentation.  Crickets chirped with a deafening harmonic.  And so I leaped.

I leaped up and out.  I leaped deep and in.  I leaped to thoughtlessness.  My mind was quiet.  I left my pain with the body so I had escaped it too.  I thought of nothing.  I just witnessed from within and out.  For 400 yards I was neither here nor there.  I wasn't even.  I was gone.  Then I made the left I always do and climbed up and away from the scene of the crime.  It was over.

With the fireflies gone, the bullfrogs silent and the chirps missing I slipped back into myself.  But I had the pain of the run.  So I focused on that.  I focused in a positive way.  I have chronic pain so this was nothing in comparison and I focused on it only to keep me from replaying my days.  I wanted to be someplace with out worry and the focus on the pain was helping.  The dark was playing tricks on me now.  I was in the woods and my mind was filling in the blanks my eyes failed to sense.  Figures and shapes appearing in the black.  I climbed up and up.  Suddenly and unexpectedly, I had arrived at my destination.  I didn't know I was going here but there I was.

I stood on the hillside peering over an unobstructed view of the park.  The fireflies were now a hundred feet below me.  Dense.  Very dense.  I was here on the hill and there in the prairie with the fireflies.  I was also touching the moon and swimming in the lake.  I stopped running.  I didn't want to move on.  I wanted to build a house right there and move in.  It was lonely, like I needed to be.

I think of the fireflies on my windshield differently now.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Emboding the Night Owl and Being Comfortable Alone.

Penny Smallshire
I am a Night Owl.   I am a predator of those private moments that I can only find late at night.  I have always been like this.  Now that I have a busy life with lots of commitments, it is the only time left for me.   I can't explain it.  I just need this time.  Moments to myself that are distinctly missing during the day.  So I thieve them silently in the night.  Some times I pay for it later but its worth it.  Like a dog stealing a steak from the table knowing full well he will take a beating but he thinks the steak is worth the pain.

I love to be alone.  There is a calm and confidence that I nurture when I'm alone.  I believe there are things that can only be realized and accomplished alone.  Most people are not comfortable alone.  They seek to fill their time with the presence of others.  Sometimes to a flaw.  I am at peace alone in the vast emptiness.  I poses confidence that exceeds most.  Am I too confident?  Probably but you can't know where the line is until you cross it.  I attribute much to this time spent alone while most find being alone uncomfortable.

This comfort with myself and silence gives me an advantage.  At least in the USA, it is culturally unpleasant for two or more people clustered to be silent.  In General, it is not natural for humans to allow silence in the presence of others.  We often awkwardly fill the empty space.  Sometimes giving away ourselves.  As the predator, I am looking for the pregnant pause.  Finding it, I don't touch it.  I let it ripen.  Out waiting the other person, resisting the desire to fill the empty space, puts you in the position to react rather than act.  Reaction is the position of power and strength.
"If it doesn't serve you, don't speak" - Ben Franklin
The only way to become comfortable being alone by yourself or in the presence of others can only be acquired by regularly speeding time alone. Preferably, doing nothing of value.  Sit, walk, run, meditate, write a blog no one reads, do what ever it takes to allow the multitude of voices in your head to get their thoughts off of their chests.

Benjamin Hodgetts
The owl is my totem.  I am happy I know this.  Can't imagine not knowing my totem.  I would be at a lose.

The owl is a predatory, silent, fast, agile and his huge forward facing eyes allow him to see in stereo with little light.  Little know, their eyes are fixed in their head and it is the flexibility of their necks that allow them to survey their world.  These fixed eyes allow them to really focus on one thing in a way that humans can not.  They can see in low light.  They can see into the soul and the secrets within.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Seeing past the bug juice and projecting myself forward in the night

I'm driving.  It's late.  Real late.  I'm making my way across country.  Happy for the time we are making while the kids are asleep.  Driving any distance with kids is impossible, unless they are asleep.  I love to drive.  I love an open road.  Wife is asleep now.  No radio just the drone of the car on the road.  This stretch has a wonderful hum with it's newly applied grooves.  It's not lolling me to sleep as I am the night owl.  A predator for these moments that only happen at this hour and these rare events.  Absolutely meditation.  I am happily split into two separate beings.  I am conscious and aware that the second self is neither conscious nor aware.  It is this second unaware state that I am now culturing.  Like a proud parent on a park bench, I watch the second traipse in and out of concepts.  The conscious self is setting traps carefully to capture sparks of creativity flying off as the second plays.  These sparks are what I seek.  Things that can only be made by the ignorant playful self.

The speed is adding to the effect.  The straightness of the the road.  And the forced gaze into the oncoming lights.  Now I divide again.  I'm projected forward out of the car just beyond the windshield.  I am the car.  I'm delighted with my new third self who gets to be the car.  Even if it is a mini-van.  The cars existence is simple, drive.  And with my decades of driving experience I have a trained mind that does not need the frontal lobe to operate.  It just happens, thoughtlessly.  I am three now; the car, the ignorant and the conscious creator sliding back and forth between two children making sure each has their needs.  I don't find this difficult or exhausting but like I said a meditation.  It's relaxing and nurturing.

Technically we are doing 85miles/hr. but all three of us are standing still in the quiet of the night.  Each existing blissfully.  Two of which are only aware of themselves.  Me as the car, is totally focused on the repetitive task, rapped in a mantra of following the line.  The other runs free in fields and streams of thoughts past and present.  Creating collages of my mind.  It is these collages that are ugly, some beautiful and some are births of new concepts that the conscious self quietly records as a voyeur of true creativity.

And now it is gone!  I am dramatically and unpleasantly reunified.  I am conscious and my other selves have gone.  It's 2am in the morning.  I'm driving 85/hr and I am kept from my illusion that I am a blissful ignorant by the newest juice to be produced on the windshield, a lightening bug.  Tail still blinking, I turn on the wipers and the windshield becomes a huge smear of grease.   The road kill that I was able to focus beyond before now drives me deeper back into the car as I can no longer see efficiently.  I am once again a single being.

Slightly annoyed and depressed about the lose of my second and third self, I check my minds pockets.  And there mostly intact, are the new creative concepts left behind for me by me.  I spend the next few minutes rutting them in so as not to lose them.  Everyone is awake now.  The opportunity is gone.  I will miss myselves but am thankful for these new original thoughts.