Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Friday, October 9, 2009

When the wheels come off...

This blogpost is not exactly about running, but it is so much about running without actually running.

"You must unlearn what you have learned"
- Yoda

"Hell is other people"- Jean-Paul Sartre

When the wheels come off, follow your own compass.

And start driving a tank.

That's about the only way to describe my past week. It's been overloaded, and by Wednesday my wheels were coming off in a big way.

I have always followed my own inner compass, my own light, the thing that guides me. Some people call it God, whatever it is, I follow it. I try to keep my head screwed on straight and I try not to let other people's "stuff" influence me.

Somehow lately I've lost my way, I've been distracted by a bunch of things, I feel vulnerable, and I seem to have gotten way off course. I need to find my compass again!

No human is perfect and no one knows the answers. Anyone who thinks they know the answers is way more screwed up than any of us admittedly screwed up people.

I adore my friend Chris. He is an ultrarunner, a nurse, an absolutely amazing fantastic, compassionate, understanding, nonjudgmental, generous human being, and he has the guts to admit his own weaknesses while following his own compass. He got me through this week and helped me find the compass I dropped in the deep wet grass and leaves and new snow we've been having the past two days.

Actually, if I had been running all this time and was still putting energy into doing ultras, I would probably be much more centered and able to clearly focus on the direction my inner compass is pointing.

I can't really go into the specifics, and it has nothing to do with running. Someone I care for is hurting and I can't do anything about it, and I got lost in it, and I need to back off and do my own thing.

After losing your way, losing the feel for boundaries, getting wrapped up in things beyond a point where it's healthy, you need your most trusted friends to bounce things off of, and get their feedback, to help you get back on track. Everyone else can weigh in but pretty soon you get lost in the blah, blah, blah and everyone's opinions and prejudices.

And people can be downright harsh and judgmental especially when they feel the least bit threatened by something they don't understand at all. It's really amazing how people you would expect to have empathy can have so very little. I wanted to drown out their noise, stick my fingers in my ears like the crazies on the political talk shows do and go "lalalalalalalalalalala".

Instead I spoke with three people I trust to be nonjudgmental since yesterday, including Chris, and that was so helpful. And that's all. I'm on my way back with my compass, but I'm driving a tank. I'll need it for protection when I go back and have to be in the middle of all the blah, blah, blah...

In the midst of all this, I haven't run. I worked four out of five days, busy, stressful days, and between that and the emotional burden of all this "stuff", I have been unable to sleep well and haven't been able to face my running shoes.

So yesterday, when I needed a good think and a good cry and some time alone, I went over to the environmental learning center and walked on the trails, in my clogs, risking my ankles, but I needed it. No one else was around.

There were big, low, gray puffy clouds that were off and on dumping sleet down on me, and the reds and golds of the trees in the dry meadows of tall grass were all so brilliant against the sky, I couldn't breathe, taking it all in, the intensity of the colors and how I felt, and the cold breeze with the wet snow coming down, it was like a psychedelic trip with all my senses and feelings!

And somehow as I walked that little place in the back of my brain started to click and things started to unravel and become clear and my compass appeared again. And some of the kinks began to straighten out.

And without even trying, the knots continued to unravel today. Still no energy to run, but I'm doing better. Maybe I will sleep tonight. Maybe I will run tomorrow.

I will run tomorrow.


Christopher said...


Awesome!! The weather you describe reminds me of vintage Tom Waits "Emotional Weather Report" the extended version. The journey out side is the journey inside without boundries.
Peace and Love,
PS I'm flying to CA for a job interview tomorrow.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Chris, thank you and I wish you the best in that interview, and that you land something that works well for you and your family.

Time to get outside again, in 4 inches of fresh snow this morning!

Patricia Singleton said...

I don't envy you the cold and the snow. Here in Arkansas, we have cool nights which means our leaves are beginning to change colors, if the rains would slow down.

It sounds like running does for you what quiet time alone does for me. I had a wonderful, quiet weekend last week with my husband away working in Louisiana. I went to the grocery store on Saturday and then spent the rest of the time at home with no phones ringing or visitors. This week I have felt recharged to face whatever life brings. I love that feeling.

Thanks for the visit to my blog. It is always nice to know that my words have touched someone else.