After taking some time to rest my knee, I am running again!
Just in time too as the weather is warming and Spring is upon us. My playlist is ever growing, my fellow Nashville runners are out in full force and all is right in the universe.
The truth is I have only really become a “runner” recently and I feel it is no coincidence that my love for running has coincided with my discovery of recovery. Like so many things in my life, I have changed my thinking and my perspective is turned upside down. Instead of slowly dying from a toxic lust addiction I am living life as God intended! Instead of isolating from others and God I am seeking out healthy communities and relationships. Instead of running from my past, I am running toward recovery.
Instead of being a slave, I am free.
Now running represents the new me. It represents my state of mind and the state of my heart. Outside of writing, it is the main hobby acting as a symbol of my transformation. Acting out with lust fooled me into thinking I was alive. I was not alive. Each time I crossed that invisible line I was becoming more and more powerless. I was dying inside. Now that I am not acting out and not getting “drunk” on lust a whole new world has opened up. I actually enjoy life! I feel again. Running is a great way to experience life. It helps relieve stress and I genuinely enjoy it.
Breathe in, breathe out
Last week in my advisory we talked about strategies for relieving stress. After we established that smoking weed is NOT a good strategy for teenagers (for multiple reasons) we made a list of healthy alternatives.
One such alternative that we listed and discussed was breathing exercises. Some were a little familiar with this simple and calming technique but others stared blankly when asked to discuss the benefits. Big surprise that teenage boys from the inner-city don’t have the presence of mind to practice breathing exercises when stressed! So we tried it. It was pretty hilarious but what was interesting is after the awkwardness wore off, they seemed to enjoy it so much they wanted to keep doing it. A testament to mindfulness!
One of the reasons I love running is that its a perfect blend of being in the present and reflection/planning. When I focus on my breathing I am in the moment – step by step, mile by mile. The methodical nature of running also allows me to have moments of clarity about my past or motivations for the future. On several occasions running has conjured up deep emotions that I needed to feel. It also allows me to look inside and see what is going on right now in my heart. What am I feeling today?
I used to hate running alone – I felt that I couldn’t go for a run without a running partner – someone to talk to and share the experience. Now the thought of running with someone else almost seems weird. I enjoy the solitude. I enjoy it because I actually don’t feel alone at all. God is there, my thoughts and my emotions are present as well. That’s a crowd all by itself!
Running is a healthy hobby because it is not an escape from reality but an enhanced reality. It adds to my life in a way that is real and authentic. It directs my competitive nature in the right way. It’s one of the best ways to take care of my heart – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
It helps keep me sober.