Let me share with you a little trade secret widely acknowledged by the global community of runners. Ain’t nothin’ better at beating out a hard day’s work than a solid three miles on the pavement.
As a result of various stressful encounters last week involving my obligations at my theatre company, my job, my career, my life, I went to bed quite tied up in knots, to put it mildly. In order to fall asleep, I truly had to breathe in, count to ten, focus on all of the negative energy collecting inside of me and exiting with my breath. It worked well enough to get me unconscious, but guess what, I woke up the next day as knotted as ever. All that breathing and meditation stuff does not help me de-stress for some reason. It helps me in other ways. I actually love to meditate, find it enlightening and vital to my life. Yoga, well I don’t know. Maybe I just haven’t been to a good class. I know so many people swear by yoga but if I walk into a yoga class feeling tense, ironically, the yoga makes me feel MORE tense. I sit there breathing and clearing my mind, feeling that I’m only postponing the eruption of emotions brewing inside my gut. I can calm down my feelings through my breath but I can’t expunge them. I actually have to feel them and let them run their course before they’re gone. Like nausea. I don’t feel better until I puke. Yoga is a band-aid for me. I gotta get all the wee beasties that linger in my soul out to feel better and there are only two things that have ever managed to do that for me. One is a Paula Langton led voice poem (although that may have just temporarily expunged and in long-term stirred the pot) and the other is running. Running is the best for stress. My negative energy doesn’t travel on the highway of my breath, it travels through my heartbeat and my sweat.
I’m dealing with many a stressful thing in my life right now; most of which I did not welcome in and yet somehow I’m still saddled with (I guess that’s the way stress works). All I can think about is how quickly I can get home and pull on my winter running gear. I know it’s not the case for everyone, but for me running works better than yoga, better than meditation, better than drugs, better than alcohol, better than sex (I know, right?!). Try it people. Next time you are completely overwhelmed with life, go for a jog. You will run faster than you ever have, you will experience that runner’s high that so many believe is as elusive as the holy grail, and all of the stress, nastiness and negative energy will seep out through your pores in the sweat that, IMHOP, is designed to do just that. You will be so convinced that there is negativity seeping out through your sweat that you will swear that it looks radioactive green. That may just be the endorphins and dopamine talking, but you will be convinced. Sweat it out. Run it out. You might start crying as you run, you might start laughing, you might start screaming. That’s OK. That’s the point. If I did that in a yoga class, they would say “namaste” and kindly ask me to leave. Not so on the open road.
After this week, it might just take 10 miles to return me to my recognizable self. I’ll let you know…
I include the following picture as an inside allusion to a special lady who has also helped to alleviate the stress today. Thanks lady!