Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Running Shoes Chronicle: Balancing Act




It’s amazing how insightful I get when I’m on the treadmill.  I suppose it’s true that running (exercise) clears the mind (as I’ve demonstrated before when I wrote my Running Thoughts). 

Like most of you, my routine looks something like this:  I start out with my first two minutes walking, and then after that, I try to run for a continuous 3 to 5 minutes (when I can), and then slow down again for a walk.  I alternate this way until I am either too exhausted or until I have reached my 30-minute limit.  Anyway, all this time on the treadmill is only possible for me because of music.  I have my Ipod to provide me with whatever song sounds feisty enough to keep pushing me and drive boredom as far away as possible.  For the longest time, my favorite track was Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.  Recently, it’s been Dido’s Here With Me.  I also like alternating Dido with The Script and /or Coldplay.  And then towards the last 5 minutes of my workout, what I do is play something slow and soothing.  Recently, it’s been all about Ben Howard’sThe Promise.  

And now here’s the thing….

While I listen to Ben Howard, I normally end up closing my eyes, as I watch my breathing, and pay closer attention to my thoughts.  I suppose you can think of it as some form of ‘active’ meditation.  The problem is, I find it impossible to walk on the treadmill with eyes closed without losing my balance.  Without my capacity to see and accurately gauge my position relative to my surroundings, I am left with no other choice but to hold on lightly to the side bars / handles to keep me safely planted towards the middle of the moving belt. 

Life is quite the same way, isn’t it?  When I find myself utterly spent, or when I feel enveloped by darkness, I need to be able to hold on to something or someone.  These are people mere thoughts of whom give me some sort of guidance and strength.  To me, they are like anchors, able to plant me firmly on where I need to be.  Most especially, I see them as beacons, lighting my dark world, giving me hope that I will find my way back eventually.

I have only a handful of such souls in my life but that is enough to make me TRULY happy.  Their presence in my life, the thought of them, memories of them, their words and love are riches that truly define me.  These are souls whose wisdom I cannot be without and the mere thought of losing them creates what seems to be an irreparable hole through my soul, a bottomless void.  To know someone like that is both a blessing and a curse.  For such creatures are rare and truly irreplaceable, are they not?  I suppose this is why soul mates are special.  Not everyone is lucky enough to find them.

By any chance, has anyone like that come your way?  How do you convince yourself that you can remain centered and not falter if you ever lost a precious anchor like that?