running away from

I have been traveling quite a bit lately. I mean not as much as I used to. But also a lot more than I was recently. The juxtaposition is fascinating. Fascinating because my days feel like they have a decent amount of volatility in them. Less so externally. I mean some externally — booking random flights or taking random hikes. But moreso internally. In my head.

My emotions. Funny word isn’t it. The connotation behind it at least. What do you think of when you think of emotions? What would 6 year old you think is perhaps the better question? Would they have thought that you would be thinking about the same thing over and over for an extended period of time? Probably not. At least not me. I felt like when I was 6, I kinda just let things flow through me. In and out. Like a pipe of sorts. Hoping to keep it clean.

Anyways, back to where I am. Present. Or at least attempting to be so (by not thinking about it?).

While running, I have met some strangers. I have also gone on lots of runs. Runs in new places is a great way to see a place. But also a weird sensation because you do not really know where you are going. And I pretty much never run in a loop, I pretty much always go out and back when I am in a new place. I like running in loops better I just do not know the terrain particularly well so tend to stay on a line.

Anyways, in meeting new people, and also in running, I have been thinking about a fundamentally unifying question — am I running towards life or away from it?

Is there this dark thing chasing me that I am trying to get away from? Or is there a light I see that I want to go towards?

Perhaps the simple Watts answer would and should be neither. You should just be able to exist in the present. At peace. Not anxious or insecure about the past or future.

When I meet strangers in random places, I sometimes wonder how they got there. Sure, some are stuck there. They have been here for a long time and will probably be here for a long time.

But what of the tourists. Or the once tourists now pseudo locals. The ones hiding out.

What are they hiding from? Or what have they found? Is this healthy? Have they found the well of youth? Or are they running from a haunted past?

Sometimes my past haunts me. It didn’t used to. It’d flow in like a pipe with water running through it.

But now I get those thoughts. Those intrusive thoughts. About some small detail from the past.

And it totally changes my state of mind. Restricts my freedom. Makes me sad. So long as I resist.

And then I ask myself — well how can I just be a pipe. How can I let these things flow through me? How can I just exist?

Sometimes when I see myself doing things, I ask what the driver behind them is…why?

Why run?

Why travel?

Why work?

There are generally a few layers beneath those answers. It’s not the surface level answer. Or excuse. It’s generally a simple one hiding underneath. It’s a: “I am running from X” where x is something simple like: “being embarrassed for X.”

Insecurity is a powerful weapon. You can use it to accomplish what some would consider to be large feats. Things that can potentially save lives.

But you also have to look at your own health. Your own insecurity. Sure you go ahead and accomplish things that by today’s standards seem exciting.

But so what? And then what? Why is that exciting? Why does that matter to you?

Are you ready to run up the next mountain? Or are you going to run away from the darkness that haunts you?

You’re a dog…right? I mean perhaps a little different…but not so different.

Your conditioning impacts you a lot more than you would think. Meaning how you’ve been trained to react to the world around you – that plays a big role in your state and how you feel and what not.

Running is great as I have written about before because it sufficiently compels your mind to really focus on your body (otherwise well you do not run very well). In doing that it also takes the guard away from your hyperactive brain so that you can actually process your thoughts and eventually have them flow through you.

For them to flow through you, though, you need to actually have them inside of you. To experience them. To embrace them. We are happy to do this with happy thoughts generally but the sad ones. Those are scary. To really internalize them. To put our shields down. Us strong men would never! But the strongest of us do. We hug the emotions. We bring them close. Knowing that they will not be forever but also knowing that it would be okay if they were. Because at the end of the day they are simply emotions. Words we use to describe feelings we have. They cannot hurt us. I mean they can. Because we allow them to. But they are just thoughts. Objects we could in theory hold in our hands.

We often run away from these things. We build mini forts around ourselves protecting our hearts. We do not want to be broken. Like we were as crying babies.

But what if we started running towards them?

What if the next time you saw one of those scary emotions – you said – this time, I am going to run towards them?

What would happen then? How would your actions change?


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