Running on Empty.

There is always a moment of pure clarity between pain and relief. You know this as sure as you are reading this. It’s the moment wherein you’re sure that nothing else in the world exists beyond your own mind, your own body. It’s precious and fleeting, and brings with it revelation. All of humanity has felt it as you have, or none of humanity has felt it as you have, and it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is the spark ignited from this place. You could come here by thoughts, by action, by nightmares awake or asleep.

But what do you do with that moment? How does one breed that spark into a series of fireworks? Can you multiply it as though they’re Chinese lanterns being set off into the night sky? Can you harness it as Tesla once did; as Edison made profit? I want to tuck it away somewhere inside the annals of my mind so that as I go about the banal quotidian tasks I’m forced to accomplish, I remember there is more.

Recently, I’ve had a lot on my plate. My scholarship is reaching a peak. I have multiple deadlines for journal articles needing to be finished. I have auditions and stresses with my kids. At the same time I learned that my great-aunt, the woman for whom my daughter is named, is afflicted with an inoperable cancer. For some reason, referring to it that way sounds less-threatening than simply calling it “dying.”

When I’m overwhelmed, I turn to the quiet solitude of reading and running, often at the same time. (audiobooks) Any runner will tell you about “the wall.” It’s a place most runners hate or avoid. When I’m too much in my own head, or feeling a bit more “fucking crazy” than usual, I seek the wall. I run hard and fast until I hit it. I go at it full bore. I throw myself into its imaginary brick-and-mortar barrier. I need the pain in my lungs and muscles. I need to heave with exertion. For me, this moment is ipecac to the miasma of negativity that surrounds my psyche. It brings me to that spark. It gives me a sort of perspicacity that I’m unable to obtain in any other manner.

Alas, it is so transient. The Japanese have a word for it we lack in English: “Aware:” “the bittersweetness of a brief and fading moment of transcendent beauty.”

I just love that. It so perfectly captures what that moment feels like, and why it’s so bothersome that it is so intangible.

Lately, while running, I’ve taken to thinking about creative things. I’ve been ruminating on problems less, (my typical mental destination while running) and focusing more on newness and insight. While some things are no less bearable, others are becoming more fruitful. My scholarship is DONE for the semester. My latest WIP (a YA novel) is sitting pretty, ready to be edited at over 170K words. My daughter has a polka-dot pedicure. (BTW, trying fancy pedis on a 3 year old is not something I’d suggest. It’s like trying to catch a tiger by the tail and forcing them into a sweater.) I finally think I found my flame for my lantern.

Now for the food. It’s getting hotter, and I’m obviously running a crap ton. (or tonne, for my people across the pond.)

Paleo Mochanut Pops (Vegan) AKA paleo popsicles

Paleo Mochanut Pops

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4 thoughts on “Running on Empty.

  1. 1. I am so sorry about your great-aunts cancer. Hugs. 2. I am super excited to read your book. Seriously. Cannot wait. 3. You write amazingly well, and I always enjoy reading your blog posts, but especially when you bring the vocabulary out to play. Makes me tingly. 4. Those popsicles look amazing. 4b. You are amazing.
  2. Ah yes the wall. I know it well my friend. It's the way I deal with everything, although I'm still trying this meditating/yoga business, and it works too, just differently. I'm sorry to hear about your Aunt. That sucks. Life is a bit like pulling a tiger by its tail and trying to put a sweater on her; good thing you've got practice. :)

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