Day One of One Hundred
Today I recognized the miracle of being alive. The miracle of being in a healthy body.
It was a remarkable sensation.
But let me back up first.
Yesterday was a low day for me. A very, very low day. My tendency towards melancholia crept in, and I was listless, devoid of energy or inspiration. It hurt. Physically. It hurt. I spent much of the day crying and trying to make art of out of the sadness which I could not name. But, in the end, had little to show for it.
Needing to get out of my house, needing to get out of my head, and into my body, I took myself on a hike. It was a late enough in the day where the sun was mild, and the shade abundant.
I hopped across the stream multiple times, and for the first time in 8 years, I fell. I slipped, slid, caught air, and landed firmly on my butt. Knocked the wind right out of me! (I’m okay, just some minor scrapes). But I realized my punishing thoughts were consuming me and distracting me. After the fall, with each step, I practiced being completely present and wouldn’t ya know it? Gained a certain clarity.
In that clarity, a dare came to me. A dare to commit to a specific set of goals for the next 100 days. It seems like a lot to commit to; but I’ve already been doing it more often than not, so it’s really a fine tuning of the practices I’ve come to love. This 100 day personal challenges includes the gym, meditation, drawing practice, journaling, social media, practicing the piano, and of course, eating well.
When I got home, I plotted my challenge, arranged my goals and counted from July 6 (day one) to 100 days in the future. I was shocked at the date. October 13, 2017, is 100 days from today, July 6. October 13 would have been my 13th wedding anniversary.
Now that I realize the personal significance of the date, this challenge means more than ever. I’ve come to think of it as: who do I want to be on that day? Do I still want to be suffering? No. I don’t. The tricky part is that I do have a problem with depression, and I have my whole life. So it’s not just lifestyle adjustments and positive thinking – there is medication, too. I take Sam-e every day, because I must. Finally I realize that taking Sam-e serves essentially the same function (metaphorically speaking) as wearing glasses to correct a vision impairment. No shame in that anymore. (small, but important victory)
So, this morning, I got up promptly. (yay! No snooze button for me today!) Went to the gym and ran my best time yet; 3 miles in under 30 minutes. Not bad for someone who smoked for 20 years, only quitting 4 months ago (and joining the gym then, too!)
While I was running, I started to really tune in to my body. It was amazing. I felt the muscles, I imagined what they looked like. I imagined my lungs pumping air through my body, my brain all lit up with the oxygen…
I started to realize that all my years of berating my body for not be thin “enough”, for those times I was made that I wasn’t pretty “enough”, or good “enough” were all bullshit. Total, complete bullshit.
For the first time in my life, I came to recognize the incredible gift of just being alive and in a body. A body that can run and jump. A body that can learn to play the piano, that can draw and paint. A mind that can dream, and the body that can make that dream tangible. My body is utterly imperfect, I have no delusions about that. But it is MY imperfect body. And it has been my most faithful companion for 4 decades. Today I recognize the gift of being alive, of being Embodied. And the gratitude, the real, true, deep gratitude, brings me to my knees. I am very happy to be in a body, right here, right now. And my body, if it could talk would say, “Thank you. It’s nice to be appreciated.”