[Body Integration] This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
I’ve talked a lot about my experiences with my 25k in May. Perhaps too much? If that’s the case, sorry if you’re sick of hearing about it. But, you’ll probably hear more. It was a huge thing for me.
Anyways, I think in the last half of that race would be that moment. It’s funny, I think, that the moment I felt most integrated with my body is one where I was hurting, where I was struggling. I could feel my muscles ache and burn more intensely than I have ever felt them. I felt like I was losing the mental challenge of it all because running really is just as much about what’s in your mind. Sure, the training is important. You can’t go run a marathon without having run your first mile. When you’re in the thick of it, you have to believe, to know you can do it.
Everything hurt. I cried tears of pain and frustration. I could feel the cold, the wind, and the rain, but I kept getting too hot all at the same time. It was in those moments that I was more aware of my physicality than ever before. It took everything I had to push through to the end. It was no longer a battle of mind over matter. I needed it both. In those last miles, when my mind was telling me I couldn’t, my legs kept moving. At those times where I had to walk or even in those brief moments where I came to a complete stop, it was a mind game. It was trusting in what I knew I could do, what I had worked so hard for, what I wanted so much.
It was in that time of hurting and challenge that I became alive in the hardest of ways. I wanted to quit so badly, but I had come so far and I knew I had it in me to cross the finish line.
And, cross the finish line, I did. In those final moments, sprinting towards the end with the dwindling crowds cheering and my body and mind giving it all I had left, I felt alive. I felt proud of what I had done. I faced what felt like a mountain and made it to the other side.
I felt alive.
[Appreciate] What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
I don’t know that it’s so much that I’ve come to appreciate them, but being more aware of how grateful I am for my family and friends. My paternal grandfather passed away last December and it was the first time I’ve lost an immediate relative. Granted, he and I weren’t entirely close, but it still hit home. My time with my loved ones is a cherished thing and you never know when that might end. I think when it comes to people, for me the easiest way to express my gratitude is through the little things, but more importantly, spending time with them. Recognizing that time is limited, it is the most important thing.
[Wisdom] What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
I think the wisest decision I made was to not jump right back into school after finishing my master’s degree. I was a student for over twenty years and it is a place where I am in my element. I love the world of academia and while I was thrilled to graduate, I missed that world soon after. I am considering my options to go back for another degree, but I allowed myself a year away from the classroom. It has given me the time to do things I wouldn’t otherwise have done, particularly travel. I have been able to enjoy not having to worry about homework and reading journal articles and writing thirty page papers. I read the books I wanted to read, went to bed early, and zoned out in front of the tv/computer without feeling guilty. I look forward to the day where I do go back for another degree, but for this season of my life, not being a student is a welcomed break.