Thoughts about running! A Timely Story

I having been running ever since I was present. My essence is running itself. I don’t wait for anyone. I run away from anything and everything. Please don’t try to stop me, because I won’t.

What am I running towards? I long for unity. I long to enter the limitless and eternal realm, where I won’t matter anymore. No one would have to be concerned about me. I guess that’s partly the reason, in fact the main reason why I keep running. Everyone I came across, so many, all the faces I have met, have been worried sick about me. It will be the same or probably get worse as I move along and see more faces. They worry themselves to old age, grey hair and yet, I am still running away from it all.

I wish I could stop to console those who worry. It’s not in my nature to look back. I am always looking ahead. I have quite the positive outlook if you were to think of me as someone always looking for the sun to rise. Will I stop when this world comes to end? I am not sure! I may slow down to catch a breath. For now, all I know is that I have to keep running.

Like that kid who’s always been running away from everything his whole life. Looking for an escape, longing for it. I have been watching him his entire existence. In the rear view mirror of course! I can’t look back. I wanted to stop and console him but there’s no helping it. I have seen him grow up. I don’t know what lies ahead for him. If I could give him some advice, I wonder what would I tell him? What thoughts? What words will soothe him? I don’t know! Is it really advice that he is looking for? Is it else that he is seeking? Does he know that, what he seeks, is also looking to find him? An old poet said this. Rumi was it? So many have been lost in me that I forget most. Few I remember well. It’s because their names are spoken of again and again. It’s like they are trying to yell at me, “Hey look, even though you have been running away from me for my whole existence, I am still able to keep up the pace with you.” It’s those that beat me to my destiny even before I could get there myself. And did I tell you that, I have been running ever since I was present? How can they transcend me? Am I not their equal? What am I to them? Am I just a perception to them? Yes, that’s it. I am a mere perception because those are also the ones, who are not concerned about me. They grow old too, but they don’t worry about me. So many try race against me, but I beat them all. I am the fastest runner, the best at running. At least this is what I think. There maybe someone else faster than me. In fact, there could be many. No wonder, why I change too. Am I running away or chasing after my destiny? It’s been so long that even sometimes, I forget. I need reminders too. In different places, I am perceived differently. Just like that kid who has been running away his whole life. Sometimes he reminds me of myself. He maybe just one, but almost everyone I have looked back at in the mirror, try to keep up with appearances. There is something else about him. It’s because he tries so hard to not care, and not care about what others think, but even then, people are just presumptuous. That’s how it is! He doesn’t care whether his name’s up in the lights or known to no one. Or does he? Maybe now, it’s I, who is assuming it. I wish I could stop to ask him but I can only look back at him. He looks forward to me because he is trying to find an escape. What is he trying to escape from? I wish I could tell you because I have seen it all, in the rear view mirror of course! Some things are better left unsaid. I do not reveal secrets, it’s up to him. He found people that he was able to confide in. He found people that he put his trust in. Were it them he was looking for? Did he get his escape afterwards? He is still looking for an escape. Sometimes it overwhelms him. He wakes up in the middle of the night with thoughts zooming in and out and he pours them all out writing. Trust? Isn’t that what he always struggled with? Hmm. Now I know exactly what to tell him. I would tell him to trust me. Because I only look forwards, if he were to trust me, he will find his escape. But that seems wrong. His beliefs are different. We share the same beliefs but, perhaps I am not saying it in the right way. What he must trust is the divine will that is leading him forwards and nurturing him. Like it is leading me forwards. You see, I like to advise people in the way it is easy to understand. However, because we share the same beliefs, it’s easy to find words for him.

What about someone else? Someone who doesn’t share my beliefs? Someone who perhaps, has been consumed by nihilism? Or someone who has been consumed by consumption itself? Or someone who chases after fantasies, or someone looking to find a purpose in others?

What would I tell them? What is their purpose? Do I even know it? Perhaps they are also the ones not worried or concerned about me. They live life to the fullest or at least they try and aim to. To them this is it. This is all of their existence. The morals and the idea of wrong and right, significantly changes, living with those beliefs. But I guess, they find their purpose in perpetuity, thinking this world would go on forever. That’s to align their good morals. They think that I won’t stop running. I might not but perhaps, I will be perceived differently. What about those who don’t have a moral compass? I don’t know, I guess this is too much to listen to. I could try capture all thoughts as I run but, you see, running feels great when you lose yourself in it. I run and take in the views serenely. Running is meditation to me. I have a rhythm. I change in different places but that’s also part of my rhythm. That’s another thing perhaps, I would remind that kid about. I know he writes and focuses on rhythm a lot. Meditating and practising martial arts and all. He perhaps, hasn’t found his escape because he hasn’t found his rhythm.

I am glad that he is thinking about me and I in return, am able to offer him some of my thoughts. He writes it all down at the break of dawn. Waking up to find serenity but his thoughts were everywhere. So, he picked up his phone and started thinking and typing. I like how this conversation took place quietly. I didn’t have to utter a word because I am busy running. He is there trying to grab onto my thoughts I leave behind. I wish him a Good Morning! And remind him once more, “Remember, trust and rhythm. Trusting the rhythm of the entire existence.”

Resilience

I have not written a blog for a while. Mostly because a lot has been going on in my personal life.

Today as I write this, I want to re-imagine resilience.

Life is such that there will be sharp corners which are hard to maneuver. It’s like I have been driving a race car but I never stopped at the pit stop to service it. Therefore the drag, the friction and the accumulated wear that has piled onto the car is making it difficult to keep traction on the road. Add to that, force experienced sitting on the driving seat.

What do I take away from this? It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to stop at a service station. Just like a race car, our body experiences accumulated stress that can really take a toll when it triggers. What do you do to address this accumulated stress?

When things are really difficult, this is also a good practice that works well for me. What do you not do when things are really difficult? What can you do to slow down to be grateful for the journey so far. This is easier said than done, when it is difficult to let go of the past. Or there are experiences and mistakes from the past, that continue to impact your present.

Believe it or not, writing is a medium for me to stay in the present. It’s hard to turn off the past, when things are difficult. So, I give myself reasons why I should continue to forge on. I give myself reasons why I shouldn’t give up? It’s not that I make up these reasons, these reasons are simply a list of my faults and virtues in the present moment. I list all my virtues and faults that I have or that I think I have. It’s not an easy task to see the goodness within yourself when things are difficult. So, I start with faults and then list out the virtues. The way my mind works, helps me to complete an exercise or task once I start on it. So, I start with the difficult things. This is true in many other aspects too where I always try learn the more difficult stuff first and then fall back onto basics once I realise that I am not at the level required to be learning the advanced stuff. It’s a bad habit of mine I guess. A result of high expectations and ambitions, that result in disappointment and failure and a self-created emotional roller coaster.

Back to the topic of resilience, when things are so difficult, what other things help me? From my experiences, exercise of any sort is one of the best things that can help stay in the present, along with meditation and healthy eating.

What if you can’t afford to eat healthy? This will impact your exercise routine too. I am thinking of this because despite there being so much abundance of resources, many people experience scarcity on a daily basis.

A scarcity mindset only adds to the accumulated stress and the view one takes of different life experiences whether in the present, past or unfolding future events. What can you do to combat this mindset? For different people there will be different ways. I say this, because we all have our belief systems wired into us. You can leverage these belief systems to your advantage if you understand your own system. Or rewire those belief systems, if you think your current ones are rooted in scarcity and a fixed mindset that doesn’t accept changes easily.

With this continuing pandemic, and the many around the world that are suffering under oppression. I hope that you read this and think it, mull it over if you ever come to a point of no return. When you feel so hopeless and much despair that the only thing you think of is, how not to exist!

According to what I believe and many monotheistic religions and other religions will likely share a similar view. Death is inevitable. If there is certainty of one thing, it is death. I also believe that death is predestined. This is a sensitive topic as I can think of a counter argument for it too. But let me write it out, why kill yourself? If you believe that you would die regardless, at your appointed time and place? One could argue that it was predestined perhaps for one to kill themselves. But if you believe that, you forfeit the choice that you have been granted. Your forfeit your freewill. You choose to give up and not make a harder choice which is to live on. True resilience in this situation will be to have patience, perseverance to continue through the midst of storm, thunder and the burdens of life.

True meaning of life is found in responsibilities, purpose, striving to achieve one’s goals.

So, in summary, resilience means to continue forward even when you are experiencing a lot of drag, other forces hindering you. When you experience this, it should only increase your faith, that you were born for a purpose and reason. You were born to achieve great things. Let the journey unfold because life is abundant. It may not seem so in the moment but, I promise you, good days will come, if you continue stepping forward. Push past your pain. Baby steps will do, you can’t fly with broken wings. Not yet!

ps. Writing helps me live in the present. It’s one of the mediums. Gosh! I missed writing. Although, since introducing this new habit a few years back, I have been writing in various other places. This blog has its own special place.

What does resilience mean to you? Share your thoughts.

Blind Spots

One of my biggest blind spots that has continually sabotaged me has been trying to stay and act strong. When in real time, I am mentally exhausted, my emotions are not in my control.

I don’t know whether to call this a personality or character fault. It happens under high pressured scenarios where FFF response hijacks me. Looking back I can see situations where my biggest mistakes were made in freeze or fight back mode. I am trying to think of a situation where flight caused me to make mistakes. If anything, taking a step back or fleeing/ running away, seems a better option when hijacked by the emotional brain i.e., amygdala. There is no shame in surviving, live to fight another day.

As a martial arts practitioner…. what will I choose when hijacked by my emotional brain? Fight, flight or freeze? Definitely not freeze… it’s either fight or flight and the judgement call somewhat comes from experience and practise. Exposure to fighting experiences. Once more there is no shame in surviving to live to fight another day, from a position of strength. A martial arts practitioner is a smart fighter, who knows when and when not to engage in battles. He understands that there maybe losing battles, but the war is won by strategy and plan. Damn… I am starting to sound like Sun Tzu. 😅

I am writing this because I am trying to assess why in different situations, my nature is to fight back but that’s because in real time, I cannot tell that my emotional brain has hijacked me. This happens under high pressured scenarios.

Going forwards what procedures or process can I put in place to avoid this pitfall? Flight is a good option that gives me a chance to step back, cut the loss short. It gives me a chance to step away, however, it will only be effective if I can be aware in real time. The emotional brain can be very tricky and often it is very hard to know what is happening until the damage is done.I have failed to do this over and over again. I have made a lot of mistakes in life, in high pressured scenarios, in high performance activities. I guess the only way to overcome these faults of mine is by sticking to a process. It’s easier said than done in real time. But if I am able to take corrective action especially to something I have been blind for so long. I can avoid pitfalls and sabotaging behaviour. I can minimise it, I can keep it under check.

I also know that it will not happen overnight and that it will take further practise. In pursuit of any craft, deliberate practise with focused attention is what builds the necessary skills. That said, I am glad to at least have gained this knowledge through constantly reviewing my own work, performances and analysing fights.

The reason why I like to compare my behaviour and my responses in martial arts to other high performance activities is because my experience and skills are greater in martial arts than other high performance endeavours and skills I am pursuing. It provides me an opportunity to assess my nature, my learnt behaviours. By nature I am fiesty, I do not like losing, I am competitive. I like to do better each time. I am impatient and act often without thinking. Knowing all my faults, the only thing that can save me from myself is a process- one of deliberate practise with focused attention.

To summarise this to myself and hopefully it helps you too, my biggest blind spot is keep on fighting even when hijacked by the amygdala. Why? Because my character has been shaped over years such that I act strong even when I am not. Here perhaps what I am seeing is the double edged sword that resilience is. However, it is not resilience that keeps me fighting. It is my emotions.