I recently started jogging, which has been amazing. The feeling of freedom and contentment that transpires during and after a run is pure bliss. For me, it has actually become sort of spiritual. There's a connection that's made. To God. To nature. To self. It's absolutely wonderful. But I have to admit, the first two weeks felt less like a spiritual encounter and more like a horror flick. Each time I'd try to run, my shins would scream out in pain. Every step felt like a jolt of electricity was being shot up my legs. It felt like torture. And afterwards, my shins were so sore that they were actually tender to the touch. There was a point in time, while laying on the couch with frozen peas on my legs, that I thought to myself This isn't for me. Who am I fooling? I'm not strong enough. I should just stop and maybe try again next summer. And I almost quit. Almost.
But this time, instead of quitting, (which remember I had grown accustomed to doing) I decided to push through it for another day. Just one more time. And after that day came and went, I convinced myself to try another.. and another... And one evening, as I was jogging through my neighorhood, smelling the sweet scents of Fall in the air, and home cooked meals floating out of kitchen windows, I realized that I was pain free. Where were those jolts? Where was the fear? Where was the doubt? They were all gone, and all that was left was peace.
That experience reminded me of the "Fight or Flight Response", which was a theory created by a physiologist named Walter Cannon. He found that when animals feel threatened, a part of their nervous system is activated which provides a burst of energy to either incite them to fight the threat, or flee for safety. The theory was later adapted to include emotional responses as well. In the animal kingdom, both responses effectively can lead to safety, but that isn't always the case with us humans and our modern day dangers.
In the case of my jogging experience, I chose to fight. I chose to give it my best shot, and I'm so glad that I did because it paid off. But it's not that easy when it comes to emotions. To matters of the heart. And so here we are. Here I sit, at 5:17am, going through an emotional moment, a painful time, and I want to flee. Fleeing right now would feel super. If I could just escape into a carton of chunky monkey ice-cream and hibernate from the world for a few
So that's exactly what I will do. And all that will be left is peace.