Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Yellow Brick Road of A Marathon Runner

All existence is suffering, and all of our efforts are to relieve that suffering, if but only for moments.  Another bittersweet Buddhist belief. My paraphrase on one of the four noble truths.

However, with the right efforts, you can relieve that suffering so well that you transcend to something much higher than life.  Do it again and again, and your suffering baseline gets higher, your peaks of living continue to exceed the last one, and the dips of your life are completely manageable.

All this to to try and explain why I run.  I have found that it puts me into a space outside of the world. It heats up my insides and boils my truths to the top, detoxes my brain and rearranges things, and when the run is over, it all settles into a new place.  A rebirth happens with every run.

In times of turbulence, running brings me back to a deeper truth about myself and how to navigate in the world.   It is like going to see the wizard of Oz, and all along the yellow brick road, I am forced to use the very thing in my being that I thought I lacked, and when I get to the end, the wizard points out how it was there all along.  Yes, those scary flying monkeys are there too.

And this is why I love my character Janice Zhu Woodward, the narrator of The Jade Rabbit.  Janice has an incredible amount of angst and truths in her that need to be 'boiled out', and she has a quiet strength in her, a feminine strength really. She needs direction, perspective, and is yearning for her self-doubt to be erased.  With every run, she finds the answers and resolutions she is looking for to attack another day.  And with her final run in the marathon, she has an epiphany that some will see as incredulous while others, who have felt the spirit of the marathon run, will see it as a veritable truth.

We all have our yellow brick road, the journey we take to bring out the best in us. Ask yourself what is yours.

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