I have just come back from a 5k easing run and I feel so alive! Can’t help but to write this post before I can bite into my breakfast. The words are overflowing from my fingers and I better catch them before they start trailing off!
So I have had the most interesting run of my life ever since I journeyed to Pune for my first half marathon. I never made it to the run because I ran between my life and the excruciating pain in my pelvis region. I ran between saline and intra-venal injections, between antibiotics and pain killers, and between my earlier life and this life. When I returned from Pune, I was in a bad shape, feeling weak every so often in the day and wanting to sleep all along. I did a 10k last weekend and felt very good in my body and spirits. I managed to keep to the Sunday run and felt good about finishing it. Each time I have run in the post-hospitalization phase, I have only felt grateful to life for helping me to keep my spirits high.
Earlier this week, I got some tests done to follow-up on the treatment I got in Pune. The tests showed that I did have some infection and complications in the pelvis region. I ran between doctors to get diagnosis and the most appropriate course of action. Some recommended surgery. Some others suggested I wait it out and let medicines do their work. Ever since my run in with doctors and hospitals in Pune, I have realized the value of a good diagnosis. Without a good diagnosis, you can keep running between doctors and popping pills that are doing things that may not even be linked with your fundamental problems. I am glad I have a set of good doctors who recognize the value of patience and most importantly, the value of healing instead of subjecting the body to treatments that try to fight symptoms instead of causes.
The purpose of this post however is not to indulge in my medical condition. This post is more in the nature of musing about running and the metaphors that running represents. Last evening, interestingly, someone asked me whether I feel bad about not being able to run given my medical condition. She mentioned that I was passionate about running and that if I were unable to do it, would I not feel bad about it? My immediate response was that I am passionate, yes, but I am not blind. I love to run. It makes me feel so good and makes me feel so hopeful about the worst circumstances of my life. Running does that magic to me which I have never experienced before – it brings to life such remarkable insights, the kinds which I can only intellectualize about but which running makes real for me through experience. I love to run, I very much love it, but I also recognize that when my body is not up to running because I need rest, I am also able to accept this. I realize that when you respect your body, when you put your ears close to it and listen to it carefully, to the body’s every little response and sensation, to the body’s every minor and major reaction, you develop the sense of discretion to do the right kind of things that your body wants/desires/demands. I am going through a round of medication which induces all sorts of discomforts in me, except for that excruciating and terrifying pain which I am so afraid of. Some of these discomforts can easily throw you out of balance and want you to seek the first doctor who can relieve you. But if you can travel with your body through those moments and journeys of discomfort, if you can watch your pain and know that it will pass because nothing is permanent and irreversible in life, then you will grow and you will learn the magic of healing that the body is capable of. When I discovered my medical condition early this week, my wise friend Kavita Mukhi pointed out to me that I can heal myself if I can will the healing, if I can will it that I will be able to wade through this condition, and I will be capable of doing everything I desire and love. There is such a power in willfulness. Of course, you can easily go blind with willfulness too if you are not watchful and not accepting of the circumstances – willfulness does come with watchfulness.
Traveling with my body through these journeys of discomforts, sometimes which happen even in the middle of the night or at dawn and they happen these days when I am all by myself in the room, I find that the power of inner strength is such that I am able to move through the discomforts and come out with a sense of gratitude. I am grateful on those days when I can run and even on those days when I am unable to run, because I know that it will all be so good for me eventually because I will have emerged stronger.
So what about running? About running, it remains that when you cannot run, you cannot run, not because you don’t want to, but because your body or your injury don’t allow you to. And be grateful for these experiences of non-running too because actually, you are running on another course which is a different kind of running and which requires you to pace with patience and awareness. I did not even make it to the Pune half marathon despite my best intentions and desires. I feel grateful even for this experience of not being able to make it to the race because I realize how running is for the sake of running and for the every magical, minimal and maximal experience that each run gives to you. To be passionate is brilliant, to be blind is foolish. To be able to distance the self from passion is not dispassionate but is wise. Passion with wisdom is magical and does not happen always. I am so passionate about my writing that I sometimes cannot distance myself from it. But with running, I am able to do this most comfortably because mine and others’ experiences have taught me so.
It turns out that maybe, I may not be able to do the half marathon even at Auroville if my medical condition does not improve. That thought don’t bother me because I know that my body needs its rest and most crucially, it needs time for healing. But more importantly, I know and I know it for sure, that I will be able to run because running is forever and as long as the body is there, as long as life is around, nothing can stop me from running. For now, I am running on other courses of life which are in itself very insightful and revealing.
To run is therefore both real and metaphorical – each run with life is a sign of aliveness and of sentience. I am alive …
P.S. When I went to get the ultrasound done this week and to consult a doctor, I went in my running shorts and shirt and I almost put on my running shoes, thinking that if the diagnosis is not too good, at least I’d be able to do a run after the consultations and feel good about myself 😛 There is also a joy in the hints of madness that we are all composed of!