I use to run 6 miles a day as a teen, and in college I also ran, though not as much. Forward many years later, I stopped working out all together as years progressed. But, inspired by a friend, I have begun to run daily again. Not much mind you, just 1/2 hour daily running, raising my heart rate to over 140 beats per minute, 6-7 days a week. As a result of this new change in my life, I feel the strongest I have ever felt in a long time. In fact, looking back, the last time I felt this strong was before I had my first child; that is about 8 years ago.
In reflecting on what it was exactly that changed 8 years ago that 'weakened' me, I can immediately say it was the c-section births of my son, then my daughter 3 years later. For both births I was shooting for natural births with a midwife, doula and all. No matter how much people comforted me about this, something in me was telling me I had somehow failed, failed as a woman; the feeling and confidence I had in my own body was zapped out, shut off completely. As silent and quietly personal as these toxic messages which resonated within me were, the toll of such negative views of my own body and my own strength and abilities began to shift my self-image. Until one day I believed that I could not achieve much physically, and as all self-fulfilling prophesies work, I did not achieve much for years.
I am back 8 years later and feeling stronger than ever. I am again feeling in control of my own body after having literally given up on the idea of seeing myself in that capacity. I so intensely value what running does for my well being, my self-image, my self-esteem that I am not worried about 'slipping back' to not exercising, or going back to viewing myself as unable to achieve much physically. This thing I now have, whatever it is, is mine baby, and it's here to stay, I know it in my bones; the benefits are too valuable.
In further reflecting on running and its impact on my life, the impact of this current addition to my life reaches far beyond the obvious physical benefits. Like some magical domino affect, daily running is systematically affecting everything from my spirituality to my personal relationships, from my mood, to my patience level. Allow me to illustrate. Running has helped correct my posture for example. Now, you might think that's small and almost insignificant, but in fixing my posture, I now feel more at ease inside my own body, which affects the way I interact with others, which affects the way others see and interact with me, which makes for a more relaxed relationship, which makes for a more peaceful world, and the ripple affects go on, and on and on.
Ones feelings about one's own abilities play an enormous role in how we related to other humans. The level of connectedness we feel with each other as human beings is inextricably connected with how we feel about ourselves, how we feel inside our own skins, what image we hold of ourselves. If we believe that we live in abundance and enjoy a life of emotional well-being, we are more likely to feel connected to people in positive ways and to other aspects of our lives in a way that reflects that level of inner peace and calmness.
Your 'thing' might now be running, but I believe everyone has that special something that helps put all of life in perspective, it's our job to find it, cultivate it, grow it. Our bodies are great barometers of internal peace, if you don't feel right in your own skin it's time to start looking for that thing that will make it all fall into place....it's out there.