No Pushing, No Pressure

Running this morning, I found myself thinking about the connection, for me, between writing and running. The common denominator is that both are ways for me to come home to myself.

In the winter, I lose this connection considerably. I used to run year-round, and in the past few years, this has ceased to be true. I resort to walking… and sitting. A lot a lot of sitting.

So as soon as temperatures creep up into the 40s, then 50s, then those first blissful days in the 60s, to the perfection of low-mid 70s, and even the mornings on days when 80s will feel too hot in the afternoon, running does not feel like a chore.

In fact, I can’t wait.

I don’t go far or fast. Average of 20-25 minutes, and doubtful it’s much more than two miles at my slowed-down midlife pace. But this doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that after those first hard five or seven minutes, at least some days, the running feels easy. Like flying, however slowly, over the sidewalk, through the Amherst College rugby fields, onto the bike path, through the trees, shade and sun, roots and branches.

I break a sweat and feel so grateful to be home in my body. And the same is true when I write (sans sweating). I feel I am coming home, to see what it is I will have to say, what am I noticing. Always, there are 10,000 things, thoughts, possibilities, and I’ve gotten to where mostly I don’t worry about the fact that I will miss most of them. It’s enough to come and show up and make room.

We live in a culture that prizes pushing. Pushing harder, going further and faster. Winning. If this is your jam, more power to you. But for me, no thanks. I opted out before I even began. I don’t want to jockey and vie for my position. I don’t want to prove my worth or beat your score or play the game or climb the ladder. No, no, and no again.

What do I want, then? To come home. To be at home in this skin, in these bones, in this mind, in this beating heart. In these words, in this practice, in this family I’ve made and claimed. In this life, with its teething puppies and its burst of color and its seasons of inside and outside.

I want to run and swim and bike and walk and make love and laugh and play and make music and fight for things worth fighting for — not to compete, but to show up because I want to, and because it is a privilege to have a healthy body and a working mind and a full, full life.

6 thoughts on “No Pushing, No Pressure

  1. Leah says:

    You’ve given me pause. I like your perspective. It can be hard not to compare our choices and successes to those of others. It can be hard to be the only non-competitive sibling, the only one not driven by a career, and so on. It is important to pause and to remember that our choices are just that. Enjoying a simple life comes naturally to me. “No pushing, no pressure” could become a positive mantra for me.


  2. Lisa Sorensen says:

    Jena, yes, about coming home in running and writing. And yes too to appreciating and celebrating who we are, without comparison and competition. So hard at times. Thank you for the reminder and the support to come home. xo!



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