If I ever have a daughter, which I hope one day I do, I want so bad to call her Ananda from the Sanskrit word for “bliss”. And then there’s Anandamine which is the runner’s high chemical, which hooks up with the same receptors in the brain as THC in marijuana. Pretty cool stuff. Basically, it’s thought that humans used to need to run longer distances to collect more food or outrun a certain animal, and when Anandamine made it possible for humans to run further, without all the face clinching pain.
I’m hoping to head out on a semi-long run today. Maybe 45 minutes to an hour. Getting running is always the hardest part. The start. But once, I’m there, on the trail or road or path I’m carving, my meditation begins. I’ve decided, whether I have time today or I don’t, I’m going running. I’ll do it for Ananda.
– John Ashberry-
This morning I headed out in some leggings and a inside-out socks for a long run. No set distance, no set time. No headphones, no watch. Just me and the trail. I had spent the morning deciding between sitting in a manmade sanctuary or running through nature’s sanctuary, only to be persuaded into running by a cloudless sky.
As I was running I noticed a friend up ahead of me and so I jogged next to him creepily for the better part of 100 yards before the uncomfortableness of the situation outweighed his desire to appeal to social norms. He looked back, noticed it was me, and laughed. We ran the next 90 minutes together talking in words and and taking in silences.
When we got to a stream about a foot deep and 15 yards across-this beautiful blend of dirtied creek water and sewage runoff, that looks more like Gatorade than water-my friend of the trails fully committed and stormed through the water. Commitment to the dirty. To the unknown. Splashing through cold sensation.
And I waited. I thought about what to do, about my clothes and shoes that would take hours to dry, but I don’t want my materials to hold me back. And so I let out a good ol’ natural yelp and sprinted through the mirky cool.
I appreciate his lesson.
“There is a field out beyond right and wrong; I will meet you there.” — Rumi
Last night I came to my childhood home. And being ‘home’ for a night coupled with a class discussion I had several days ago has made me very cognizant of the word “Home”.
Home is an interesting word. It implies a place. It suggests people. There’s a sense of relief and restoration tied up in the word. You’ve made it home. You’re safe. Homebase in baseball or a game of tag.
Home is what we give ourselves to. What we put ourselves in. Our family, friends, our stuff, our neighbors, our places. Our car, a shower, our beds, a desk at school. Home shapes us and we shape our homes.
To call someone homeless is a neglect of the part of the word. The people you meet on the streets, the men I’ve met at the shelter are not homeless. They cannot afford a house, but they have people and places and things in which they find comfort and solace and joy.
I want to use the word “houseless” rather than “homeless”, because words have power over the way we think, and this is a distinction that gives the houseless more of a human face. Or at least, that’s where my thinking is for now.
I feel like life is a series of lessons. Sometimes we go out into the forest looking for them and then sometimes they hunt us down. With this experiment, I’ve found myself learning both.
And so today, I had the urge to just drop my experiment. To buy something for myself to prove I was not controlled by an idea. I felt I had learned all of the lessons the world was going to teach me through this. That now, it was just tripping me up.
But I didn’t. I took a step back and decided I wanted to persevere. That nothing ever becomes completely hollow. We can continually learn from whatever we give our attention to. And this experiment is something that has both been worthwhile and difficult. I try and hide the hard moments. When I lose shit. When I can’t transport things. When food doesn’t come easy. When a night’s sleep consists of 3 hours of sitting in a chair. When I feel like I’m being nice to people only to get a figurative crumb from them.
It must be a hard life to be a city bird. To hang around people simply to get fed. To have to depend only on others. And your own creativity (or selfishness). I have moments where I identify with a dog trying to “earn” a treat. But I fight these moments. I want to learn how to gain nourishment from other means. A quality conversation, an act of integrity, taking a risk.
These are the foods which I want to learn to indulge upon.