Wednesday, June 4, 2008

using pain

Not much to report on the physical activity side with my two days off, but I'm looking to jump back on the treadmill tonight and do a bit of speed work in preparation for Friday's 5k. My days of rest have not been as restful as I imagined, heavy with socialization. I enjoy time with friends and meeting new people but it does tax my introverted energy reserves.

I subscribe to Runner's World's inspirational quote of the day, and often it leaves me perplexed -- usually because I cannot figure out how they relate to the running, such as the recent quote from Dostoevsky, "Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness". Does this refer to the physical pain? The suffering induced by mile upon grueling mile? Despite some serious hurt after the fact, I have never experienced a run as suffering, and if I did I'm not sure I would turn to it as my exercise of choice.

This quote stayed with me, however, beyond the implied context. I'm not sure I agree with Dostoevsky -- but I can attest that emotional (and physical) pain tap into a different level of consciousness. Facing pain instead of fleeing from it can lead to greater awareness, a deeper understanding of the self. Suffering, while not a desirable state can awaken us to new possibilities, can alert us to what we need to ultimately thrive, move forward, run faster, longer, find love within ourselves. Pushing limits, whether from within or without connects us to the essence of our humanity, our animal bodies, the elasticity of our spirits.

Pain has been my constant companion in this past month, and it is not something I enjoy, not something I knowingly invited. Yet it is here and I strive to use it as best I can, to expand my consciousness and my compassion. Go deeper.

Dostoevsky

1 comment:

Nat said...

wow, you're lucky if you've never experienced any suffering during a training run...not even during speedwork? I don't mind a certain amount of physical suffering because my experience with sports has taught me that although the suffering is of limited duration, I am going to get longterm results. Emotional suffering is a lot harder for me to face, but I guess I need to remind myself that this too shall pass and I will be stronger because of it. It's so much harder to see what kind of longterm improvements I will get out of the emotional strife, though!