I ran my first marathon about 5 months ago in Richmond, VA. There are times when I think about it and am amazed and awed at my power, endurance and willpower. I always felt like that kind of display of athleticism is for other people...you know - real athletes. There are other times when I think "duh, of course I ran a marathon". My body is strong, and I can do anything that I set my mind to. There's no real gray area - I'm either in one camp or the other.
There are times, in reminiscing about being pregnant that I am amazed by what a completely magical time that was in my life. For example, there was one particular weekend that I remember pretty vividly, that I took a weekend off to go to Denver for a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. So, I was pregnant at a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. That in itself was pretty wonderful, and I felt enveloped by this nurturing, earth mama, goddess kind of energy. But as another wonderful part of that weekend, a girlfriend of mine who was in school for photography was going to take as-naked-as-you're-comfortable-with pictures of me as a part of a project that she was doing for school. I didn't get down to my birthday suit, but, it was daring for me and also empowering to step into my feminine power like that. The whole weekend was really quite glorious. And, I also remember with shocking vividness the lack of preparedness that I felt, as one can never quite be prepared to give birth for the first time, no matter how much prenatal yoga, or birthing classes of any kind you've done. No matter how many books you've read. No matter how many people you've talked to, and informally interviewed. No matter how many strangers tell you their story of birth. There comes a moment, when the story becomes your own and you take the power in one way or another, or have it taken from you. There is no other choice. That moment was a make-it-or-break-it life moment for me. I wrote a whole blog post about it then. You come face to face with your power. Your inner goddess and also your inner demon. YOU choose who will prevail. And finally, hopefully, if all goes well, the outcome is remarkable, amazing, mind blowing and all-encompassing. Your child. And a life-affirming, transformational experience.
Long before I was ever pregnant, back when I was just a tyke myself, studying prenatal massage in massage school, I remember a teacher saying that often times a woman who has gone through labor and vaginal delivery (I imagine an emergency Cesarean birth after hours struggling through labor would lead to this too) feels as though she's just run a marathon. Well, back then, the idea of running a marathon was so far removed from my consciousness that I had no concept of what that could feel like. She said that arms and legs get sore from long holds in weird positions, and from gripping or pulling on beds or her own legs. Muscles would be tired, and energy zapped, of course, but those tales only served up a larger plate of conceptualization of what that could be like in my head.
Now that I've run a marathon, though, its a bit more than an abstract concept in my mind. And I can see the similarities from the side of the marathon too. You put in months of training and preparation, both physically and mentally. Then comes a REALLY hard few hours - you get in your head, you get in your body, you try to get out of your body, and then back in...., and finally, hopefully, if all goes well, you wind up with an AMAZING outcome. A feeling of accomplishment that is truly remarkable.
There was a time, on our 15 mile training run, that I entertained a shadow of a doubt that I could actually complete a marathon. It was a hard run. I bonked bad at the end. It took me about 20 minutes just to take off my running clothes and put on my going home clothes. I was completely out of it. Struggling to maintain consciousness for a few minutes there. And I thought, if I can hardly make it through 15 miles, how the hell am I going to add another 11.2?! It was a real downer. And of course friends encouraged me to keep on, and I did. I had a great 18 and 19 mile training run, and felt maybe even a little overconfident about the marathon. Most of the time, during my training I honestly felt, with my whole heart that I could do it. I went in, fresh, confident and ready to face the demons, and walk, or run, as it were, through the hot coals with the goddess by my side.
There was also a time, during my daughter's delivery that my belief in the possibility of this event happening did flicker, and a moment of "I might actually die here today" did darken my consciousness. It was one of the two scariest moments of my life. I walked with the demon for a while. We had a nice chat. She scared the shit out of me. And I decided to kick her ass. That I was going to make it to meet my baby. So I welcomed the goddess in. I gave her my trust and knew that the more I surrendered, the more powerful I became.
Just like running a marathon. Through the darkness of many miles spent in my head, I made it to cross the finish. Though my body was all used up for a while after, I had turned to my faith in my training, to the trust in my power and to my joy of running and playing on the earth to pull me through. And it did.
Not only do I get to share however long I get of this life with the most amazing sprite of a little girl, but on her birth day, I also was reborn as a mother. And, though I had run for years prior to running that marathon, I was then reborn into an endurance athlete. I pulled through, both times. My eternal gratitude goes to the goddess that not only walks by my side, but is in fact ME. The mystical, powerful, abundant light that has now shined into scary cracks and crevices of my consciousness and showed me the joy of embracing the scary, and standing up, standing in, and moving through to the transcendent.
Run on, witchyo bad self.
As a student of yoga, massage, meditation , poetry and other such introversions, I figured some of my inspirations might also touch the hearts of others. Read, ruminate, digest, create...always returning to this well of deep love inside to renew ourselves and rediscover what we are. Enjoy!