Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Loving myself for Lent

Last week:

Mon:    Run 5.14mi      46:09
        Yoga            40:00
Tue:    Run 3.38mi      30:29
        Yoga            25:00
Wed:    Run 7.00mi      1:04:00
        Yoga            30:00
Thu:    Run 5.04mi      46:30
        Bike 9.11mi     48:33
Fri:    Run 3.03mi      27:30
Sat:    Yoga            1:00:00
Sun:    Run 10.13mi     1:43:41
        Yoga            20:00

One of my Lenten practices is to love myself. I cannot say that I have clear idea of what that means, I am in an inquiry. I could probably tell *you* a lot easier what it means (or should mean) for *you* to love *yourself* than I can say what it means for me to love myself. That, I think, has a lot to do with why my Spiritual Director suggested this practice to me for Lent.

At the moment, I am mostly noticing how much I don't love myself -- not as in a feeling I have towards myself but rather as the way I act towards myself. I am becoming increasingly aware of how much of my "self-talk" is crtical and just how critical it is. Particularly when I run, there's this voice inside my head that is always "pushing."

Sunday I was not even sure if I would run at all. I did not do a long run on Saturday because I needed to go to a meeting in Bamenda in the morning and Sunday morning I was preaching in church. After church, though, I was feeling a bit stiff and somewhat energetic, so I thought, "okay, let's go for a run." I started out with no set distance in mind, then I settled on going as far as the tarmac, which would be about 6 miles, but I'd see how I felt. Feeling pretty good, I thought, "maybe I'll go see where Finge is." Finge is a village down the tarmac and on the other side. I've only seen the sign from the road. When I got to the sign, I'd gone about 4.3 miles, so I decided I'd go until I either reached Finge or 5 miles, whichever was sooner. Of course, right after I made that decision, I went barrelling down a hill (uh, oh, what goes down must come up. . .), turned a corner and had to crane my neck to see (what I thought/hoped was) the top of an even steeper hill. That was not the top, but simply a curve that led to another incline.

Most of this time, of course, I have the rather constant "push" critical chatter going on in my head (I'll spare you the soundtrack). But when I rounded that corner and could see the *real* top of the hill, I thought, "ya know, I'm gonna make it up there and then I'm gonna stop and enjoy the view." And I did just that. And it was a heckuva view. Really nice. (I'm a view kinda gal.) I stopped my watch and just stood there for as long as I felt like. On the way back, I noticed the voice that wanted to criticize me for not going *at least* 12 miles and I decided to squash it. "10 miles is still a long run, and much longer than I planned to go when I started out. Besides I know my weekly mileage is already over 30 miles, so shhh."

I think when I was younger, I thought I could silence the critical chatter by giving it nothing to be critical about. So I've done a *lot* of "self-improvement" stuff. But now I think maybe I need to just stop the conversation. Not sure how to do that, but that's what I'm thinking at the moment. Somehow that seems the more loving thing to do.

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