Almost every day of the week, I go for a run.
It is my time of the day to relax, to center, and to just be completely alone. Sure, there are always women running near me, but they don’t matter: I zone out everything else and focus on escaping. I haven’t always been a runner and I choose not to do marathons (I’ll do a 5K if begged) because I don’t want to ruin the pleasure and serenity of my only quiet time in one of the busiest cities in the world.
Most of the time, my runs are relatively easy and I lose track of time as I’m releasing stress, pounds, and that stop at Papaya Dog the other night (Damn you hot dog and french fries!). Other times, I catch myself gasping for breath, counting down the seconds until I reach a certain mileage, and overall just miserable.
It’s when I’m about ready to push the “Quick Stop” button that I mentally take a step back. I turn off my iPod, I flip my cell phone over, and I start listening to my breath. I count to five as I inhale, and then ten as I exhale. I feel my chest rising up and down and just like that – I find my stride and I’m ready to take on a few more miles with that runner’s high you don’t think is possible until you experience it.
By concentrating on my breathing and allowing my focus to turn inward instead of getting caught up in music and possible text messages – I eliminate every interruption.
But in life –interuptions are plenty, especially when you’re trying to learn to find peace in your singleness. They come in the form of handsome strangers who shower us with compliments or friends who we wish would be more. Sometimes, they are in quick goodnight kisses that may turn to second-thoughts in the morning. And always, these attention-stealers are only momentary. They give us our short fix for a slight period of time before we’re left alone and back to battling our fears and our love obsession.
Even knowing this -is it ever possible to cut out every distraction that keeps us from focusing on what’s most important? And in this journey, do I need to rid myself of any current potential disruptions so I can sincerely, full-heartedly put my energy, my breath, and my spirit into finding this confidence?
At the gym yesterday, as I was constantly checking my phone, and racking my brain to say what to a certain someone who has made his way into my heart and into my life – I realized he was not only disrupting my run, but my process. I’ve known him almost as long as this blog has been active and in that period, I’ve had him to depend on to reassure me, give me attention, and keep me satisfied with the instant gratification I’ve missed.
So by having him in my life, am I running away from problems and being led by distractions, or sincerely stepping up to the plate to face them?
Having this guy who is at an arm’s reach and yet completely unavailable emotionally is a huge issue – and one I need to admit. He has been nothing but brutally honest with me and I’m thankful that if I did decide to get mixed up with a man, it’s a sincere one – but, yet, I’ve allowed my mood to be dictated by him.
Is this taking a step back? Possibly. But in the past, I never realized my actions and corrected them, so to me, it’s still progress. Yes, I’ve checked my phone. Yes, I’ve done things and acted in ways that are out of my character and moral boundaries. Yes, I’ve wished and hoped that something in our “platonic” friendship would morph into other feelings.
But in my heart of hearts, in the deepest corners of my soul, in the back of my mind that I try to avoid, and in my breath that is catching up with me – I know I need to start focusing on me. On my journey. On my progress. On the me I sincerely want to become – a me that doesn’t freak out and isn’t obsessive and is okay in her single shoes, no matter how long she walks in them.
So do I cut him out? Do I stop going on dates? Do I stop the flirting? Do I write him off in my long list of almost-but-never-really-boyfriends?
I just stop giving him attention. I stop allowing him to be the center of my thoughts at times. I stop letting myself get caught up in something that’s not meant to be. I stop the confusion before it becomes painful. I slow down. I put away my phone. I smile at myself in the mirror. Tell myself what I have to offer without needing him to reaffirm it. Give myself a break. Forgive myself. I move forward with confidence and with gentleness. I relax and let myself step back from my actions and revaluate.
And most importantly, I breathe.
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