Each time I water my garden it is hot. The plants are thirsty and the soil is dry, they drink in the waterfall and beg me for more, I am a bad plant Mom but I try harder to be better each day–each day I give them more and each day I look forward to putting my hand under the cascading flow, closing my eyes and wishing that the stream was flowing over me. I think, What a lovely shower this would be, let’s go jump into a river and float away for a few days, and then each shower I take in my small Chicago apartment I try to recreate the refreshing chill I pour out of the watering pal. Sometimes a success, sometimes it’s not quite right. When I leave the garden it is beautiful, full and happy. I whisper loving words and tell each plant they are special.
My soap smells like citrus petals, I think, what are citrus petals? I question. As I shave my legs dirt falls from my skin, the dirt from the city accumulates on my body as I ride my bike miles each day. The citrus petals clean my skin, the razor makes it smooth and the refreshing waterfall rinses me off. I suppose the citrus petals clean me of other dirt too. The dirt of a long day, the dirt of hours and hours of trying and working and thinking and feeling, of self talk and continuous motivation that seemingly goes nowhere –the moment under my waterfall clears me of everything. Time transcends and responsibility falls to the wayside. Shaving my legs I notice my amber skin to my ankles, a tan line and white feet, amber to mid thigh and then a harsh line where cloth falls when I am in the sun. I notice scars that will not go away and curves that I have not quite come to accept yet. The waterfall’s magical effects wash down with the drain as I wrap myself in a towel.
In my garden I dig my hands in the dirt to pull weeds and plant new vegetables. The spade is broken but I don’t mind–the Earth, she speaks to me through my hands and in my body, the soil harbors life, sustains it and, well, it makes me dirty. A different dirty than the dirt on my legs from the city. This is a dirty of life, of energy, of sunshine and of love. The dirt gets stuck under my finger nails and stays there as a reminder that beauty is there in the middle of a dirty city. A reminder that working with my hands brings me joy and fills a passion I didn’t know I had.
Another stream I let fall from the pal brings another whoosh of refreshment to my hands as I breathe in the sun.
I start to sweat. My normally low blood pressure rises and my heart pounds even when my body is not working that hard. I get anxious and stressed out. Running, swimming and hitting the gym don’t do that.
I have such a love hate relationship with mountain biking. It’s a battle. A battle with Logic. Logic is the cautious side of my brain. The side that generally wins because she’s in control, she calm and cool. Logic fights with Competition, the side that peaks her evil head out rarely, but when she does she makes me uneasy. But that side also tells me to push harder, faster, further and makes me do things out of my comfort zone.
Logic tells me to stay on the easy double track; no rocks, roots or puddles to trip me up and knock me down. Then Competition chimes in and yells for her to shut the eff up, to go for it, to get uncomfortable and challenge not only my body, but my mind—basically my entire body: Mind, Body and Soul are put on edge during a ride.
I love and hate this so much. But yet I continue to do it—so it must be good.
I am suffocated and lost when I have not the bright feeling of progression.
Last week I led the Ladies Group Run that leaves from my store; it was my first time leading it and the girls that came along were a perfect balance of what I needed. One girl was super chatty and kinda fast, (me? not so much, I’m a good listener and slow running partner,) the other was quiet and a bit slower than me. So it was basically a Sloan sandwich up the trails of decent conversation about what we do, why we run, what we were hungry for for dinner…etc.
One of the girls had never run for more than 30 minutes. The group runs are typically an hour and I, some how, after fitting her for shoes that afternoon, convinced her to come back that evening for the run. As we climbed the final climb, taking those little steps that seem so inefficient but are necessary to make it to the top, I called the new girl out. I told her now that she’s done this run she knows she can do it, there for she can’t give up the next time she tries. (And I made her promise to try again soon.)
This girl could see herself progress, which is really one of the best feeling ever. We can only accomplish progression by ourselves, it’s you that pushed yourself to finish and so you only have yourself to thank! (How cool is that?!) She was so stoked and proud of herself, I could see her smiling at what she had just accomplished.
At the end of the run we all exchanged e-mail addresses, promised to get another run in soon. Sometimes seeing someone else push themselves is just enough motivation to jump back on the band wagon of pushing yourself. I love absorbing motivation from other people and using it for my own benefit—I feel myself progressing and it’s amazing.