Walking The Walk


Get thee leached out!

Get thee leached out!

My body has waged war on me.

Now, there is nothing serious afoot. Please withhold flowers and singing cookiegrams (although I would graciously take them). I understand that I am probably encroaching on clickbait-style headlines with that start (was this fake news? I don’t know), but sometimes you have to grab them by the cojones and reel them in. Get the eyeballs focused. Feed the soul fire.

The tally so far: Bad back. Partially strained calf. Plantar Fasciitis. Ankle issues. And now a hand/wrist deal which makes turning a doorknob (or any other Higher Power? Just kidding. Don’t email me) a painful experience. I’m iced up more than a spring break daiquiri. I have more wraps and bandages on me than a catastrophe movie extra. It’s frustrating and it makes we want to howl at the moon (but with my luck, I would damage my vocal chords and pull a jaw muscle).

My injuries have halted my running for the last month or so. I can ride my bike, which I am grateful for, but biking is just transportation for me. It’s not “real” exercise, that is, it doesn’t give me the satisfaction of a good sweat and a washing of the brain that I am often in need of. The lack of running has been affecting my mental health and it has brought me down into the tiny dark spaces where my self-pity pokes me with a stick, wanting to play catch for a while.

sore-throat

When hipsters quote indie song lyrics too quickly.

I am limited in my alternatives. I don’t swim. I don’t enjoy the gym or yoga. I don’t have the time nor the compulsion to go to any sort of class like spinning, pig tossing or ballet. I don’t have room in my house for a bike trainer or elliptical machine. It’s like the universe has been testing me to see what I will come up with instead. But what I have realized is that what I have been doing a lot of is fighting and resisting this all. Shadow boxing my view of myself and the world has been my new cardio.

I also haven’t been practicing acceptance.

We hear the word acceptance a lot in recovery and spiritual circles. The serenity prayer asks us to have the courage to accept the things we cannot change. Many texts and speakers of faith and spirituality speak on acceptance as a way of overcoming and as a way to forgiveness. It took me time to understand acceptance. I thought it was just a way of shrugging my shoulders and saying “oh well” like a part-time Best Buy employee about to go on break. That it was yet another way to be walked over and to acquiesce to others and to be a weak-assed wuss. Acceptance is not at all what I thought.

Acceptance is the choice to see things as they truly are, to see the positives in it, and the gain a peaceful state of mind. I cannot change the past nor the present, but I can accept it. It doesn’t mean I condone or particularly like what happened or is happening, but it means that I understand it to be what it is. I am not engaged in trying to warp my view or other’s views to conform to my ego’s idea of how the world should be. It’s the knowledge that there is so much out of my control, but it’s how I react to those things which determine my level of happiness.

So accepting something isn’t the same as lying on the ground and letting people walk over you. There are times when I need to take action against something, to enforce personal boundaries, or to let someone have a piece of my mind (hopefully the part that makes me want to eat a box of donuts in one shot – I can do without that). Acceptance is not being a bystander while other suffer knowing we are able to help. Acceptance is not withholding ourselves to others.

So in the case of my ailing body, I fought the idea that I could be injured. How dare I get hurt? I am special, don’t you know? And why don’t all those other runners get hurt? Why is it only me? I started to resent others and their healthy streaks. My ego chirped away, telling me that I’m weak, that I shouldn’t have started my health kick in the first place, and why not just just shut up and sit down and eat tacos like it’s an Olympic sport? My pride piped up, telling me that I will fall down again soon, and that I will look stupid starting up my running yet again for the 15th time. So let’s just see how high we can make that scale number go, shall we, tubby?

Disqualified!

Disqualified! Poor form.

What has helped me is to practice more acceptance. I have had to accept many things here: that I’m not as young as I used to be and my body is changing; that I don’t do anything preventative like strength training or stretching and that makes a difference to people my age; that I discount the hard work that others do and that it doesn’t always come as easy to others as I think it does. I have had to understand that I have a long way to go in my life, and that I need to figure out how to keep the mind-body-spirit connection going. Not doing so dishonours this new second life of mine given to me in recovery. It also drives me and my family batty when I get grumpy.

I love what Eckhart Tolle says about acceptance: “Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” The idea of living life as if I had chosen it is trippy and groovy. So I have to act as if I chose to lose my job? I have to act as if I chose to get into an accident? I have to act as if I chose to get arrested? Well my little pumpkin, that’s quite a stretch. But having done this before, I can say that it works. It really does.

When I accept (and again, I may not like what has happened, but that’s not the point), I gain freedom. When I understand that there is probably a reason for whatever it is that bothers me, then I see things differently. When I stop raging against the machine, then I save my energy for more important and positive things. It’s not easy, but it works. It gives me a deeper understanding of myself and also deepens my connection with the Creator.

So I have been accepting that I may not be able to run the way I want to. That I may not run another marathon. That I may have to stick to short runs and keep it that way forevermore. And that has taken the pressure off of me. It’s been a big help. I also am accepting that I may have to investigate the very activities I claim to hate – like stretching and swimming. My acceptance to my situation has opened me up to other suggestions, one of which was Nordic walking. I had never considered this option, but before I knew it, I had a pair of poles in my hands and have gone out once so far. It’s different, and I am not sure what to think of it right now, but I will be going again. Who knows, it may be my “thing”. But it only came from acceptance. It was opening my mind to alternatives which brought me to it.

Same.

Same.

There is a very well known excerpt from a story called “Acceptance is the Key”, found in the Big Book, which is:

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

“Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

My acceptance of being an alcoholic brought me to the realization that I didn’t have to live that life any more. My acceptance of it was literally the first step to a new way of living. I have to practice that acceptance daily. It keeps me on the path. It shuts up the voice which occasionally whispers “hey, a beer would be good right about now, eh?” Acceptance keeps me in humility. The moment I accepted that I could never drink again, a new path was created for me. One which I walk to this day.

Even if I am Nordic walking it.

This picture doesn’t capture the pure and utter joy within. I’m talking unicorns and rainbows.

42 responses to “Walking The Walk

  1. This is funny and profound all rolled together. I feel for you, I’m also very injury-prone and have had to accept adaptations and limitations because of it. Wishing you speedy healing, and a happy sober weekend 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, I am getting more and more injuries as of late. Potential carpal tunnel going on now too. Ugh. Getting old sucks! Thanks for being here and hope you had a great weekend!

  2. oh that picture! …you look so, what? Happy, joyous and free! Hahahaha!

    Paul, what a great post. Acceptance is all…and then, as Tolle sat, we act.
    I have been down all moth with pneumonia..bugger is hanging on for life! And just orior i was looking for a new yoga hang and found a studio where I was working HARD..lots of level 2/3 flowing stuff I didn’t do before and , oh, I was proud of myself! But then, knocked down, and knowing all I really needed was to move, period…..things changed.

    Yoga IS ike magic for injuries, to rebuild stamina, for meditation …. strength training is essential as we age….youcan accept that today or when your 60, but think about how much better off you’ll be if you start now.
    My suggestion is for you to look for Yin/deep stretch classes, yoga therapeutic classes.,..do not jump into vinyasa/flow classes.
    as a matter of fact….email me (if you still have it) your local yoga studio and I’ll investigate for you.
    Guess what? you might be a little bored. But you’ll be healing, and if you allow yourself to be quiet I think you’ll be very surprised at what you might find.

    ok, yoga lecture over….i am sorry you can’t do all you want, i know (not from experience tho) about the runner’s high….i get the yoga high. Prone to depression, we have to stay on top of this stuff..

    This is giving me idea for my own blog…which i have been too depressed to write. I get it. We dint have to live like this anymore.

    xoxo

    • I was *waiting* to hear from you on this one, Mish 😉

      I am so very happy that you are moving forward with your yoga especially the 2/3 flowing stuff.

      I have tried beginner classes in the past (I was drinking back them, mind you) but I found my competitive mind overrode everything. I berated myself for not hitting the poses perfectly first time around. I also needed (and still do) TONS of boosters, zafus, straps, etc. So I feel self-conscious in doing a simple pose when I look like a construction site..ha ha.

      Time is of the essence, so classes are essentially a no go. But I think I would go to a VERY basic and VERY slow class. I am like that tin man in the pic I put there in the post. I really am. And I know those flow classes – I am nowhere near ready for those. I am slow, take time and most importantly, I am mentally / emotionally hard on myself. I also compare myself. Boy do I need some inner work here!!

      I was mentioning to someone today that unless I have a car wreck intense sweat / workout, I don’t feel like I have accomplished anything. That is another mindset I need to try and change.

      I look forward to reading what you write. I hope you are feeling better. Sending positive vibes to you.

      Paul

  3. This reminds me of something that happened the other night. My husband and I were at a Chinese restaurant and the waiter suggested we start with mai tais. After ordering non alcoholic beverages, he kind of laughed joking “not on a work night”. After he left the table, my husband said to me, “no it’s just I’m a dope fiend”. He said it in the most unapologetic, matter of fact, and accepting way, without shame. I nodded, “that’s life”, we smiled at each other and continued on with our conversation. Acceptance is key for him and me. Good luck with the Nordic walking! (And I also love yoga, but to each their own).

    • I love the term “dope fiend”. A lot of my addict friends use that term for themselves. I call myself a booze pig. It comes from acceptance for sure. I know that I am also a sugar fiend. A self-pity pig. Depending where I am in my spirituality that day. But it gets better for sure!

      The walking is ok. Doesn’t give me that “high” I get in running, but it’s better than nothing. As for yoga, see my reply above 🙂

      Hope you had a great weekend!

      Paul

  4. ooh, thought you had gout. I just got over it and I felt the same way you did for the better part of the last month. This week i was finally abl to get back to running and it feels wonderful, biking, or anything else can’t compare for me. I have been stretching for the past few years, but I keep thinking I need to do some yoga as well. Now to find the time…

    • Gout! Oh man – glad you’re feeling better. I never even thought about that, but will check it out. Glad you’re back into the running – there really is nothing like it, eh? It hits all the buttons for me. Biking is a close second, but still not the same.

      Glad to have you here, Mick – keep coming back. I would love to hear how it goes.

      Paul

    • Thanks man! I have some bike dudes trying to talk me into a trainer. I just am not sure about space, but that may be the deal for me I think.

  5. There are times when acceptance comes easier for me than others- now is not one of them. I am dealing with the inner “Grumbler” these days and no matter how often I catch myself and try to turn it around before you know it, the “Grumbler” is back in action, complaining again in my head. Exhausting. Frustrating too. Praying for acceptance in a number of situations. Hope you heal quickly and in the mean time- enjoy the unicorns and rainbows! Thanks for a great post.

    • Hi Elizabeth – I hope that the Grumbler has quieted down a bit. I have a Grumbler too – it comes out in different ways. Not in a booze way, but in other ways – sweets, overeating, self-pity, grumpiness, etc. But you are aware of this, and that is a big deal. And I know it’s exhausting. I used to go for long runs, and my Grumbler would be telling me that I was slow, and why bother, and you’re still gonna be fat, etc. and by the time I get home, I am mentally worn out.

      Let’s spread those unicorns around, shall we?

      Blessings
      Paul

  6. Hi Paul!
    Are you on Google Plus?
    If so, how can I follow you?
    I love this post, as it explains what acceptance means.
    I have accepted the limitations on my body (as I am older than you), and I no longer can enjoy music or play my guitar or piano with my cochlear implant.
    I had to really dig deep to accept that fact and be SO grateful I can hear speech!
    xo
    Wendy
    tipsynomore.blogspot.com

    • Hi Wendy – yes, I am Google +. I have to admit I don’t use it much, but it’s Carry the Message (I believe). Let me know if you are finding a hard time with it and I can investigate! (if you need the email, it’s: carrythemessage164@gmail.com)

      Anyway, thanks for the kind words! I am bummed to hear about the music thing – I used to play in the past, and I know the joy it brought me (and I wasn’t very good!) That’s a great level of acceptance there, tethered to some kick ass gratitude! A wonderful example of positivity. So thank you for that.

      Have a blessed day!
      Paul

  7. I got a magnifying glass out and took a closer look at the photo. I definitely counted two unicorns, a number of butterflies and an image of Donald Trump. So I believe you. I am also in pain after falling off my bike. I am practising acceptance too, breathe in…..ouch, breathe out…..ouch. If I keep practising I should be able to stretch my breaths further apart and therefore lesson the intensity of the ouches. It is working. I feel much more positive and yogi like today. I even saw a butterfly swarming around my head earlier which was a blessing as I had just banged my head rather hard on the tiled floor attempting a new yoga pose.
    I like Nordic walking, well tell a lie, I like watching Nordic walkers, especially tall blonde ones with bulging biceps 😎

    • Ha ha…the Trumpster is invading here too! Firewall!
      I am sorry to hear about your accident there too. Ouch indeed.
      One thing I have learned to do is to breath *into* the pained area. It helps me visualize it and to help release the pain. I need to do more of it though. I only do that when I am in bed or when meditating.

      Lol to the bulging biceps nordic walkers! Those Nordic folk do strike quite a pose, don’t they?

      Hope you had a groovy weekend!

      Paul

  8. I like those poles or sticks or whatever the Nords call them. You look cool. I love how you pick yourself up and try something new. You may not see it but you are a fearless leader in exercise among other challenging life things. I have a long history of slow ❤ mile runs and while it is a source of personal wonder and shame that I have not improved by now, it works for me. Acceptance is how we choose to look at it. I really dig the way you wrote about this. It clicked in a way it hasn't before, and I've been studying and trying to practice acceptance for ages. Love Eckhart Tolle (or E.T., as the two feel similar). Peace and happy healing.

    • Thanks K. I don’t feel very cool, especially when the only other nordic walkers I see are 30+ years older than me! And you’re too kind. I don’t think I am very much a leader. I think I am a bit too closed-minded, but then again, I like what I like. I have a hard time considering anything else other than running.

      I love that you’re comfortable in what you do. I wish I had some of that contendedness (is that a word?) I am fighting my ego often in terms of my “performance” (as if I were an Olympian or something…ha ha). But this is what forces my hand in acceptance. So it is what it is!

      Thank you for this…made me smile.

  9. Ok Paul, first of all, just trying to picture you doing ballet. 🙂
    You know, I’ve been away from the blogging world for a few months. Just slowly coming back now. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to see you in my Reader.
    Sorry to hear about your ailments. You don’t look too happy about the Nordic walking, but I think it’s great you’re not giving up on yourself or your health.
    Hope you and your family are doing great. It really is great to see you here Paul.
    Blessings 🙂 ❤

    • Well look who’s here!!! Staci!

      I saw your twitter come up on my TL the other day and thought – oh wow, she’s around! I was so happy to see that and even MORE excited to see you here too!

      Thanks for the kind words. Are you going to be returning to blogging? What is keeping you busy? So many questions!

      I hope that things are well with you guys too – must catch up!

      Paul

      • Awwwwww, thanks so much Paul. You’re such an encourager. So nice to know that someone (or you, for that matter) are excited to see me here.
        I’ve been away from WP since September. We’ve been given a house here at our base and we had some major renovations that we had to do to it. All this before we traveled on November 15th to Canada for just over two months. Then we were in Lima, Peru for 2 weeks. Suppose to do a documentary there, but it fell through. So I guess you can say we had a forced vacation (we had already bought our tickets).
        Anyhow, just returned about two weeks ago. Trying to get everything in order here, but I’m going to start blogging again by next week.
        So are you here to stay for a bit? Hope so. It’s always so great to see you here and read your stuff.
        Hugs and blessings, my friend.
        Staci 🙂

  10. Hooray for Paul!
    Somehow you manage to find the bright side out of the weakest of circumstance. And you continue to do it with humor is that makes me laugh out loud as I read your post. Particularly those captions. You have a knack for that stuff man.

    On a personal note, I just hope your body heals itself all right. I know how much you enjoy getting outdoors running biking. I hate to see you hung up for too long.

    I never heard Tolle definition of acceptance. But I really like it, and I definitely plan to steal it. You’re the man Paul, I wish you the best, and a quick recovery from this.

    • Mark! Sorry for the late reply here. It’s been rather mad lately.

      I enjoy the captions, thank you. It’s my “shtick” I suppose. But I found that breaking up the post with a bit of Rule #62 never hurt. It also breaks up the long text.

      Thanks for all your kindness and wishes, dude. I need them. I feel like I am falling apart. This year may just be the year of doing Fuck All and accepting THAT. Imagine that! Ego will hate it!

      Hope you are having a great day, my man.

      Paul

  11. I love this Paul! Once again your words make me chuckle and they make me think! It makes life so much easier when you accept things as they are and not how “we” think they should be…..even though that is easier said than done sometimes!! You are exactly where you are supposed to be at this point in time. The big guy knows what he is doing! Love the poles and god bless ya for trekkng in that cold!!!!
    keep on trekking my friend!
    Katie

    • Hi Katie! It *is* much easier to accept things when they fall in line with what we think should happen, but man it’s hard when it runs counter to it, yes? You are right – I have to realize that I’m not in charge, and that the Big Enchilada probably has something in mind for me. So I won’t fight it…much. ha ha.

      Hope your running is going well!

      Paul

  12. Oh man, as a previous sufferer with plantar fasciitis I sympathize with the pain, slow healing (pun intended). I have found Pilates using a reformer, not mat, is a cure for old age and trust me I’m old in body but young at heart. Good luck, awesome post.
    Sharon

    • Thanks Sharon! PF is such a bugger, isn’t it? Mornings are the worst, classic symptom. I haven’t had it much, since I stopped the running, but it flares up once I start up again. It’s from a (very) tight calf. One which I am not stretching enough. I know next to nothing about pilates, so I will have to Google reformer!

      Thank you for being here, and so nice to see you!

      Blessings
      Paul

  13. As someone who has been in a walking cast (that is supposed to be NOT a walking cast, and that should tell you where I’ve been falling on the acceptance spectrum) for 10 weeks AND COUNTING, I can empathize wholly with this post. At least the first part. As for the second, you are my hero, and this post could not have been more timely for me. As in, I was sitting bemoaning how badly I want to pick “Acceptance is the Answer” this morning, but knowing I can’t because I’m pretty sure we read it last month. And here you are, giving me the synopsis I need at the moment I need it. Best of luck to you, and may we convalesce quickly and peacefully together!

    • Oh wow – 10 weeks! That’s a long time, Josie! I hope that you are able to get out of that soon and slowly start to get back into the swing of things. I am still doing my pole walking (lol) and while it’s not quite the same as running, at least it’s something. I am sure that if I were in a boot, I would be jonesing to be even able to walk! So I have to keep perspective here.

      And you know, Josie – I can NEVER not take in that Acceptance is the Answer reading. I swear to God that every time I read it you’d think it was the first time I read it. I need it tattooed on the insides of my eyelids. It’s simple but powerful.

      Hoping you have a wonderful day and thanks for being here!
      Paul

  14. I love the Eckhart Tolle quote – a friend of mine is a big fan of them and always quoting to me stuff I should have read myself. This last year I’ve struggled with acceptance as I hate how much is going in the world at the moment and I’ll raging against it. Which is unproductive for me and unhealthy for me.
    Time to try again and work with not against – but I find that often extremely hard to do.

    • Graham…I get the whole global rage thing. I have a low level grumbling that has infected me since, well, you know when. I have never worried so much about stuff at a grander scale like this. It invades my thoughts sometimes and I truly worry, but I know that I am frittering away my energy doing so. So learning acceptance for me is also important in that area, and I struggle. And like you said, it’s unproductive and unhealthy.

      Let’s hope we move through this darkness, my friend.

      Thank you for being here.

      Paul

  15. I just spit out my coffee when I scrolled down to the picture of the scarecrow. As one who’s husband basically embodies that image, thank you for the giant belly laugh. Feels good to laugh like that.

    Best of luck on the recovery. Massage perhaps?

    • I love that tinman image there – my mother sent it to me a while back and I too laughed at it for ages. I still love it. The dude is so angry there…ha ha. And that is how I have felt in past yoga classes…seriously.
      Glad you got a giggle out of it. And get more coffee!

      I am getting better. Chiro has been helping and she also does ART, which is sort of massage, which is great. Thanks!

      Paul

  16. Oh dear. I hope you’re better, Paul. “accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” Powerful, all the more coming from Joni. She lays the injunction to ACT when she hasn’t been able to MOVe in how many years? We are surprised by suffering, when that was the deal this side of heaven.

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