Today it is Diwali! I woke up around 5.30 am to the sound of crackers all around. As I sat down drinking my lime juice in warm water, Lola came looking for me – for her share of cuddling and stroking. I feel grateful when I make her day by such small acts of affection. I am not sure who feels better – Lola or I – at such times.
Though I had gone to bed with the thought that I would wake up early for a run, I wasn’t sure after I got up. The crackers were a good excuse – what if my run would be disturbed by people bursting crackers on the road? I coaxed myself to go, nevertheless.
Before leaving the house, I spent a few minutes in silence in front of Sumathi’s picture. And, today is All Soul’s Day. As I stood, the one-way conversation happened as usual about the happiness, the sadness, the pain and what might have been…
Unlike most of the days, I was undecided about the distance to conquer in today’s run. There was that undecided desire to go for 14 km, without any of the firm determination. I told myself I would take it as it came. Some days are like that.
The crackers were a big distraction. The unending sounds kept intruding into my mental space, as I ran. Then I tried to focus on the space between the loud sounds. That felt like meditation.
The thought arose, we can choose to focus on the noise or the silences between the noise. Or, the haunting melodies instead of the screeching sounds on a scratched record.
Thoughts are wonderful companions when I run. They make the distances seem shorter and the weariness, less painful. Ideas about my life and business inundate me during such lonely runs.
It is even better when I am also transported to spaces between thoughts. Those are times when I feel myself in the zone, oblivious of the distance, time and tiring legs. Only an awareness of the world around me exists then.
On the way back home on the first loop of 7 km, there was a refreshing drizzle. Rain drops soothes the sweating body like nothing else can. It is a blessing during lonely runs to absorb the greenery around, feel the occasional drizzle, hear the birds chirp and pay attention to the conversations going on within.
I noticed today, paying attention to my breaths in and out, helped to quieten the mind, bringing about a steady rhythm in my strides.
When I reached the end of the first loop, close to my house, I was tempted to go home, satisfied with the 7 km run. At the crucial end point, I turned back for my second loop. It was a decision taken in a second. That made all the difference to my inner landscape.
Decisions to quit or to continue is or can be taken in a split second. Those split second decisions impact our lives no end. Like Steven Covey says, the small things are the big things.
I am beginning to worry about some uncomfortable pain on my right knee. I have so far disregarded the nagging pain on my left ankle. I do not want to pay heed to common medical wisdom to take it easy. The picture of the Sikh gentleman who ran a marathon at 95 keep inspiring me. I have to however heal these joints. I have already started using ice packs and will apply ‘thailam’ from Kottackal Arya Vaidya Sala.
Having taken the decision to continue my run on the second loop, the remaining part of the run was pretty easy. In fact, at the end of the second round, I felt I had enough stamina to cover another round.
I wouldn’t say that it is exciting and fun while running. It is a lot of pain. The exhilaration is after the run is over. For completing another conquest.
The day before yesterday while running, an idea was born to prepare for running 28 km one of these days. It is not so much the physical aspect that I have to coax to make the desire come true. It is mostly the mind I have to talk to and convince. 28 km seem daunting now. But on that day when I put the first leg, then another, again another and another….., in a gentle rhythm, every sinew determined, then I know the run will end only after completing 4 full loops.
How fortunate that I am beginning to understand what I can achieve! First with the body. Then with the mind and heart. In business and in life. It is always one step after another, in a gentle rhythm. With a belief it is all going to happen.
Around 10-o’ clock in the morning, I went to the cemetery along with Anusha. The place was teeming with people. We spent some time in front of Sumathi’s tomb in silence. And placed a big bunch of red, pink and white roses on the pebbles. To me, Sumathi’s tomb stands out for its unique simplicity and elegance.
Lunch was with Sumathi’s sisters, as usual on Diwali.
I am happy, very happy with how I challenged myself on Diwali. I will allow the spirit of my morning run percolate every aspect of my life every day. So that all my days are happy, prosperous and abundant with all treasures of life.
It is all within me. Run……