We began to secure everything around us. The flight attendant took my Diet Coke, then asked that tray tables be put up. The woman next to me looked frightened. I asked her, “Are you OK?” The ride was getting bumpier. She said she was very nervous. “Will you hold my hand?” she asked. “Of course”, I replied.
A few minutes of calm would go by, then the bumps would resume. We tightened our seatbelts. I always try to picture myself on a big bus driving down a bumpy road when this happens. Nothing to fear, just a lot of jostling around. But I don’t like it. Neither did my travel neighbor.
The pilot came back on to announce that we were going to change altitude to look for calmer air. “Oh Halleluiah”, I thought. And, “Hurry the hell up!” Within minutes, all was calm and quiet again. The woman let go of my hand and looked at me slightly embarrassed. I gave her the most reassuring smile I knew how to, then resumed reading my book.
Last week was a bugger of a week. So cold so soon, dark early, freezing rain even. We were visited by winter in the heart of fall, and I don’t know too many people who were celebrating. I certainly wasn’t.
The week before, I knew I had to stay mindful to stay on track, so I signed up for Pump class three times, scheduled two runs with Kim, and had already registered for the Hot Chocolate 15K that was on Sunday. I felt great, despite the cold and the dark.
This week was another story. Monday morning we got snow, then the temperature plummeted. My neck and shoulder hurt, and I wasn’t sleeping well because of the pain. So I handled it by not going to Pump Tuesday or Wednesday evening, then canceling my run with Kim on Friday.
And you know what? I felt the effects of it. I didn’t feel like myself. I felt edgy and impatient. I felt like eating and laying on the couch. It was horrible to feel the energy drain out of me like that. I just wanted to cancel everything I was scheduled for and crawl under a blanket.
I have always said exercise isn’t optional for me. My brain chemistry gets out of whack so quickly without daily exercise. I feel depressed, anxious, and unmotivated. Without my good brain, I feel like I am trapped on a plane that is in turbulent air. I feel like I’m getting jostled around. I try to secure things and get things situated around me. I tighten my seat belt but the bumps keep coming.
I realized today that trying to manage my behavior and force myself to act differently while in the turbulence is not the path to empowerment. Changing altitude and getting the heck out of the bumpy air is. I needed to rise up.
So I ran six miles today with Kim. And it all lifted. All of it.
I needed to rise up out of the turbulence, not try to manage it. This calm air up here makes it so much easier to handle the cold and the dark. The calm air allows me to find my place.
There are only a few daily practices I know that raise my altitude enough to get to calm air. One of them is exercise. It works every time. Lift, walk, run, Pump. The other is meditating in prayer. The combination of the two get me where I can think clearly and make good choices from a place of peace. I know it’s difficult. We all struggle to some degree. But don’t give up. Get your workouts in and rise up! Rise UP sisters! RISE UP AND SHINE!
“Rise up and shine, for your light has come. The shining-greatness of the Lord has risen upon you. For see, darkness will cover the earth. Much darkness will cover the people. But the Lord will rise upon you, and His shining-greatness will be seen upon you.” - Isaiah 60