My beloved Rollo has a sore foot so he is off running duty for the moment and I run alone. This has opened up the experience considerably into new and untravelled routes and experiences.
We went to a drinks party on Monday night by Battersea Park and I ran back home in the rain afterwards. It took an hour and I went through some very wet and scenic areas such as Clapham Common. Very different in the middle of the night. Today I went to Oval, Kennington and the very lovely Walworth Road. A snappy run past long, early morning bus queues.
Without the dog I have to run in better lit and more populated areas. It is noisier because of the buses and this distraction forces me to push even harder to stay with my chosen mantra. To keep away from the thoughts that want to crowd in and trash my early morning experiences.
In the moments when I strayed I found myself thinking about writing and all that I do and can say. It always makes me examine where I am, writing weblog, and there is a lot that has to be censored. Not because of swearing or illegal past times, but just because it is not the right time, space, thought, direction. As I focused my thoughts today I became keenly aware that the pain of now, not just for me but for all who feel the pinches, is so much about discovering who each of us really is. We move so far from our real self with lots of Add-Ons. We add on fashion, jewels, a bag. A shiny car, a smart apartment or house, well named friends, our job, holidays, the phone, the ipod…. So many things that we adhere to us to expand our sense of self. The current media frenzy is generating a huge amount of insecurity and fear that then threatens our long-term use of all these applications that have greatly increased our sense of our intrinsic worth and value. The thought of “being” without all of this is really stressful.
I dragged my mind back to the mantra and carried on running until I found I was remembering 1991. I lost all my Add-Ons then: Relationship, car, house, career, and quite a few friends. The whole lot went crashing around me and I ended up in a bedsit just up the road from the shop. Not my first bedsit, I have to confess as I had ended up in one in Maida Vale in 1980. The learning experience gets harder, in a way, because I feel I should have it all “right” by now. I should be established and set up. Everything ought to be easy now. I think many of us think like this and resist the life cycles that come and go like the seasons. We have all become so comfortable with our vastly expanded sense of self that we are far, far away form the reality of who we actually are.
As I approached the house I was still holding the mantra but lost it in the last few steps to the door. I am constantly astonished by how tricky and quick the mind can be.