This moment, I’m sitting in Arsagas drinking my small, not tall, pumpkin spice latte. The flavor of the soy mixes with the pumpkin spice and brings me to the comfort of fall.The time when the leaves turn red and orange and yellow. The time when the air turns from humid and think to crisp and invigorating. Fall is the time of year when artists come alive. The wind is chill, the days are shorter and night comes early.
I don’t know why I’m so focused on the fall, maybe because we finally got rain two days ago and it was so invigorating. As the drops fell and the earth drank in their own version of life blood, I smiled because I missed the rain.
I recently started reading a book titled Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. This book is all about the writing life, how to make writing a part of the day to day, and how to make your writing meaningful. The last chapter that I read was really interesting because she talks about the process of composting within your brain. I don’t think that the connection she intended for me to make was between writing and exercising. Through all of the writing and exercising I’m doing, I’m beginning to see that the writing life and the healthy life are forever going to be intertwined in my mind.
You see, back in February I started running. Over the course of 3 months I was running between 4 and 5 times a week, and as my stamina built I was averaging around 15 miles a week. For someone who had never run before, that was a lot. But then it became about much more than running. It was about being the healthiest that I could be.
My most recent endeavor has been Insanity. Insanity is crazy. I am pushing my body everyday. Everyday, I wake up, lace up my sneakers and pray that that work out will go by quickly. Today was Fit Test day. Today was the day where I would see whether I had made progress or not. Would I be able to do more? Would it be any easier than the first time?
No, it wasn’t any easier. It was still really, really hard. But guess what? I added almost ten reps to 6 out of 8 exercises, and those exercises that I didn’t add reps to, I am able to say that my form was very different from the first time around.
But what does this have to do with writing? Well, these two activities have come together at the same time for me. Katagiri Roshi said: “Your little will can’t do anything. It takes Great Determination. Great Determination doesn’t mean just you making an effort. It means the whole universe is behind you and with you- the birds, trees, sky, moon, and ten directions” (16, Writing Down the Bones).
That applies to running, working out, eating healthy, and writing. These things really do go together in my mind. When I wake up and work out, I’m flexing my physical muscles. I’m training and sculpting my body to be the shape that I want it in. I’m fighting against laziness and mediocrity. Same goes for my writing. I write before I go to bed because I’m working my brain. I’m trying to figure out how to say what I need to say. I’m fighting to make my words comprehensible and to convey the meaning that I’m searching for. The fact that I’m doing these two things together makes me feel strong. I can do this: I can be healthy and I can be a writer.
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