Thursday, July 19, 2012

Loaded Post: Human Relationships, Meaning Through Play, Delayed Grieving, Running and Spirituality and More

Warning:  This is a LOADED blog post. It really should be broken up into like 10 separate posts. Ha!  Lots of heavier topics that go much deeper than my recent posts about happiness, running in forests, etc.

Gosh, I have a lot going through my head right now.  I can tell that there is quite a load of emotions, thoughts and feelings that are right under the surface.  Things that are just there for me to process.   Whatever it is, I'm just feeling heavy.  And I can't put my finger on what all is in this head and heart of mine that is making me feel this way.  Maybe it  has to do with my husband being gone all week and feeling worn down.  Perhaps it just has to do with the fact that I can feel myself getting sick and I haven't been sleeping well lately.

Whatever it is, writing is usually the answer for me when I'm feeling the need to process.  Just pouring out my thoughts as they come...vulnerable and raw...can be cleansing in itself.  And I've come to feel safe sharing my personal thoughts on this blog.  So since there is such a random collection of thoughts rolling around in this crazy head of mine, bullets it is!


  • Human Relationships.  I'm convinced that everyone that comes into our life is put there for a reason.  I think every relationship we have allows us to grow or learn in some way.  Sometimes we have something to give and sometimes there are things for us to take away.  Sometimes two people come together and form friendships where they both fill a role for the other, learn something about themselves or life,  and then often end up moving on in different directions rather than staying friends forever. This is part of life.  I think it is so beautiful that we can find friends in the most unexpected of ways.  It is cool how people come into our life and play a part in making us whole, happy, and most alive.  Kindred spirits, guardians, gifts....  I have several people in my life lately that I never would have expected to know.  And I certainly wouldn't have expected that I would feel so close to them and care for them like I do.  One of these friends is a girlfriend who I consider to be one of my very best friends.  A friend I met through running blogs actually.  Eventually our friendship turned into mostly e-mails and now it is a friendship where I feel like I've known her always.  We call, text, send each other mail and pictures, and share our lives with each other through writing.  And, although I consider this person such a dear dear friend, I'VE NEVER ACTUALLY MET HER in PERSON.  Yup, I know this sounds nuts.  A best friend that I love and I feel so loved by and I've never met her.  But next week I'm flying to Boston for a girl weekend with her and another dear friend and I'll be meeting her , this beautiful friend, for the very first time (but not really because in my mind, I've already met her).  I can't wait to give her a hug and thank her for the powerful role she has played in my life....she's the big sister that I've never had.  And she's helped me grow as a runner, daughter, mother, friend, wife, self....and so much more.  What an awesome gift.  And to think we met in blog land.  

  • Childhood Play and Girl Night With Mom.  Last night my mom came over to spend the night.  We shared a bottle of wine together and sat on the deck chatting under the solar lights on my patio umbrella.  We laughed a lot and talked about life.  One of the things that came up was a topic about childhood play.  I was saying how I was thrilled that the kids were playing so well and using their imaginations.  Almost so much that I didn't want to put them to bed.  This got my mom thinking about what I played as a child and she seriously but lightheartedly stated that all I used to want to play for a long time after my dad's death was "Let's get buried in the ditch".  Okay, backstory...Some of you know that my dad died and that he is a big reason why I find so much peace and meaning in running.  I've written about him many times on this blog but a quick version was that he was killed in an excavation accident where he was buried alive in a ditch (one post about this:  The Deepest Part of My Running Heart...Running For Him). So after my mom explained to me how I would play getting buried in a ditch and I would get all my friends to play with me (and I'd insist that they do it right!  Apparently there was a proper way to die in a ditch...I know...creepy!!), I thought of the power in childhood play.  I thought of how important it is for children to engage in imaginative play...it is their way of making meaning of their world and things they are trying to process.  If we take time to watch our kids play more often and really listen, we might just learn something about their little lives.  Anyway, I posted a post about this topic last night but instantly felt vulnerable about posting.  To us, we thought this ditch burying play was hilarious after the fact but to others, I am pretty sure they might not find it so funny.  So, that's the reason for the deleted post for those of you that asked.  

  • It's Okay to Keep Processing.  This talk and time with my mom got me thinking about my dad again.  Maybe that's a little bit of the reason for my funk and heavy heart today.  So weird how something that happened when we were so small can still affect us so many years later.  For a long time I think I thought that I didn't deserve to grieve because I was so little when my dad died.  I thought that I was silly for being sad about a dad that died when I was only 4 years old.  But once my little girls turned 4, it really hit me.  I saw them and how much they loved and adored their daddy and I realized how much it would affect them if they lost him...no matter how young they were.  It would be HUGE for them.  And that was when this blog was born...it was sparked by many things...serious injury, approaching a time in my life where my three kids were the same ages as my brothers and I when my dad died, needing an outlet during my first year as a stay at home mom, beginning to process my dad's death again so late in life and finding that much of it also resurfaced as I starting running more seriously again (since college), etc.  Since then, this blog has come to be a safe place for me to be real and share my heart and thoughts with others in addition to sharing my passion for running, motherhood, and life!  So thankful for this.  

  • Running and Spirituality.  I know I've written on this topic once before in a few posts.  One of these posts (A Personal and Sensitive Topic: A Window into the Spiritual Side of Runninghood) was one that told of a very powerful run where my garmin and ipod both died at mile 4ish of a 20ish mile run.  It was no accident and in the end I came to a place where I was in tears.  I felt connected to myself in a most spiritual way and it was if I was being hugged and told how special I was after years of not believing it.  It was probably one of my MOST personal posts since I share so much of my history with religion, the damage it did, and why that has been such a  hard  thing for me.  It also reveals just how spiritual running can be for me.  It can be so much more than training or exercise.  It has often been on my runs where I feel the most connected to God, the universe...LIFE.  This has especially been true when I'm running in nature and during times of solitude and stillness.  I've felt God, my dad, and my full self. This post was a post that was so cleansing and freeing to write...yet another way this blog has been therapy for me.  I wrote it through tears in many parts but again, it was a post that WROTE me...the best ones always do.   Here is just the end of that long post:
"So, yesterdays run....
It was a gift.  My Garmin and Ipod shutting down were blessings.  Once I realized that I was going to be running a very long run with only my thoughts to listen to, I began to pray.  I prayed about so many things that I've been needing to focus on.  I had a real, solid, quality conversation with my God.  And I could feel God with me, through me, next to me.  Towards the end of the run, it had been awhile since my long prayer.  I was just focusing on my breath and my visions of my marathon.  I was happily tired.  

At mile 21ish I had a half mile left.  Just then I started talking to myself but I didn't realize what I was saying really until I had tears running down my face.  I am convinced that it was God, my God reassuring me of how much I am loved.  These are the words I was whispering to myself when I finally caught what I was saying:
  • You are amazing Amanda
  • You are a child of God
  • You are good enough and wise enough
  • You have been given many gifts and you have the responsibility to use your gifts for yourself and for others.
  • You were NEVER alone.
  • You have always been loved and cared for deeply
  • All that your life has been has been for a bigger purpose
  • You ARE LOVED!
So, there we go. This is probably the most personal I've ever gotten on this blog.  I rarely write about things that I'm this sensitive about but it was one of those moments that I just felt right about getting it out and giving you a bigger window into my world, my heart, my soul.  "


Such good lessons came from this run.  And it made me think more deeply about the topic of running and spirituality.  I don't see a lot written about this topic.  My hunch is that a lot of you find a spiritual element to running.  No matter what your beliefs and not necessarily having to do with religion AT ALL.  I asked about this topic on Runninghood's facebook tonight and I got some really wonderful responses that were just so thoughtful and beautiful.  Thanks for sharing.  And please keep sharing!  For some of you, it is about worship.  Others find running to provide moments of feeling connected to a loved one that passed.  Really cool to read your thoughts on this topic. 


Okay, how's that for the most loaded blog post I've EVER written?  This is enough for 4 or 5 blog posts  but hey, it was all in this head of mine at once so why not put it all out there as it comes.  I feel so much better after unloading all of this.  Even if NOBODY reads it but me. And maybe my mom.  Thanks Mom.    


Thanks for YOU,
Amanda 

Follow Runninghood on Facebook or Twitter

51 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. I don't know what else to say other than I really enjoyed reading it... is it super cheesy to say "it spoke to me"? Anyway, thanks.


    Also, I'm really excited for you for your girls getaway... awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Laurie. Not cheesy at all. So nice to hear. Always kind of scary putting myself out there like that and there is usually a sigh of relief (in a sense) when the first comment like this comes through and I know that my words spoke to others.

      Delete
  2. Oh Amanda. What a gift you are to us readers. I love reading what you have to say and what you are thinking. I think you need to carry on doing what you're doing - letting it all flow through you and carry you and the purpose of it will become apparent. Something meaningful will come out of this mood and these conversations and these thoughts. Oh - and you probably need to find some sleep where you can and look after yourself a bit as well. Hugs X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Petra. You always make me feel like I have a purpose....you inspire me to keep being soulful and real...thank you! I think of you in the same way. Yes, I should have looked after myself...now I'm sick. Kidney infection, exhausted, fever...grrrr. :( But thanks for making me smile. xo

      Delete
  3. There's a reason we're all on here, reading and learning about each other....

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting that we both blogged about our dads in the same week- coolio!

    I totally agree about the spirituality aspect of running. I've had times over the past few years, during my divorce and through my dad's accident that it felt too difficult/raw/painful to pray. Somehow, though, about mile 10, all those feelings and prayers would come out. Running to me was more of a Safe Place where I could talk to God, even more so than church, although I do go to church.

    It truly is amazing how God works in our lives. Even more so, His work in us is never done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love your comment here. Thank you so much. And your post today really touched me. Thank you for that too.

      Delete
  5. Yes, it's a good thing you broke the post up with bullets...otherwise I never would have made it through hee, hee. I ditto what Lisa said above, reading and learning about each other. I'm also in awe how you can put your feelings into words, and that more people than just your mom read them! And I was also "comforted" to know that you, too can feel vulnerable. I deleted a history of blog posts due to that feeling. As a mom, I get what you're saying about imaginative play. As a daughter, who lost her dad too young, I get what you're saying about processing his death. I took 1st in AG at my small local tri this weekend. And it was my dad who I thought about most of the day. And your blog where I can read about processing that. Thanks! And good luck with the rest of the summer and your kiddos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Janalyn...always nice to hear from you friend. Thanks for getting this. And glad I didn't lose you...thank Goodness for bullets!! 1st place in your AG?! This is fantastic. So so happy for you!

      Delete
    2. And where oh where is your blog?? I can't seem to find it linked on your profile lately...its like you're just ....gone from blog land???

      Delete
  6. Beautifully written, Amanda. This post is a wonderful illustration of how multi-faceted we all are. All too often we put each other in categories and pigeon hole people when there is so much more to each and every person. I too believe that everything happens for a reason and all of these connections with or another make us better in one way or another. We cannot be defined by any one aspect of who we are. Again, beautifully written. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Jen. So nice to hear from you. Yes, I agree...so much more to each one of us than is on the outside. So much.

      Delete
  7. So many deep thoughts for a Friday morning. I love watching my kids play. They really do act out things they have experienced or seen and it can be so insightful. I have spent some really great time lately with my Mom too and really value it.

    Thanks for another great post that I will be processing for awhile now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I know...quite the load for a Friday morning. :) So glad to hear from you...hope you are recovering nicely from your marathon.

      Delete
  8. I feel like I could write a book right now. 1st of all, the new header is cute! 2, I loved you from the 1st time I saw that smile of yours. You were one I looked up to and I loved being around you. You were an inspiration to me. You ARE an inspiration to me. I've always admired you, Amanda. Your history fascinated me. Your religion, your relationship with your mom and brothers, your relationship with yourself. You are the one that made me tap into what is inside of me and I think that evolves continuously. I love hearing the connections you feel. I love hearing your heart. I love where you and your mom are now. And I love seeing you in the faces of those beautiful kids of yours.

    I’m in awe of how good they seem, how in tune with themselves they are. I think one of my favorite pictures is that one you posted the other day when they were writing on the trail. I thought to myself, what a gift! What an awesome moment. What a beautiful place in more ways than one. And how the heck did she get Samuel to cooperate?

    You make me want to run longer. I’m not a marathon runner, you know that, but you make me want to go out and run until I can’t anymore just to grasp for that connection. I love running because it is more than my legs moving and fast, deep breathing. It is every ounce of me and beyond me. It is a challenge in my mind and nothing else symbolizes life, will power, strength, emotion, endurance, reaching new bars, struggling, hurting, pain, and winning better than running. I believe nothing gets the brain and heart going and working together more than running.

    You are absolutely able to still grieve your father’s passing. He just didn’t exit at age 4, he was a part of you and someone that you were supposed to physically have your entire life. At age 4, like you said, daddies don’t get much better. They are the light of their kids’ eyes. I see as a child why you would feel that way, but I’m so glad you keep processing it because I would think that the older you get and the more milestones you cross it is another area to grieve for the lack of that relationship in your life at that particular time.

    I got emotional reading this post. And I absolutely do, without a doubt in my mind, believe that every single person you come across in your life is there for a reason. They are there at just the right time. You were in my life at just the right time. You are in my life now for a reason. I love you, Amanda Jean and I can’t tell you that enough. Thank you for always being a part of me! Sorry for the extremely long comment – should have been an email.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, talk about getting me emotional. This is so special to me T. So special to hear. Really, your words are so beautiful and meaningful to me and this will be a comment I print off and save forever. Our time together was so short and so long ago but yet it seems we've both made a lasting impact on one another. You were always the one who made me laugh the hardest on our cross country and track trips. So spirited and witty. You made me feel ALIVE. And your blog/writing does the same. Thanks for inspiring me to write a blog and to share my life more. And your comeback into running....so inspiring...so energizing. Please keep going because you really do touch others with that...you influence. Just reading your blog about that makes me charged up to face my 5k fears again. And reading about your moments with your children...good and bad...makes me feel so NOT alone. Love you T. Thank you for this. Hope we get to meet again someday...it has been too many years!

      Delete
  9. OK-you need to send me texts that say "I posted a loaded blog" so I don't read it loosely and then start crying on a golf cart....

    From the top. First of all I understand that heavy feeling. Circumstances are different etc. but I'm all too familiar with the feeling.

    Human relationships-you know in reading this I realize we really haven't met....you "know" my family, we've gone shopping together, went to happy hour, walked the streets of Fargo, watched a hockey game, run a race, jumped on a trampoline, weeded gardens, hung out at the pool, rode a bus together to the start of the Boston marathon.....so many more unmentionables in there. Everything you say in this paragraph, I feel! YOU have definitely been a GIFT in my life and yes, like a sister! One week!

    I did not see the deleted post. The ditch game-so interesting. I will be reading this whole post better on my computer!

    Imaginative play-Max really has spent SO much time out in the yard pretending he lives in the wilderness I think and is hunting for his own food etc. Fun to watch him make his own fun when often times, he's just by himself!

    Yes, I can just imagine you looking at your girls at 4 and seeing how much they adored Waylon and you imagining their lives without him....always processing.

    I remember that Spirituality post but I will also read that again on my computer! Wish I had my computer:)

    OK-happy Saturday! Choppy from my phone but love you and thinking of you and counting my sleeps!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so wonderful to stop during your golf game to send me love here. :) ONe of the reasons I love you....always there. Yes, we have done quite a bit together haven't we...ha ha. So much really. I don't even think it will seem weird seeing you really. But we shall see...it might be really strange looking at you in person while I talk to you...I might have to go to other room and call you so we can chat. ha ha.

      Delete
  10. I meant Happy Friday. Off a day:)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I frequently catch myself wondering how people relieve stress who don't work out. Relieving stress is so minor, but on a larger scale, how do non-exercisers find faith/spirituality/meaning within our lives? The exercise, especially the run, is such an incredibly powerful piece of my life that I have incorporated as a regular source of sanity and meaning for myself.

    Of course, there are so many other people who are able to connect a little deeper with themselves through a good book, movie or a long drive. For me, it is exercise. Nothing gives me that passionate boost for life than a run does.

    Love reading your posts lately. You are so positive through everything and give the inspiration I have needed. No post is ever too long if it is written from the heart. Thanks Amanda.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Marissa. Your words made me think here...but yes, some people find this release through art or creating...cooking...doing what they are meant to be doing. But running...such a gift to me. Nothing else like it.

      Delete
  12. Running is so spiritual. It gives us a time to reflect and connect. I honestly think that solitude time is what I have missed the most through my break.

    Have a great trip to Boston! It has been HOT here so pack appropriately.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not looking forward the the hot in Boston. ;)

      Thanks Adrienne. Yes, it is such a time to reflect and connect...almost like we don't even know it is happening but our minds and body are unwinding and the the thoughts and reflection just pour in.

      Delete
  13. I know what you mean about connecting with people through blogs, although not quite to that extent, but that's awesome you get to meet up in Boston!
    Yes, running has a very spiritual element for me too, I would love to see more people right about that... I assume many feel its to controversial?
    I almost cried when I thought about my daughter losing her dad, and she's only 2 1/2. Definitely understandable that it would continue to resurface years later. Thanks for your thoughts and honesty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Laura. Always nice to hear from you.

      Delete
  14. There's just so much in your post today. I'm only going to comment on the grieving part. I had a miscarriage between my second and third boys. It was at ten weeks - really early. I hadn't had time to get to know my baby. Had never felt it move. But when I miscarried I grieved. I grieved for all the times that we never had together. For the sibling that my boys would never have. he fact that you were so young when your Dad died doesn't give you any less right to grieving because your grieving for your future together too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe it is laying here with a fever and being overemotional but this made me cry. So beautifully said about your miscarriage feelings. I definitely think you needed to grieve and so glad you did. Thank you Char.

      Delete
  15. When I feel "heavy", writing and running are the two things that help me process and get my spirit feeling light again. There is so much in this post. Big hugs!

    For me, running is very spiritual, especially when I leave the IPOD home. I often pray when I run, feel at peace when I run, feel connected to myself, to God, and to the Earth when I run, and I definitely believe I am using one of the talents that God gave to me when I run. So yes - it can be very spiritual.

    In regards to grief - someone wise once told me that grief is an ongoing process, not an event. That really stayed with me.

    Have a wonderful trip on Boston! There is nothing like a best friend, no matter how you met or where you live. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erin, I think we are very much a alike in this sense...how we process and express ourselves...I can always feel/see your soul coming through your words when you write.. I can tell that it flows from you in a very similar way...as if it writes you. and we learn from our writing as much as others do.

      Love these wise words about grief. So glad I've "met" you through this internet blog world Erin.

      Delete
  16. Oh boy, what a post!

    You keep doing this! How can I keep up?

    They say that if you give a kid loving parents (not money, etc) till age 6, they can take anything after that. They will be strong and resilient.

    Before that, it's more touchy. Obviously your mom did a good job 8)

    A final question....you like to think about thinking, and you have strong empathy. Have you ever thought about helping other people learn how to do it? I think you'd be pretty good at it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice to read your comments Paul. Forgive me as I peck on my phone here from urgent care waiting room...grrr. :) your comment has me thinking.... Thanks for that. I'm ready for the next big thing in my life and instead of returning to the classroom I think it will be something else that still involves leading and helping others live empowered and expressive lives of passion and intention. Thanks again!
      Amanda

      Delete
  17. I enjoyed reading your post. As always you are brutally honest and you somehow manage to put into words many of the things I feel but don't know how to express. The comments others have left are really insightful too. I agree with Paul's suggestion above. I think you'd be an excellent grief counselor!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Tia. I think the comments from this post are such a gift...very insightful and definitely affirm the value in sharing ourselves with each other. Not sure I'd ever want to be grief counselor or that I'd be good at that but thanks for thinking so. I know that something big is on the horizon...just not sure exactly what it is. I know there is something perfect out there with my name on for after my kids are all in school. In the meantime, loving just being at home with them and sharing my life through writing.

      Delete
  18. You are one gifted writer. What a blessing you are to me. I am so glad I know you. I love to read your words, your thoughts, your dreams, your encouraging words for all of us...your nuggets of truth. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Jill. Good to hear from you. Thank you for commenting.

      Delete
    2. and holy awesomeness on your age group award in your 5k recently!! Super inspiring to read.

      Delete
    3. Thank you. :) I read your blog more than you know,I'm just usually not logged on gmail that often to comment. :)

      Delete
  19. Thank you for this post. My husband was killed in 9/11 and my children (esp. my son) was so young. It is enlightening to know how he may process the pain of his father's death. I always pray when I run, sometimes I talk to God, sometimes I talk to John. I feel they listen & I always listen back ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh thank you so much for your comment. Wow, this really makes me feel glad that I wrote this post. So many people that I'm hearing from, like you, that I never would have imagined would have taken something away from my own processing. Sorry for the loss of your husband and your son's father. Love to you.

      Delete
  20. I have learned so much about myself since I started running almost 4 years ago (my limits and capabilities). It looks like running has provided an outlet for you as well as the ability to "connect" with your Father and grieve. I think that's why many people are addicted to the sport. Running is more than cardio.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Yes, so much more than just exercise. Definitely a gift.

      Delete
  21. I love your blog! So glad to have found you!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great post. I just spoke to an Optimist Club and shared a similar story. I am not a good church guy, but I am a Christian and closest to God when I run. I have won hundreds of medals but it is the people that I remember from each race, not the awards. I have a quilt made of my old shirts. Eachh one represents people and personal stories. I met my coach, runwithjill on the blog site. Thank you for sharing this post.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have made some good friends myself thru the blog - many I haven't met (like you!) though we are not bestie's. Kind of funny how you can get so close and get to know someone without ever having met them.

    Sounds like you and Ryan Hall will soon be training partners :) I hope I have a "deep" run like you talk about here. I don't think I've ever had one?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey you. Just want you to know I am reading. Love you. Gotta go.

    ReplyDelete
  25. There are so many things I could reply back to on this amazingly well-thought out blog, but I have to shout out to one of my big parenting advocacies - child play. I purposely build play time into our schedule by not allowing sports, lessons, homework, etc. to interrupt at least one night a week and one part of our weekend so my kids actually engage in play. I think it's THAT important in them developing, growing, processing, etc. I love to read your thoughts since I hardly ever hear other parents echo those sentiments....

    ReplyDelete
  26. I agree that running can be a spiritual experience and a way to feel connected to God. You are totally striped of all of life's worries, duties, etc. and it is only you and Him. I love the long run for this reason. I feel like I can connect to Him in ways I don't in the busyness of life. Here is a post I've done about spirituality and running http://howwerollkatiesblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/recent-reflections-while-running.html Thanks for a beautiful post. I enjoy reading your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Get impressive methods and techniques from Dating site review for mproving your dating and can get the ideas what to do in your first date both for men and women Dating Advice

    ReplyDelete