Gaining traction

Wheels are turning… slowly… but definitely starting to move in a new and definite direction. No, I haven’t yet done anything substantive about selling this condo, but I look around it now and I know that I can. I have had a series of small insights over the past couple of weeks that all point in this same direction.

There was the day when I stood in the household goods aisle at my favorite local natural foods grocery and realized that I didn’t have to make a special trip to Ralph’s to buy Kurt’s favorite “name brand” laundry detergent. I could buy an earth-friendlier product right there. Then the same thing happened with paper towels. Then I started to think about the “stuff” that I am ready to let go of, both here and at home in Washington. All of the footprint-reducing actions that I first wanted to do five years ago are possible now. I can get more serious about growing my food in my own back yard, or given the poor sun exposure in my back yard, I can even apply for a nearby community garden plot. I can become the full-fledged member of my chosen community that I always intended to be.

For our first six years in Washington, I was a graduate student in addition to holding down a fulltime and very challenging job in the big-corporation world. I had zero time to get involved in my community. Then I had a brief window of opportunity, in the mere month between when I finally finished my PhD and when I gave into Kurt’s cherished desire to have a condo for the winter, in which to think about how I might connect. I was talking to the people who were organizing the first large-scale community garden in my town. Then I just gave up on all that and tried to learn to be bi-platial.

I don’t have to be bi-platial anymore. I’ll be able to build four-season friendships with more than the very few people who have put up with my flakiness (you know who you are and I love you so much for your enduring faith in me). That thought makes me so happy that (“sentimental female” that I am) I’m sitting here crying just thinking about it. I want to work the earth side by side with my neighbors. I want to “break bread” with them. Hey, I just want to learn my neighbors’ names!

If I needed any more proof that I am “at home” with this decision, I got my proof this morning when I finally felt emotionally and physically stable enough to go out and nail a dawn run again. For the past three weeks I’d had to cut short every planned run for one odd reason or another — and I do think it has been related to stress. This morning I planned to run 4 miles, and I ran 4.01 miles smoothly, quickly (for me), painlessly, with pleasure, and without stress. I’m back (or so I hope!!!). Now I’ll need to focus on increasing the mileage for my long runs, as the PS half marathon is a mere five weeks away. I will only get in a few long runs now before it’s “taper time.” Maybe 6-8 miles this Sunday (my last long run in mid-December was 8.12 miles) and then 9+ once or twice in the second half of January, and that’s it. I don’t expect to run a lifetime PR in this race, as I’m not sure I’ll ever surpass the miracle that happened in Victoria last October, but I should smash my PR for THIS race by something like two minutes per mile. No small accomplishment, that.

So things are looking up, and getting better. I no longer have so much of that feeling of “two steps forward, one step back, three jostles sideways and — oops! — there’s another cliff I just went over.” It’s such a relief to feel, no matter how tentative, a semblance of solid ground beneath my feet. And the beginnings of a way forward. Traction… I could get used to this.


Posted on January 6, 2012, in Learning, LIfe_goes_on, Place, Running and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Traction — I like that word and you’ve used it so well. I think I’ll snag it from you for use in my inner dialogue (or outer). I find that turning those corners in decision-making bring clarity and comfort. It’s the state of limbo that is my slippery ground. I like how you honor your friends in terms of enduring; I feel the same about mine. Well, not friends are we, but I am certainly a fan. Traction ahead! ~Ellen

    • Ellen,
      I had no idea that you and others would resonate so well with that word “traction.” I think I used it almost unconsciously as yet another “one step at a time” metaphor. But yes, I do feel in a sense that I am turning a corner and that the ground is becoming firmer underfoot.
      Thanks for listening, caring, responding.

  2. HI, Lori, so glad that you are finding traction, which has a curious movement connotation and a solid ground connotation. Before you leave for your Washington palace, we would like to have you to dinner (especially since you are at peace with this being your final winter in PS). I have a bottle of wine from our trip in July to the winery. Hugs, and best, Geri

    • Geri,
      Yes, that word is turning out to be a more powerful metaphor than I thought it was when I wrote it. I’m grateful that I have friends like you who are listening and reflecting back to me. Talk about double-loop learning!
      Of course I would love to have dinner with you and share that bottle of lovely wine.

  3. I may be reading too much into what I felt with this post, but I “felt” like you were beginning to “feel” again. Is that kind of close? I only know that in the few times that I’ve had a grieving period, and believe me, we’re not talking the loss of a spouse, I didn’t feel much. I moved about and did everything I needed to do, but when “it” began to lift, I realized I was feeling small twinges of hope and happiness that I hadn’t even realized were suppressed for months. You sound like someone who is beginning to feel again! And I love the vision you have of making a home for yourself filled with the items and focus that would feel congruent with the new Lori. Great word for it all–traction! I haven’t forgotten your trip to Newport Beach. All the very best with that…Debra

    • Debra,
      I think you are reading me right. I am starting to feel like I am waking up from one of those nightmares where you are trying to run away from some terrible nameless threat but you CAN’T move! Arms and legs are paralyzed! And then, as you start to wake up, you see the rising sun filtering through your window and the world looks brighter, safer, and infused with small tinglings of hope. I’m starting to feel alive and getting a grip on solidifying ground.

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