Finding what it takes / by Christina Rosalie

Running along the lake in yak tracks, the late sun on the horizon above the lake looked like someone spread apricot jam across a rent in the clouds. Snowflakes hit my face. Ice below the snow along the path was slick and see-through. The lake waves cut up onto the cold pebbles of the shore, like a thousand icy tongues. The air was cold when I sucked it in, and each exhalation left a cloud of heat and moisture hovering just behind me for a second in the winter air.

It was the first time I’ve run along the bike path since snow has fallen, and it felt just like running in sand. It took more effort and balance than running on macadam, but there was also a certain new thrill to having the terrain be constantly changing. Today I realized that I’ve gotten to a new place about running in my head: my mind wants to run now and my body follows.

This didn’t happen accidentally or suddenly. It’s taken six months of repeated motion to get my brain in the habit of running—to form a groove in my being where my mind slips now with ease. And I know that if I stopped, given a couple of weeks—no more than a month—it would be gone. But today I sort of marveled at the capacity my mind has to move beyond the immediate intense pain of shin splints (the product of new shoes or the crazy jackrabbit sprint I’ve been doing) and for a few moments at least allow me to feel like I can do anything.

I know this is why the Juila Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way that it is vital to do morning pages and to go on ‘artist dates’ with oneself. Because it is exactly this inner freedom that gradually develops, creating momentum. I would never have imagined I’d be on the brink of committing to start training for a marathon (!), and yet here I am, wanting to test my outer limits. Wanting to do more than just run a couple miles. And I know that after if I can stick with writing every morning, taking time for myself to fuel my artistic soul, I will develop a similar kind of creative momentum.

Right now when it comes to writing that tricky shadow side of myself (that is quick to sabotage the best of my intentions) prickles up every time I sit down to write. I chicken out, write only first drafts, balk at following through. But I’m starting to realize that just as this side of myself exist, so does the fiery side that enables me to burn through my own resistance. This is why I’ve jumped in.