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Monday, March 2, 2009

The Dry-Erase Board that Lives in My Brain

Kicking off my week away is a favorite here around MWOB and one killer writer, Kath.  She's part of the larger rescue plan I have going on over here but she doesn't know it yet.  

All I know is every time I read her words, I want to jump through the computer or jump on a plane and go give her a huge hug.  I love this chick. Here's Kath:

This morning, I went for a nice, long run. 

I started running for exercise a little over a year ago, which is completely ironic to me because I’ve always hated running. I played lots of sports as a kid and I didn’t mind running in short bursts, but sustained long distance running was truly loathsome to me. 

I think it was that dang burning in my chest that I hated the most. Ten minutes into a run, it would set in. Like someone had their hands wrapped around each of my lungs and they were squeezing them. Hard. Like they were wringing out a wet washcloth. 

Man, I hated that feeling.

As I grew older, I’d try running again every so often. But, never fail, 10 minutes into the run, I’d have to make that crucial decision: head home for a warm cup of coffee and the daily newspaper, or continue to run and possibly cough up a lung on the sidewalk. 

Really, the choice wasn’t difficult.

But for whatever reason, about a year ago, I decided to give running one more chance. This time, I pushed through the pain a little harder. And something miraculous happened. 

I think I experienced for the first time what people commonly refer to as the “runner’s high.” Boy, was this ever cool! Not only did the burning in my chest disappear completely, but my legs felt strong and fresh. I literally felt like I could run forever. But the best part, the truly best part, was what happened to my momma’s brain. 

I usually picture my momma brain like a large (okay, sometimes not-so-large) white board. On that whiteboard is “my ongoing to-do list” which consists of lots of different tasks and responsibilities listed in different colored dry-erase markers. Even though the specific tasks might be different, all moms have some sort of “list” scrolled in their brain. Something like this:

Schedule dentist appointment.
Out of milk…pick some up.
Cupcakes for class party.
Load(s) of laundry.
           Oil change in the car.           
Costume for class play.
Baseball practice/game.          
Pay gas bill. 

But, I digress. 

Because, you see, when I get into my groovy place on a run, I can see this enormous eraser come and start to wipe off my whiteboard. With each step of my feet (“pound, pound, pound…”) I can see big sweeps of that eraser making my whiteboard clean… sparkling and glistening in all its sheer emptiness. 

And, man, is that ever liberating.

So, this morning, when I was on my run and my whiteboard was shining in all its pure, well, whiteness, something really cool happened. Natalie Merchant started crooning through my ipod ear buds. And she spoke to me, she really spoke to me:

“These are days, you’ll remember.
Never before and never since,
I promise,
Will the whole world be warm as this,
And as you feel it,
You’ll know it’s true, that you
Are blessed and lucky.
That you, are touched by something,
That’ll grow and bloom, in you….”

I thought, “Natalie!! Right on!” How true these words were. These really are incredible days. 

I know I get so caught up sometimes in completing the tasks, too hung up on all the responsibilities on my whiteboard. I often focus on getting through my days instead of really living them. 

Because this is life. The everyday moments. 

Life doesn’t start at some arbitrary point in our lives (“when I graduate” or “when I get married” or “when I have kids” or….any other event). Life is the here and now. The spilled milk, the sticky kisses, the fights over bedtime. The chaos, the craziness. The snuggled-up quiet moments. It’s all of those tasks on our “to-do” lists that we can either look at as items to be completed or moments to be experienced. Because one day (a day that will come much too soon for my liking), I’m certain I will look back on these days, and I will miss them. Deeply. If only -

Holy sh**! 

No, literally, I’m talking CRAP

At that very moment, I stepped in an enormous pile of dog feces right in the middle of the sidewalk. You’ve GOT to be kidding me.

Man, that really killed my buzz.

What was I saying?


  1. Man, maybe I should take up running. I'll try to miss the crap, though.

  2. great post! something for everyone! i laughed, i cried...i remembered how much i love 10,000 Maniacs.

    i am the opposite, though. when i get my second wind, my body kind of goes on auto-pilot and my brain goes into overdrive.

  3. I'm thinking I need to take up running again - you make it sound so appealing, crap and all!!

  4. OOOOOH....I gotta try white board is in serious need of an eraser!

  5. Kath - GREAT post. And, yes, you've even managed to make running sound appealing which for me is a MIRACLE!!!!

    I just may have to try because that erasing of the board is just too tempting.

  6. I hate running equally as well!!! But b/c i dont want my peanut to carry my oxygen tank, nor do I want to die a painful death I arranged on myself...I am taking running up again! I vowed this is it, as soon as you can breath normally outside without your snot freezing, I am on my way. Only way to quit smoking, and I want my white board sounds appealing :)great post!

  7. Thanks for this great post, Kath - I do believe that exercise is a GREAT way to clear the brain clutter and focus on what matters. My problem is getting off my lazy computer chair butt and doing it. I'm w/Nature Lovin' Super Mom - when the snow melts and I can't see my breath, I'm there with you. My body & my psyche need it! I'll start with a run up and down my driveway. If that goes well, I may go to end of the street! In the meantime, I'll practice going up and down my stairs without having a coronary! Thanks again, Kath - sorry about the crap.

  8. I love the comparison to the white board. Love it.

    That's exactly what it is, isn't it???

    Excellent, excellent, excellent post.

  9. LOL! Loved reading this :)

    I can certainly relate to this.

    Especially that 10 minute running limit. I am such an anti-runner. But reading this makes me want to press on and try to journey into that place of possible lung explosion/ runner's high....

    ...maybe :)

  10. I have caught myself doing this A LOT lately, most especially in relationships! And I need to remember to think NOW instead of always thinking to what's next.

  11. I've had the wrong attitude towards life for a long time. "It will be great as soon as I..." You are right , all the things we do TODAY are life.

    thanks for this

  12. Good stuff! I don't often *actually* chuckle at blog posts, but you caught me out.


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