Gosh, it was dark out this morning at 5:40 when I stepped out the door to run. It was hard getting out of bed knowing it was cold and windy outside. But I gathered up the gear to run outside and tucked the zipper tabs of my Proviz360 jacket into the pockets so they wouldn’t whap-whap-whap on my chest during a three-mile run.
I’ve been doing this running thing so long I almost feel like a hologram out on the road. My conscious thoughts seem to emanate from a hollow space in the brain evolved just to generate light thoughts on a dark morning.
It is often the dark thoughts that rattle around the front of my brain at first. Those are the thoughts that weigh your head down. Force it back on the pillow. It might be hard to describe why they make your mind feel so heavyif you’re not a person who experiences dark thoughts much. But they do.
Typically it takes a half mile to shake free from dark thoughts rattling around the forehead. Whether financial or relational, work-based or political, those dark thoughts cling to the inside of the mind like thought velcro. They make a dull ripping sound when they finally break loose.
Then creativity can enter the front of the brain again. It hangs around outside the front of the brain like someone waiting for a persistent lodger using single-hole potty in a public building. There is brief eye contact when the dark thought emerges. A polite smile perhaps. Then the Dark Thought mutters, “Sorry, I had to deal with some real shit in there.”
And then it goes on its way.
Running with all this going on in the brain might seem a bit distracting. It’s easy to lose sight of the pace in those moments, or feel that it’s important to run at all.
But I know my way around my own brain. So I took a deep breath and let out a low growl while running up the hill on Hickory Lane. The asphalt is black on that road and the sky above was still dark as sin. So I let out another growl to let the world know I was going to move along even if the morning refused to get light anytime soon.
If this all sounds dramatic, it’s really not. It’s just part of the process for someone that has done this sort of thing so long it seems as familiar as the opening credits of a movie. Dark thoughts move into the distance like the words in a Star Wars introduction. Light thoughts enter in, and May the Force Be With You.
And then, as if on cue, the eastern sky began to lighten on my return trip. Another day alive on this earth. I’d already begun to imagine new ventures to build around my series of book projects. Meanwhile, my feet kept up their tap-tap-tap on the dark asphalt and I actually felt quite fine inside.
Light thoughts on a dark morning. There aren’t many better reasons to do what we do.