Saturday, 24 May 2014

Chasing the Void

18mths ago I started running.

It wasn't until I started running that I really found something that was just for and only for ME.

Something that wasn't for any other reason than itself.

It has been a life changing gift.

I have been a long time fan of Haruki Murakami's writing but it was when reading his book 'What I talk about when I talk about running' that I really thought about the concept of doing something in order to do nothing.

I guess it is a kind of meditation really.  A way of clearing the mind.

When I started to run I needed to do ALL I could to distract myself from the fact that I was as unfit as I was & that taking part in running was merely a way of getting fit.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

I listened to music at first to try and make the time go faster but when I did this I seemed to start trying to run in time to the track playing which has near dire consequences when one is running on a treadmill.

Think: Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.
Not pretty but very funny.

So I started listening to podcasts - my faves are This American Life & Freakonomics. 

Then slowly over time as my fitness improved I realised I had stopped listening.

I had stopped listening to anything at all.

It was just me & my breathing.

“I just run. I run in void. Or maybe I should put it the other way: I run in order to acquire a void.”  (Murakami- What I talk about when I talk about running)

I was chasing the void.

“When I'm running I don't have to talk to anybody and don't have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can't do without.”  (Murakami- What I talk about when I talk about running)

The need for me to have something in my life that was nothing at all had become one of my very favourite things of all.

I would never have believed that 18mths ago I could tell you how much joy running gives me.

I would never have believed that I could tell you I was actually fit. Fitter than I have ever been my entire life.

I would never have believed that what I chased was solitude and emptiness and that the end result of finding those meant also finding a sense of fulfilment.

“What’s most important is what you can’t see but can feel in your heart. To be able to grasp something of value, sometimes you have to perform seemingly inefficient acts. But even activities that appear fruitless don’t necessarily end up so. That’s the feeling I have, as someone who’s felt this, who’s experienced it.” 
(Murakami- What I talk about when I talk about running)

It is still hard.  I have learnt that it will never stop being hard & that same 'hard' that stopped me once upon a time has become a reminder that most things are hard and that is ok. 

Everything will be ok.  It will.

I ran today after quite a long break due to family illness and plain lack of mojo.
During this time I looked longingly at my treadmill and knew it would give me joy but I just couldn't seem to get myself on it.

It was so great to get back on.

Losing myself to the void so I could find myself again.

This is one of those "cook something out of nothing" meals that is a total gem you know you will make again & again.
I made it a couple of weeks ago when I felt like something hot & I needed it quick!
A quick look in the fridge & the garden and hey presto there it was 15 minutes later.

  • 1 x 200g packet frozen spinach
  • 1 bunch Italian Parsley
  • 3 cups chicken or veg stock
  • S & P

Chuck the spinach into a saucepan and cook in the stock till defrosted.
Add the Parsley (stalks and all!) & immediately BLITZ till smooth.
Check seasoning and serve.
(I added Aleppo pepper and a dollop of Yoghurt to mine as I served)
Seriously scrumptious.

I think these dancers of awesome are in the void too.

1 comment:

  1. Love that song and I hadn't seen that clip, how fantastic thanks for sharing!
    Great post too. I made vichysoisse last week, love a good soup, I must try yours.


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