Raw. Hurt. Angry. Teary. Shock. Annoyed. Worried. Relieved. Blessed. Angry. Tired. Drained. Angry. Confused. Shocked. Angry. Relieved.
Over and over again yesterday and today, all these emotions were rushing through me. Through so many of us. Yesterday started on a joyful note as I got an email from my dear friend Sarah entitled: "Happy Boston-versary!" saying that me and the Boston Marathon are forever linked in her mind. How much has changed in 48 hours.
Shock as we turned on the TV staring. Confusion as we watched in horror. Boston? on Patriot's Day? Marathon Monday? Why? Relieved as I looked up runners I knew were running and seemed to be safe enough away from the finish line having crossed or not crossed but away from the blasts.
Relief as I viewed fb post after fb post of friends letting friends know through tags and through comments and emails that they were ok. Blessed at the number of people concerned for me and my own family!
Then more anger. Sadness. Anger. This is our town. Our race. Our community.
I don't know what you do when you feel angry, but I turn to someone who has helped me recognize my anger: Thich Nhat Hanh.
"Breathe to take care of your anger" he says. To me this is so fascinating because as a runner, I know when I hit the sweet spot and want to run on and on and on, when my breathing clicks.
"When the energy of anger, jealousy, or despair manifests in us, we should know how to handle it, otherwise we will be overwhelmed by it and suffer tremendously."
I am going to assume that yesterday's and most if not all of these acts that harm and terrorize are rooted in anger, I refuse to allow my own anger to consume me and fan those flames.
Here are some exercises from TNH.
1. Contemplating a person in anger, I breathe in. Seeing the suffering of that person, I breathe out.
2. Contemplating the damage from anger to self and others, I breathe in. Seeing that anger burns and destroys happiness, I breathe out.
3. Seeing the roots of anger in wrong perceptions and ignorance, breathe in. Smiling to my wrong perceptions and ignorance, I breathe out.
4. Seeing myself burned by the fire of anger, I breathe in. Feeling compassion for myself and others burning with anger, I breathe out.
Lastly, when I ran Boston 2 years ago, I ran for life,for saving lives through the work that Dana-Farber does here in Boston. I have a reverence for life, and I take this vow:
Reverence for Life
"Aware of the suffering caused and the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life."
I run for the joy that it brings. For life. And I will keep running tomorrow for all those that can't.