Writing (and thus blogging) for me, and anyone else (although some might not know that) reveals rather than expresses. Those who aspire to become what they state, and those who search for who they are in what the state, neither has a pre-existing opinionated sod lurking behind all that verbiage. Aspiring to be someone, hoping to find someone, these ambitions are self-defeating because the illusive center is forever changing. What reveals itself as me/you is a forever fluid story, turning out new versions in each telling, not expressing approximations of an unmoving core. The thing with words, because they presuppose and thus evoke the existence of a speaker, is that one cannot talk about non-existence without getting into trouble. The above passage could equally well have started with Writing for me, and anyone else expresses rather than reveals, and make exactly the same argument.
However that may be, one thing is that is doable for me – ehh, who was that again – is to regularly reveal (or is express better?) another opinionated sod than the one talking in earlier posts. Even if only to make amends. This post is to say something nice about a company and a writer I’ve ranted about before.
I believe my mental affairs with the commercial promoters of the sport, like Salomon, has been a very mixed affair and bickering has dominated. More arguing about misleading visuals, slick PR, etc. (how nitpicking it always looks in hindsight, sigh…what is revealed is often not really to my liking…whose liking?), than giving due to their positive contributions. To be true to the facts: not always bickering, and that’s how I want to keep it. Sure, the ultimate fan is certainly a feel-good story, but why only focus on the branding effort and not on the story well told? I enjoyed watching the way this video highlights a community aspect of competitive running (another issue that I seem to argue about more than is healthy) that deserves recognition.
And then there is this iRunFar contributor whom I picked on. Although I stand by my questioning of his argument about grit, persistence, and some other tough-as-nails skills being at the heart of success in ultrarunning and life in general, my style is very much a picture-perfect confirmation of criticism revealing/expressing as much about the critic as about the criticized.
Let me use a quote from another iRunFar column, one that I very much enjoyed reading, and entice you to read too, to make amends:
Why judge anyone’s ego, or amount of ego? Why waste your time? How does it really affect your life? Ahh, I know! Could it be because we are really just comparing or analyzing the “ego maniac” to ourselves? Ashley says we sometimes forget about the true self and awareness, but I consider this a breach in one’s self-confidence. I’m only going to judge/hate on someone else because I’m insecure with myself. Otherwise, why the hell would I even care?
And reblog a recent post by Andy Jones-Wilkins that is all up my street, as close as it gets to a David Abram kinda approach as I’ve read since a long time. It’s also an example of the murky waters one gets into when trying to separate focusing inside from opening up to the world. Is the below showing the importance of running for therapeutic and/or self-exploration reasons, or for letting the ‘outside’ take over? What better illustration to show that it’s neither this nor that. Kudos to Andy.
February 13, 2015 by Andy Jones-Wilkins
I have always been impacted by the rhythms of the seasons. Be it the crispness of fall, the darkness of winter, or the heat of summer, seasonal changes and the sensory phenomena accompanying those changes have long affected my well-being in general and my running in particular. Spring, most of all, has the most significant impact on me.
As the calendar flips to February and thoughts of pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training flit into my head, the slowly increasing lightness in the sky brings inspiration and hope. First, it’s just one minute or so per day that the sky stays a bit lighter a bit longer but gradually the days get longer and my runs follow suit. Something about emerging from the darkness puts an added spring in my step.
Then, there are the smells. The distinct yet subtle smell of thawing earth underfoot is almost irresistible to me. Each year there seems to be one day that the flip is switched and the spring smells converge. They are at once alluring and familiar and they have the effect of stretching me and pushing me into places, internally and externally, that had been dormant for months.
As the dormant earth gives way to the softening, thawing soil, flowers, grasses, and buds emerge. Beginning slowly but quickly accelerating, these spring plants behave much like a 10k runner hitting his stride on lap eight. In the part of the country where I live, the crocuses and bluebells are particularly inspiring and in places around the world the universality of exploding spring colors alter the landscape and inspire hope both inside and out.
Finally, there is the warmth! The glorious power of the sun sets in and limbers my muscles and loosens my mind. After a winter of clenching tightness, the warming of the sky brings my temperature up. The miles flow by more smoothly, the air becomes a supporter rather than an obstruction, and the gradually heating land seems somehow easier to traverse.
Amidst all that the world throws at us these days, hints of spring provide a respite. A place that cannot help but be optimistic. A place that maintains equilibrium and represents growth. A place that fills my heart and mind with the promise of the future. And, indeed, this spring place, filled with sensory inspiration, is a place where we are simply meant to run.
That is a lot of words without a diversion, so here is one you’ll find more than appropriate as an ending to this penance for balance (yes, really hope you read that one too):