Covert use of performance enhancing substances â€” akaÂ â€œcheatingâ€ â€” is as old as organized sports.Â Even the Ancient Greeks are said to have takenÂ â€œpotions" to enhance their athletic prowess. Today, with oneÂ drug-cheating revelation after another splashed across the headlines, many people are so fed up they now regard most exceptional performances with skepticism and disbelief.
“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Jalauddin Rumi
For many people,Â dealing with the aftereffects of psychologicalÂ traumaÂ is a fact of life.Â Combat veteransÂ and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one inÂ four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Â Researchers have shown that survivors of accidents, disaster, and childhood trauma oftenÂ endure lifelong symptoms ranging from anxiety and depression to unexplained physical pain, fatigue, illness, and harmful “acting out” behaviors.Â For trauma survivors, seeminglyÂ ordinary experiencesÂ canÂ inexplicably evoke powerful impulses thatÂ can dictateÂ their responses toÂ daily life.
Research has shownÂ how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferersâ€™ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.Â Activities like music,Â meditation, drama,Â yoga,Â and sports involvement offer new pathways to recovery by stimulating theÂ brainâ€™s natural neuroplasticity. Creative therapistsÂ are employingÂ exercises that help people focus on bodily sensationsÂ becauseÂ itâ€™s largely through heightened body awareness thatÂ past traumas can be renegotiated and revisited rather than relived repeatedly.Â
Â Julia Cameron, writer of The Artistâ€™s Way recommends writing morning pagesâ€”three pages of freeÂ association first thing in the morningÂ every dayÂ as an informal therapy.Â Â I believe that distance runningÂ is an activity that can addressÂ the physiological roots of ourÂ emotions, in part by serving as an emergency “first-aid” measure during times of distress,Â offering immediate stress relief.Â In addition,Â The primal pleasure and pain of running can gradually neutralize the symptoms of traumaÂ by reforming the body and brain for the better. With qualified guidance, the sport can offer a hopeful vision for self-leadership in the healing process.
I love the story of Billy Mills for example. Here he describes how he used the law of attraction to achieve his goal at the 1964 Olympics. This is just a small insight into the mental preparation of an athlete. Visualization, mental imagery, mental rehearsal; there are many terms to describe it but they all circle back to the basic law of attraction. I love this quote by Billy Mills: “The subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination.”
The loneliness of the long-distance runner creates a potent field ofÂ concentration that empowers the brain, bringing a conscious clarity toÂ mundane thought patterns. OurÂ petty judgments andÂ opinions, the grudges we hold onto, and the stories we tell ourselves are more apt to simmer down, giving objective reality a foothold in our field of awareness. The silence has a quality and a dimension all its own. You can listen to silence and learn from it. When your run takes you outside and above the noise that frays the nerves, you can see yourself clearly, uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices. Then you can begin to face things exactly as they are.