happiness

Finding My Spirit Through Running.

I never anticipated that I would find running to be spiritual.

Whenever my significant other attempted to persuade me into running, I would throw my head back and laugh. “Are you joking? I’m not a runner,” was my standard response. I’m not a runner. That line alone has showed me how I have chosen to define myself, and hold myself back. I ran my first 7.5 km trail run this year — in fact, I have run three so far.

There was a moment during the first run where a vast space opened within me — my mind was free, and peace filled me up as if my heart was replaced by the gentle warmth of the sun. It was during that moment that a little voice in me said, “Uh oh, I think we might enjoy running.”

Let me just say that all my life I never considered myself a runner or sport enthusiast. People have even said to me that two years ago I would never have done this. I reflect on this often during my runs… am I truly a different person? I even joke sometimes that I do not know this person who runs, she is an unexpected part of me that I have unlocked.

Who is this woman? She is an inner strength that I never knew existed. When I am running, and I can feel how deeply my calves are screaming at me, she takes a deep breath in and out and she says, “No worries, keep going, keep looking ahead.” I listen to her obediently because she is so calm and centered. She knows what she wants, she is smashing goal after goal, setting a new pace after every race.

Running has made me grateful for every inch of my body. I am no longer obsessed with whether my thighs look thick or joke that my bum is so large, that it feels as if I am carrying around an extra person. I feel strong in this body, and I can appreciate this body because of that.

I am now starting to believe that perhaps a part of me was always holding myself back from running simply to avoid feeling the power that is coursing through my blood. Perhaps I was scared of this new woman who is doing things I had never expected would ever be done. Perhaps I was too scared to love my body. I remember now that with every inhale and exhale, I am grateful for this skin I am in.

I am grateful for my ego that is finally learning to work with my Higher Self, and enjoying itself along the way. I am grateful for being alive and breathing in fresh air, like a spiritual cleansing that happens every second. Every second I am reborn. I wish I had never waited so long to embrace this part of myself, but I also know that timing is everything.

This new woman emerging reminds me that I am transitioning into a new space in life.

For the longest time, being in my early 20s has been a terrifying ride of breakdowns and gritting my teeth to get back up again. It was the daily existential crises of Who am I? Where am I going?

The woman emerging has shown me that I am a lotus flower who is blossoming and is opening up to the world. She is teaching me that I can find peace in the spaces where I feel uncomfortable, if I just sit long enough through the pain.

Running has become a metaphor for the life that I am running towards, whilst remembering the many kilometers of my life I am leaving behind. It has also reminded me that it was those small steps that have led me to unearthing this new person I have discovered, and not the overachieving goals I usually set.

Running has taught me that life is about keeping your eyes on the road ahead, breathing in deeply, keeping your head high, and that when you are struggling to break through, to remind yourself, “No worries, keep going, keep looking ahead.” Listen to that woman inside you, she knows how to find the rainbow within you.

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Kulthum Fataar is an old soul, moving through life trying to find balance. She is deeply passionate about social work and advocating for mental health, and considers this her main purpose in life. She also absolutely ravages anything related to human behavior and how the brain works, which remains an endless mystery. Lately, there has been a surge to reunite and rediscover her creative self through writing and poetry, and find inspiration in nature and love. She enjoys Italian food, deep soul-penetrating conversations, the forest, reading for hours, and enjoying her human experience.

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