Thursday, March 8, 2012

The 'Good Crazy' and The 'Bad Crazy'.

 "A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?" Albert Einstein
"What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?" Ursula K. Le Guin
One of my all time favorite movies, for so many reasons, is "You Can't Take It With You". My home and my mind and my soul often mirror the scene above. We lovingly refer to ourselves as the "fairly freaky family" because, well, we seem to be just a little 'different'. And I have come to know 'good crazy' (in my opinion, depicted so beautifully in this film) and 'bad crazy'. And right now I'm doing my best to hang on to the 'good crazy' and to usher the 'bad crazy' swiftly out the door.

This dichotomy seems to present itself every time I ramp up the mileage as an important race approaches - everything comes rushing at me all at once - demands, demands, demands...Argggg - Something has to give, and now. Trying to do too much and pay attention to too much is a recipe for a frazzled, unfocused soul susceptible to snapping at the least irritation.

Except for when I am out there running. Ahhhhh...

And here I am again, 38 days from Boston, in desperate need of a reality check. I need to learn to go with the flow, to stop sweating the small stuff, to let things slide a bit. "Just focus on what's important. Just focus on what's important..." I chant to myself. Where is the Taoist in me? I want to be soft, quiet water shaping and smoothing the rock.

Over the last month things seem to have slipped through my fingers. Being concussed and then sick has left me in catch-up mode, scurrying to regain a handle my job, my family, my home, my training...

And then I go for a run. Ahhhhhh...

Two weeks ago a wind storm tore through Boulder with 100 mph winds. The fence between our yard and our neighbor's blew down, and has been lying there ever since - a symbol, it seems, of my disheveled life. Then there's the roof shingles that blew off. Oh, thanks. I really needed that right now. And yet, what's the rush? Nothing's on fire.

The stack of bills waiting to be dealt with, the ungraded papers, the tests to write, the lectures that you don't prepare for, the piles of laundry, and the car is way way way overdue for an oil change, but when is that gonna happen. There's coaching clients to email, interview questions to finish answering...Blog posts to write ;) Then there's the dentist appointments, the doctor's appointments, and the vet appointments (where you learn that your 15 year old dog will not be with you for much longer)...And then there is the mess that is my house, a veritable clutter factory...the nightly calls to my mom, which I've made every single night since her cancer diagnosis in March 2011. And while running a fair amount, I'm still trying to climb at a fairly high level (though I am just in maintenance mode right now). And all of this requires intricate scheduling with my husband's and daughter's needs and wants. Eiiiiieeeee. I'm gonna scream.

And then I'm out there, running. Ahhhh...

Socrates maintained that life, itself, is not worth living. Rather, it's a good life that's worth living. An essential part of a 'good' life is knowing the difference between what matters and what does not matter. It's all too easy to get sucked into the busy-ness of life and get dragged down by it - into the vortex and down the drain, spinning out of control - that's the 'bad crazy'.
"Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued." Socrates
What is the difference between a full and rich life, and a hectic and frazzling frenetic life? Attitude. For some cultivating a good attitude, one that promotes a flourishing life (for one's self and all those they care about), comes more easily. For others, it takes an effort. But attitude directs actions and feelings and these shape one's character through habit. We are, forever, a work in progress.
"Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character." Albert Einstein
And so I go for a run, and when I'm out there I stumble upon much needed clarity, insight, and I know the difference between what matters and what does not matter...for a while.

But it doesn't always stick. And so I need another fix. And so I go out there...and I run. And when I come home I am ready to dance with my family and let the rest of it blow away in the wind.


  1. Getting away from it all is one of the things that I love about running. I am so much better equipped to handle what's thrown my way after I've been out for a run. I feel like I *can* do anything. It'll all be there when I get back from my run, or out of the ice bath or hot shower. Whether I like it or not. But with a clear mind, it all seems possible.

  2. So much going on for you! I think in a way it is a wonderful mess you have going on!!!! Boston will be lovely for you...just take it one crazy moment at a time.

  3. that some time off from running

    1. Umm, I think you meant "take" not "that" - and if so, I couldn't disagree with you more.

  4. Home run (yet again) Caolan! Running has been my time of solitude -- no noise (been sans music for 4 months) but what's "out there" so I can hear what's "in here". My life has so needed that the last 4 months and will continue to.


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