Chasing My Shadow
My shadow has a heartbeat. It goes bum-bum-ba-dum-bum-ba-dum-dum. My shadow has a voice. It calmly says “Time. Eleven. Minutes. Forty. Eight. Seconds.” My shadow eats the ground, chewing up the pavement and spitting it out. It’s always heading west. And I’m always chasing it.
I build scaffolding in my mind – ideas about what my relationships are like, plans about what my future will be, intentions about what I’ll do today, notions of who I am. It’s all just chasing shadows. The only difference is that when I run, I’m doing it honestly. I have time to think, and suddenly I see so much more than that shadow on the ground.
I started running not based on any present need nor any current desire. It’s something I do in order to reassure myself that all my future plans will come to fruition. I do it so I can feel less anxious about something that hasn’t even happened yet. But look at me! I’m running! That’s real so the future I’m doing it for has to be real too, right?
There’s something I want so badly, but I didn’t know how badly until I was disappointed – not for the first time or the third, but an uncountable number of repeated disappointments. I like to think I’m unattached, full of patience and equanimity and not at all emotional. But this one last disappointment left me crying all out of the blue.
I realized then that every plan I make is just scaffolding to prop me up with hope. I can survive no having what I want today by planning on getting it tomorrow. Not such a big deal, people do it all the time, but there’s a deeper delusion here. I can let myself think I’m not too attached to that thing I want because the plan is there, staving off disappointment that I don’t have it yet, floating me on hope that I will have it someday.
But I am attached! I want it! I want to go visit my family and we keep trying to make plans, but nothing ever seems to work out. I want it so badly it leaves me sniffling into my cell phone and trying to explain why I’m just as surprised as he is to find myself tear-soaked. I have this notion of myself as a calm, strong, independent woman who can survive on her own, far, far away from home for as long as it takes. Just another shadow.
So I run, I study, I make plans, and I tell myself it’s okay if they don’t work out when the opposite is true. I do a million things today to make myself feel better about tomorrow.
Silly rabbit. Why are you still chasing your shadow?