When I go for a walk it has to be so long and treacherous that I am practically crawling at the end.
It is only when I am completely depleted and defeated that I give up trying to control it. It’s an experiment in surrender.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me to think this way. But I find the mental aspect fascinating.
People have asked me over the years why I wish to punish myself like this, and occasionally this makes me think I must be punishing myself. But really, I come at it from a place of both curiosity and a need to slow my brain down.
I am always curious about the human breaking point – about my breaking point. What breaks first – the mind or the body? And if the body is strong, how does the mind break? But if the mind is strong, can it overcome the body breaking?
A lifetime ago (that is, Before Child) I was powerlifting competitively. Whether you complete a lift or not, whether you make it through a tough training session or not – it’s all in the mind. Or, more to the point, it’s more in the ability to get out of the mind, quit thinking, and just Do The Thing. The enormity of it all takes over easily – Do I really need to lift 140kg two more times? Holy FUCK that’s heavy! It’s HEAVY. FUCK. But then of course you need a little bit of mind-body awareness ticking along to tell you if you’re about to injure yourself or not.
So I walk long distances because I desire to get out of my mind and into a place on Earth that involves no thinking beyond the next step. Mummying has sent my mind into overdrive and although I am capable of hearing the leaves rustle in the breeze and melting into sparkles floating on the water, I am no longer capable of getting completely out of my mind without deep meditation or being so physically exhausted that the only thing to think about is making it back in one piece.
And then again I wonder if I’m punishing myself, but no, it is also coming back to my curiosity about the human breaking point, or perhaps it is more the incredible ability we have as humans to continue breaking records in speed, strength, and endurance.
Did you know I once decided to run a 53km race that was a ~4km loop course purely to see if I would go crazy from running round in circles or start hallucinating? Neither happened, but I did win 😉