6×6 Week 5: Being a Body

Inspired by three amazing women in my life, I started running again exactly 5 weeks ago. I am a very (VERY) unambitious runner in terms of speed, but I have this deep wish to be able to run steadily for a long time if I would like to. 5 weeks ago the thought of doing a couple of 5km runs a week was entirely ludicrous, but now it is a reality. How does this happen? I certainly couldn’t do it on my own, and I would never have gotten going if the long runs had been my ambition at the start. I’m using an app with some coaching plans, and once I chose a program, I found I easily surrendered to the schedule. I just needed someone/thing to tell me what kind of run to do on which days and maybe talk me through it — and then to share progress with these other compadres. I love most the guided runs that are narrated by both the running coach and the guy who started the meditation app Headspace, because they talk A LOT about how being present in your body affects how you experience running. Well, how you experience everything. I realized all of the things I wanted to share today have something to do with the fact of being a body. Which admittedly, is something I already think about a lot.


a). When was the last time you were consciously aware of being a body moving through space? What were you doing? What were the sensations? If nothing comes to mind, choose an activity you like to do, preferably something that requires some movement, especially in some kind of sensory-rich way — like walking out side on these bright and crisp mornings. What are the senses you are most aware of? Are there ones that run more in the background? What happens when you make an effort to be more aware of your sense of smell, for example? Take 20 minutes and describe all of the sensory experiences you can think of when you engage in this particular activity.

b). (As always) respond to any of the following. What does it make you think of? What does it make you feel? What does it remind you of? What does it make you want to do/ see/ be?

Things by Irish artists/ makers inspiring me this week:

  1. Loah — I ran into Brian from Marrowbone Books the other day and have been thinking about how much I miss being able to spend time in there, especially cramming in with 25-30 other bodies to fog up the windows while listening to a performer, which is how I first heard this amazing person. Aside from the beautiful words and voice here, I love the movement of the dancers in the video.

2. “Giotto’s Circle” by Janet Mullarney (b. 15 March 1952 – d. 3 April 2020). I regret I didn’t know her work before learning of her death in April, but I’ve looked for her images since then. This one is on the cover of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s most recent poetry collection The Mother House, which I’ve been reading.

3. This poem by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, from The Mother House. I find it so interesting that Ní Chuilleanáin has written A LOT of poems about nuns. This one sort of gets at the heart of a mystery I have often thought about, including during visits I have made to monasteries: what is life like without all of the drama of modern existence, career, marriage, etc? I began to suspect exactly this thing that the poet describes, that, possibly, cloistered life is every bit as — if not more — dramatic than life outside, only all the dramatic moments are intensified somehow, surrounded by so much communal silence and prayer.

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