By Bob Livingstone
Continued from part 1 of the article…..
I remember my father turning away from me with a blank look that told me what an utter disappointment I was to him. I remember him dying shortly after that.
I could relate to my client’s feeling that nothing was ever going to change and despite how hard they worked to improve their situation; they were still feeling bad about who they were and lost faith that their lives would get better.
This was how I was feeling when I began my run and now that I had a clear sense of what was troubling me, in spite of the seemingly many obstacles blocking my path, I was ready to face it and see what I could do to make myself feel better.
Then the Promised Land came through the headphones. This is a song about believing in the power of redemption, faith and no matter how distraught your life seems; you will find a way to the light.
As the sweat poured down my face and fogged up my sun glasses, I knew I was onto something and could feel the intensity of the music as I pounded my legs up and down hills. I marveled that at age 62 I was running faster than most Americans of any age could ever hope for.
I thought about those people who have inflicted emotional and often physical pain upon others. I was reflecting on the new found knowledge that one out of every three women suffers from domestic violence mostly at the hands of her male partner.
I know I have helped transform many of these victims into warriors who learned to hold their ground and stand up for themselves. They learned to stay out of abusive relationships and to take control of their lives. I feel very proud of my work here.
As I continue to run and notice that my muscles are loose and thoughts are coming out fast and furious. I seem to be able to face the most difficult of emotional pain while I am exercising and at this moment I am seized by the moment.
Most people my age are thinking about closing shop and heading to retirement: not me-I am focusing on my dreams and how I can make them come true.
I have images of men and women who have really hurt others. They come across as predators, but deep inside they are terrified children. This is a part of them that is hidden. I hope to help the woman who pushes everyone away with her rage. I hope to help heal the man who batters and belittles those physically weaker than him.
I imagine teaching these people how to do what I am doing today; to face and work through their emotional pain while exercising. Many will say that these folks cannot and will not change. I say that we should discard these beliefs and build a new model for discovering and working through hidden pain.
If you would like to learn more about how to heal your emotional pain through exercise while listening to music, please check out my book The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise.
– Bob Livingstone is the author the critically acclaimed Unchain the Pain: How to be Your Own Therapist, Norlights Press 2011, The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise, Pegasus Books, 2007 and Redemption of the Shattered: A Teenager’s Healing Journey through Sandtray Therapy, Booklocker 2002. He is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker in private practice in The San Francisco Bay Area and has nearly twenty five years experience working with adults, adolescents and children.