Friday, January 13, 2012

8495 Strides

I'm on a table with needles in my feet, head, stomach and chest. She tells me my pulse on the surface is wiry, like a guitar string being plucked. When I leave, it's with the assignment of moving out of my mind, staying out of my mind, and being in my stomach instead. "Be in your belly," she says as she puts her hand on my stomach. "Life is a lot different down here."

Half an hour later I'm on a Precor USA elliptical cross trainer. Sixty minutes of cardio every other day. That's the drill. Eleven minutes in I can hear Jimmy Carter: "Stop talking and start sweating." I am. Today I'm on the cross-country program, skiing up and down a skyline of boxes and yellow lights. Sometimes I'm flying, sometimes I'm climbing through sludge, as if I'm on an alien world with stronger gravity.

I drop into my stomach and look for my core, my truth. I know it's here somewhere. Not sure where the lights are though. I wonder if I'm in a dark underground cavern, about to slip beneath the liquid surface of a burning chemical fire that boils the flesh from my bones. That doesn't happen. I enter my fourteen billion year old soul and discover something like taffy, gum or Silly Putty. It's elastic, stretching and rotating around an invisible axis as I pump out another cross-training revolution. It feels like a rope connected to an anchor adrift in a bottomless ocean. I stay there and decide this must be my core -- an island of nothing, floating in the glow of a golden sun no one can see.

The TV keeps trying to suck me back into my mind, then out of it through a plastic straw into the artificial dream. They're talking about politics and Facebook again and I don't care. I refuse. I defy. I imagine a barbell flying through the screen and landing in the lap of the commentator. "Stop talking and start sweating." The media does not dictate my reality or what I think about. Better to stay in my belly. I'm founding a new country. I'm raising a flag of sovereign self on an island of nothing. Life is different down here. While needles and guitar strings dance across the surface, I'm building an empire of love, progress and strength.