I want to share something really cool with you. But for you to really experience it, here’s what you need to do. Get a backpack. Put a blanket at the bottom of it. Put 20 pounds of bottled water or canned veggies on top of that. Shove another blanket around said bottles and cans (this keeps the cans from digging into your back). Put on the backpack. Get on the treadmill. Walk for at least 30 minutes, maybe at an incline. Enough so that you are slightly fatigued and the heart rate is up. Stop. Take the backpack off.
Go do it. I’ll wait.
OK, what happened? For me, I get this wonderfully transcendent floating feeling as my arms just want to raise and I feel like a huge weight has lifted off of me. Oh yeah, it HAS. I took the 20 pound backpack off. And suddenly I feel so much lighter, floaty, like I might just levitate a couple inches off the ground. Where just moments ago, I was grumbling at how heavy my legs felt and having to plop one in front of the other, now I was literally taking the stairs two at a time, almost leaping and dancing my way up from the exercise room. Not to mention I have to sing the words 'free floating' in a Tom Petty style while bouncing up the stairs with my arms above my head. So weird.
But it’s a wonderful feeling. I’m not sure what this tells me about myself, God, or the universe around me, but I’ve decided I like the idea of experiencing free-floating from time to time. I’ll try not to get addicted to it as I’ve already learned that it takes a little longer on the treadmill at a slightly steeper incline for me to get that same feeling. Wow, it really does sound like a drug (I just need a LITTLE more, man!)
There are other times I’ve experienced that completely empty, weightless feeling. That transcendent floating above your body. Like when you’ve had a really good cry. Just sobbed and snotted all over until you were so dehydrated and spent there were no more tears left. Yeah. Like that.
Or like when a moment of unexpected sheer beauty takes your breath away. That moment when nothing else exists but you and the wild dolphin swimming around you. Or the energy you feel when standing in a spring thunderstorm, and that moment where you are simultaneously one with the grandiose scene ALONG with realizing just how small you are when compared to such strength as the wind and lightning. So large yet so small. Yeah. I love that.
Not that I want the grief or pain to sob like that too often. Nor do I want to actually be struck by lightning. And I do want to build up my stamina so I can carry 30 (or closer to 40) pounds with ease for longer and longer periods of time. So, that free-floating feeling seems to only come with trial, or at least with a price. But perhaps, that is the gift in the pain or exhaustion. It is the gift of being completely emptied and filled simultaneously. It makes those moments of overly hard work, or painful emotions, or sudden shifts in worldview possible. And even, perhaps, enjoyable.