Some of us hear voices. No, not the kinds of voices that make for scary movies, but the voices that come from within, the limiting, fearful and accusative. We often attribute them to others, coaches, parents, teachers or anyone who at some point told us we were not good enough, smart enough, thin enough or just enough.
Whether a chance occurrence or something we heard repeatedly, at some point we internalized the voice and made it our own. We might still blame the source, but that isn’t fair; it’s really our own voice ringing in our ears now, and if we are honest, we’ve likely been that detractor in the life of someone else. But for our own negative inner voice, we’d do well to silence it and change the channel, and replace it with a better voice, again an internal voice that says true and hopeful things.
That is why many people run – it’s one of the big reasons why I started running. I was getting pretty tubby, slowing down, getting winded doing the simplest tasks and I realized I was physically in trouble. So, I started running to drown out that voice that kept telling me I was a fat old man, going to die young. Eventually, that voice went away.
Then as I began to seriously contemplate Aliyah, running was a way of asserting control over my fears of, “what if I couldn’t hack it?” and proving to myself I could do something hard and succeed.
Then I got here, and well, I kept running, cause this place is nuts sometimes! I ran with literally hundreds of new Hebrew words written on my arm, telling myself that I could learn a new language despite my age, I would one day communicate well (we are getting there!). I ran during rocket attacks, I ran when we thought we had lost a pregnancy, I ran when nothing made sense and I started to forget why I came in the first place.
Then I started training for my first marathon, at the time an almost impossible dream, along with beginning University in Hebrew! This became the metaphor for my life – the insanely hard task becoming a deeply rewarding experience. In the last 3 years, I’ve nearly completed my degree, have run 6 marathons, 2 ultra-marathons and countless 5k-21k races, and nearly 10,000 km in total.
The voice I hear now, sounds more like the things I said to my wife while she was giving birth, “You’ve got this, you were made to do this. You are way stronger than you ever thought possible. Dig deep, it’s all there, you just need to tap into it.”
So, during this time of war, like those other trying times, I’m silencing the voices, the one that says that I’m fearful, that I was an idiot to come here – I choose to run to conquer anxiety and tension. I run to actually slow my brain down, to stop thinking, to meditate, to pray for my many friends, colleagues and professors at the front. Instead of the voices of fear and anxiety, I choose the voice of hope.