Connection and Recovery

There’s so much eloquent writing on yesterday’s events in Boston and how to begin to understand them, it feels presumptuous to add my voice. But here are two things I work on in my teaching, research, and writing.

Mom took this photo when she accompanied me at the 2008 Boston Marathon

Mom took this photo when she accompanied me at the 2008 Boston Marathon

1. Connection. Yoga connotes union, joining together, connection. In response to the question Why?, certainly the first question my children asked, I can imagine only a deep sense of disconnection—a misperception of separateness, that a violent action affects only an Other. The touching messages of concern from and for the running community I’ve heard from a wide range of folks, all the way from my students to the cheese-counter worker at the co-op, remind me that we are all fundamentally connected. These lines of connection are sometimes more direct than we think. I felt them in seeing an AP photo of a colleague (it’s graphic) who was standing at the finish line as the bombs went off and who had her life change in an instant. While I’m horribly sad, I’m also grateful to be reminded of the fundamental connection we all share.

2. Recovery. For the marathon runners, the mental, emotional, and physical stress of running the race itself is now compounded by the mental, emotional, and physical stress of the explosions’ aftermath. Some spent hours in confusion, many spent hours on their feet trying to locate their loved ones, belongings, and a place to stay. The usual recovery protocols will not be enough. It’s going to take much longer than usual to process the day’s events and to allow for the deeper physical restoration to happen, because the body understands all this stress on a physical level. What might usually be a two- or three-week process might now take two or three months. This isn’t the time to work on quickly turning around and training for a different fast or long race; it’s the time to go out for an easy run without a watch, to take a walk with a dog, to hike in the forest. As I texted another colleague who was finishing the race as the first blast went off (interviewed for that Charlotte Observer article), it’s the time to be extra, extra kind to ourselves. And, remembering our interconnection, to each other.