Blankening is the process by which hard physical effort erases your psycho-emotional mind. It’s a word I just made up and possibly the title of my #1 best-selling, self-help debut. “I need to get my blank on,” someone might say, jocularly. We all probably need to get our blank on.
I spend a lot of time looking for transcendent physical experiences (stop it), the runs, rides, hikes, etc. that transport me away from my earth-bound, ego-plagued self and into close commune with the infinite, flow states, spirit lifters. The conditions for an experience like that always exist. No combination of geography and weather is immune to the possibility of transcendence.
But we bring baggage. I do.
I bring expectations and resentments and anger with me. I bring doubts and insecurity. And when I’m very lucky I reach a purgative place (purgatory?), where a little extra effort will burn off the bilious vapors and let me access that other place.
Yesterday I ran through a held resentment, expressed some anger, owned my part in it all, felt sad, and then channeled that sadness into the trail. Up to that point, I was struggling, and I had little hope for the run coming good. Sometimes it’s like that. I accept that the run is not going to go well, but I am going to keep going. That’s endurance. That’s enduring. That’s what I come for.
But I blanked.
The work set me free, if only for a little while, and I finished tired, but also lighter and looser and better than I started.