By: A Healing Steps Participant
When Kelly asked me to join Healing Steps, I had no idea what a therapeutic grief group had to do with running/walking. I thought it was really an odd combination. I was reluctant to join because being in a grief group was scary for me. Although I knew I wanted and needed to work through my grief, my fear stood in the way. I was terrified that if I allowed myself to acknowledge my grief, the grief I thought I had neatly tucked away in the back of my mind, it would never go away. The thought completely overwhelmed me.
The running part of the group really interested me though and I had wanted to get back into shape, so I decided to join. I thought this would be the perfect way to help hold me accountable, so that I would stick with exercising. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to get through the grief group, but I decided I was going to try.
What I didn’t realize at the time was how much of an impact the running group was going to have on me and how it would be the running group that actually pushed me and made me less fearful about dealing with my grief. I was taking my first “healing step” without even realizing it.
Running has tangible results. I could see my progress. As the weeks progressed, so did my strength and endurance. This motivated me to continue. I started to feel stronger- mentally and physically. I started to feel more capable and confident. Soon, I was even seeing it spread to other areas of my life.
Running started to become a time in my day where my thinking seemed to be really clear. There were no distractions. I was able to focus. Things slowly started to make sense and finally seemed to be “clicking”. Running was helping me gain some perspective.
Running is teaching me that I am stronger than I thought I was. I’m learning that even when I feel exhausted and just want to give up, I don’t need to get overwhelmed and quit. All I need to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and I’ll get there.
It wasn’t until after running the 5k that I finally realized why this unseemly combination of groups made perfect sense.
“Grief and Running are both endurance sports that require endless amounts of resilience and the ability to withstand pain, suffering and doubt.” -Anonymous
Before I joined Healing Steps, I felt like I wasn’t really living; I was just existing. I had stopped allowing myself to live life because my grief had been paralyzing me. I had stopped allowing myself to have goals and dreams.
When I completed the race, I got tears in my eyes, not just because I had completed the race, but I could feel the change deep within me. I set a goal for myself to run an entire 5K and I did it! I just stood there and looked around, and tried to take it all in. I couldn’t stop smiling because it felt so good.
I’m slowly starting to learn to live in the moment. I just need to think about that right now and take the next step; my next “healing step” in my life journey.