It must have happened about a third into my run a few days ago. I was listening to my mp3 player as I usually do, my training getting more Brighton-Marathon-focused these days, each song propelling me up, incline after incline. Then, all of sudden a particular track kicked in and I felt a strange sensation. For some reason, the lyrics seemed to unveil a secret hitherto buried: Way over yonder/Is a place that I know
Where I can find shelter/From a hunger and cold/And the sweet tastin' good life/Is so easily found/A way over yonder, that's where I'm bound.
I must have listened to Carole King’s Way Over Yonder a thousand times before. One of my favourite records is the Tapestry album. But on this occasion King’s timeless composition took on a different meaning.
January has come and gone and for those who make New Year resolutions, a fresh start along with practical strategies is de rigueur. How to identify and maintain willpower, stick to a plan, set one goal at a time and learn from failure, are some of the elements that make up this “New Year, New Me” approach.
Not for me, though. For starters, I do not make New Year resolutions. Secondly, for the last four or five years, I have begun to reach more into myself, to attempt to deepen an understanding of who I am. This is where King’s song comes into the picture. A first listen (and multiple ones after, perhaps) might make one think that Way Over Yonder is a religious-themed tune. All this talk of “garden of wisdom” and “the land where the honey runs” invites a Bible-friendly reading of the song.
And yet, for me, this garden of wisdom is to be found within myself and not in a holy book. It is the place where I would like to believe I have planted myriad plants, flowers and trees throughout my forty-seven years (and counting) and which I need to tend to regularly.
Last summer I began to impose a social media curfew on myself. There was a strong reason for it which I will not discuss here (no, there was no addiction. It was more creativity-related). There were such positive side-effects, however, that I decided to extend the curfew beyond my six-week-long, annual leave. Add the meditation I have been doing for the last three or four years, plus mindfulness, plus a more positive attitude in general (less anger, more thinking) and my body and mind together have become Carole King’s land where the honey runs.
Without wanting to sound too preachy, sometimes we look at external elements to help us keep a healthy equilibrium of brawn and brains. We tend to forget – and that’s happened to me – that the real balance lies within. Start from within and everything else falls into place. Well, most of the time.