People wonder why we hit the stopwatch and lift barbells and run and do those stupid burpees. (And they are stupid, even if they are effective.)
I wonder that sometimes, too. It would be easier not to do any of it. (And warmer to stay in a cozy bed or sit on that oh so comfy couch.) Easier not to feel the stomach drop at hearing “3-2-1-Go.” Easier not to face the terror of what lies ahead … and within us.
Because, after GO, we must act.
- There is no turning back
- No sitting
- No resting.
No running out the door to the car and home and safety no matter how desperately you want to flee and you do want to flee, you want to run run run but not in a healthy way, in a safety way back to the safety of doing less or doing nothing.
But that path is not ours anymore. Instead we face ourselves. Each and every workout we face ourselves. Every workout is its own Come-to-Jesus meeting, whether we are religious or not.
And the object of our reckoning? Not the others in our class, not the competitors on the gym floor, not anyone outside of our own skin.
The object of our reckoning is ourselves.
We must coax those frightened and hurting parts of us through the pain, sometimes like we would help a scared child cross the road (“C’mon honey, take my hand. It’ll be okay”) and sometimes like a Drill Sergeant facing a misbehaving trainee (“GET MOVING! YES IT HURTS BUT SO FUCKING WHAT”).
We face ourselves, and we face the life inside:
- the passion
- the rage
- the anger
- the love
- the kindness
- the agony
- and the ecstasy of being human, supremely human.
We face all of it.
Maybe some people are scared of facing that life inside. Maybe that’s why they don’t do what we do.
Maybe they’re worried that they don’t have what it takes, or maybe they are worried that they do – and that their rage revealed in plain day and unleashed cannot ever be contained again. Maybe they think their newly awakened rage will run amuck, smashing everything and everyone in their lives until nothing is left but pieces and pieces and pieces and tears. So many tears.
I can understand that.
And then I sucked in air and went on.
I found my way. They will find theirs. And you have found yours. It just happens to include sweating and a barbell.
So exorcise the demons when you exercise. Move through them again and again, until maybe you can reach past them to love or acceptance or simple co-existence. It won’t be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. But it is worth trying and you know that.
Don’t be scared of the life inside you. Look it hard in the face, and love all parts of it. This is you. Get moving.