Too often we look for things to distract us in life. Television…celebrity gossip…drinking…anything to avoid looking within ourselves. Exercise isn’t any different. Go inside any big gym and you’ll see countless people mindlessly pedaling away on a recumbent bike or strolling on a treadmill, staring at the television, reading a magazine, simply to distract themselves and missing the opportunity to go deeper physically and mentally. Pain avoidance beyond the physical. Even in my gym at times, clients can be too focused on what’s happening outside of them. “I need a better song to get through this” or simply going through the motions because they are overly engaged in conversation. Don’t get me wrong…there are times it serves it’s purpose and we need to go at a lower gear to get through it. But most times it’s a squandered opportunity to truly accomplish something. Growth.
The majority of time when I workout…I’m inward. Sometimes miles…light years within myself. Focused on reaching a new threshold and embracing the challenge to see what I’m truly made of. But it’s also a process of self-discovery and a means to healing myself. “Exorcising” my demons so to speak (How’s that for a play on words?). I don’t exercise to hide or escape from my demons, but rather run right at them. We dance in the flames created by my burning lungs and flesh. Ultimately it becomes a contest to see which one of us will burn first…me or them. God help them they don’t stand a chance.
The point is exercise is an opportunity to reflect and come to the realization that any of the physical pain brought upon yourself in the gym pales in comparison to moments in your life that have caused “real pain.” The loss of a loved one, having your heart broken, regrettable mistakes, pain you’ve caused others…insert whatever your “pain” is and those last two reps or final mile that you thought were insurmountable is pretty smooth sailing by comparison. If you’ve survived “pain” you sure as hell can survive the toughest workout thrown at you.
The only way to reach enlightenment is to look at our inner darkness dead square in the eyes and go to work. And that’s my approach…my inner and outer worlds colliding. Some days it can be cataclysmic, but I’m so much better for it every single time. I feel renewed, a better version of myself, one step closer to healing old scars and more prepared for new ones that inevitably will come.
So I implore you. Go to that place and I promise you’ll truly morph into a “healthier” person as a result.
Stay physical and go inward.