“I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.” -Steven Jay Gould
Just as a caveat, this post may be a little different than my previous posts. I didn’t really want to talk about fitness too much today, but hopefully you or a friend will be able to get something out of my ramblings anyway.
Many of us right now have copious amounts of time that is unprecedented and in most cases, unasked for. If you’re like me, you’re used to having a full schedule with things and people taking up your time and energy. But now that we have so much time on our hands, it may be a good time to ask ourselves some tough questions that we may usually avoid. Simple, but poignant questions like, who are we, really? What do we actually want out of our life? What actually makes us happy? These are questions that are very easy to brush off when we are going on about our daily lives because they can be deep, soul-searching questions that might lead us down roads that may be difficult or painful. Sometimes our worst fear is alone-time with ourselves. For it is in those quiet moments we see truly how filled we are with things we may not like or maybe we feel empty with just ourselves. Maybe we use our busy schedules to mask the things we are filled with. Maybe we use our busy schedules to fill the emptiness we feel inside ourselves. Regardless, sometimes being alone can shed light on the true state of being we hold closely to underneath the surface that we show the world.
But now is the perfect time to sort through all of that. Most of us have nothing but time to sort out our minds and our hearts. Imagine that everything in your life that has happened or traits of who you are, for good or bad, are playing cards in a deck. Now is the time to sort through that deck of cards to see what is serving you and what is not. Take that deck of cards out, one by one, and figure things out as they come. We have an unprecedented opportunity right now to search within ourselves to really get to know our trues selves. To heal our true selves. To forgive our true selves. And learn from our mistakes so we change and move on to a better version of our selves.
I’ve managed to accomplish a lot of self-sabotage over the years, and most everyone I really get to know has experienced similar things with themselves. I went through a period of years where I was extremely insecure and made a lot of stupid decisions that messed me up emotionally and set me up to continue the cycle over and over. Like all downward spirals, I found a rock bottom. I’ve lived in poverty, I’ve lived through abuse, and I’ve lived through a period of time where I was pretty consistently suicidal. It wasn’t easy to break out of that, so I know all too well the turmoil some of you are going through right now and my heart goes out to you.
One thing that was a turning point point for me was when I sat down in front of the mirror and apologized to myself for all the hurtful decisions that made for myself. I may never get apologies from individuals that hurt me, but I can apologize to myself for allowing myself to be in the situation where they had the power to hurt me. And I promised to never do these things again and that I would work to earn my trust back in myself.
So if you have demons, I encourage you to embrace this time as an opportunity to take out the card deck of your life and deal with each card as it is and choose to let yourself to move on. Everyone moves on differently and I am not here to tell you how to move on or when or what it should look like. Obviously a therapist is the best choice to get advice from for moving on from painful things in your past or present, but solitude and self awareness for what you’re feeling and why is a good start.
Whether it’s moving on from painful things in your past or it’s moving on towards success and happiness, I cannot stress how important self awareness is. You cannot create a happy life if you are not aware of what in life actually makes you happy. If you only chase what you are told should make you happy, you’ll waste your life chasing what the media sells you in commercials. Too many people lose themselves in what the media says they should want. Hell, even the stereotypical American dream isn’t what will make a lot of people happy. For me, personally, I don’t want a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, fancy cars, fancy clothes, fancy toys, and a super busy social life. My dream is a minimalist shipping container home in the middle of acres of land that’s wild and wooded. A place where I can grow and hunt my own food and work from the solitude of my sanctuary. My life is nothing like that right now, but that’s what I’m working towards and I know that one day I will have.
My point is is that right now when we have this extra time on our hands, it’s the perfect time to self analyze, to heal, and think up a strategy that we can follow to live our best life. When life is normal, working 40 hours a week plus family obligation, social obligations, and pursuing hobbies has us too busy for deep, healing self-reflection and work. Because healing is hard work–don’t let anyone tell you differently. Creating new mental and emotional habits is tough work. Sometimes healing and creating new life habits is more difficult than living with pain is. Because after enough time, pain becomes normal and comfortable, doesn’t it? It becomes something to define ourselves with and a form of identity. And that may be why so many people avoid it. It takes time. It takes emotional energy. It takes mental energy. But I’m hoping that with this disruption of normal life, your are able to find the head-space necessary to put in the work on our own mind and your soul. It’s worth the effort, I promise.
Because what happens when you break through? What happens if your break through the darkness of your past? What happens when you break through your fears and feelings of emptiness? The possibilities of what you are capable of are waiting. I am a firm believer that everyone has a potential and that very few people are living up to the potential that they are born with, myself included. My disappointment with myself is one of the things that I have had to come to terms with, forgive myself for, and decide that I will pursue a life that I’m not disappointed in.
Now, I will be the first to tell you that I do not have everything figured out and that I probably have more flaws than not. But now is a good time to try in different ways to figure some things out and to change and renew myself. But right now I have the time for reflection. Now I have the head-space that I didn’t always have before. So I might as well dive in. I might as well get dirty and see the things that have been lurking in my heart. What’s the worst that could happen?
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When you are pursuing fitness, machines are certainly convenient to use, but they are not necessary to get a thorough workout. When it comes to increasing strength and power, some equipment will be necessary, but for conditioning, all you need is your body and a plan!