I've been doing a lot of writing lately, but only on my private community page. While this applies directly to them, anyone who has found peace through moving their bodies might enjoy this.
Happy Sunday morning! I must say, it's my favorite day of the week. And I love me a good coffee talk. Shall we?
I've been chewing on something for several days. Let's see if I can spit it out.
I've noticed for some of you that have been around for awhile that the thrill is gone. That, "Oh my god, this is the best life ever" feeling can have a good, long run lasting from several months to a year or so. But at some point, you settle in.
The next thing I have to say is for you vets. That includes you all that endured all the eye-rolling in the corner of the CHK FC. Or you all that dead lifted in the MIDDLE OF MY STREET. Or you all that saw the first pull-up bar fall down from the ceiling at 104. Or you all that worked out in the pitch dark one night at 112 because I forgot to pay the bill. I mean, we had the headlights from my car so it worked out nicely, but still.
Guys: You made it. I've watched you hit your stride and the subsequent changes in both your bodies and your souls are visible from miles away.
Keep running. It doesn't have to be fast, but for the love of all that is good,
Just. Keep. Running.
Think about how far you've come. You understand the whiteboard now. You can lift legit amounts of weight. You've learned skills that most folks will never master. You are lean and muscular. You've experienced a KNOWING that you are capable of just about anything you set your mind to.
I KNOW you need what you get from exercise. And I also know what happens to your mental, emotional and spiritual side when you stop.
I know because I'm there with you. I look at it like the story in the Old Testament about God providing manna to his people as they wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years. It was their sustenance and they would have died of starvation without it.
For me, the day's workout is just like that manna. If I don't get my morning dose of the barbell, the black mat, the dark place....
I'm not myself.
I'm half-alive. Unkind. Blah. It's like I can't ever really get going for the day. And it's gross.
The beautiful thing about manna is that God's people could only collect enough for the day. They couldn't store it up or it would rot. Each morning they woke up hungry, stepped outside and gathered up their day's needs. It was a daily reminder that they were reliant on something bigger than themselves in order to survive.
For me, the same principle applies with the barbell. I might have had a hell of a workout on Thursday, but when Friday rolls around, what I did the day before no longer matters. It's a new day and a new whiteboard, and if I choose not to participate, I am going to go hungry.
And I'm not gonna lie... some days the idea of working out makes me wanna roll over and go back to sleep. As delicious as manna is (apparently it tasted like honey.... YUMMMMM), there are mornings when I THINK I don't want it.
Good thing my brain isn't the deciding factor anymore. My heart is the one I listen to. And my heart knows. It makes the same decision every single time.
It says, "Go."
So I DO.
I never regret it. I never, ever wish I would have skipped. I get a belly full of honey and I am once again myself. And y'all:
This little self of mine was put here to do some very important things. How dare I try to wander around in my city's wilderness only half alive?
I wonder sometimes if you all wake up with "ick" every day like me. I was recently asked why I work out the way I do (often and with extreme focus and intensity), and I've spent two weeks pondering that question.
It's the only thing that quiets the noise.
THE. ONLY. THING.
And I make no apologies for that. It's my way to God and my way to peace. And it's every word of one of my favorite lines in AA's Big Book:
"We are not cured of alcoholism.What we have is a daily reprieve contigent upon our spiritual condition."
(Insert here the term, "crazy brain" for me, which includes far more than just a drinking problem).
For me, it's that serious. My spiritual condition relies upon my willingness to go drown out the noise on a daily basis.
Does that mean that the workout itself is my church?
I've stared at the blinking cursor for about a minute, contemplating that question. And the answer is yes.
The mat and chalk and music and pain are my Black Rock, which is my place I find and hear God. And it took almost 44 years to find it and be okay with it.
I realize that many of you have a God life outside of the gym. But I also suspect that the gym is one of the more important channels in your willingness to spend time wherever you find God. I see you shut down across almost every aspect of your life when you stop showing up. I may not say anything, but please know that I see you. Your light dims.
Do whatever it is you need to do in order to stay connected to your God. And I say the same thing to myself.
It's not just about me. When I stop doing the things that quiet my noise, I genuinely SUCK as a human being. And every moment that I suck is a moment I'm not making this world better.
I'm taking. But I'm not giving. And that flies in the face of exactly what I was put here to do:
Not take. Not suck.