Take a little trip on imagery lane with me...
It's 4:45 AM on Sunday morning and I'm wide awake with my espresso in hand, sitting out on the back deck listening to the crazy amazing sounds of nature and non-human existence around me. If I close my eyes long enough I can imagine I'm not in Canton, Ohio anymore, but out camping in the middle of nowhere gazing into the bright starlit sky listening to pure silence....and then a train blows its horn in the distance and a siren drives by and I'm back sitting on my deck in Canton, Ohio....sigh.
But it's that imagery type mentality that I've been focusing on lately. Getting so in-tuned with something that you are physically capable of changing your actual state of mind. Now, if you continue reading from here you might need to revert back to a more child-like way of imagination, or get into the state of mind that you can take this little trip with me - because this may be a little weird.
When I train my clients I always remind them that the pain that they are feeling in the moment in the workouts is temporary pain, it's pain that's going to last a very short period of time but at the end of the day is going to make them stronger. It's a good kind of pain, but sometimes that's not enough to push people through the physical agony that working out can be (dramatic much?).
A few years back I was really into running...I did a handful of half marathons and had just signed up for my first full marathon. Part of my training was in the cold months of winter, and so I had to do some of my long runs on a treadmill. Talk about agony. During that same period of time my brother-in-law's mother was very sick, she was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer and was going through all kinds of treatments. Side note...she was one of the two most beautiful humans I've ever encountered - her and my own Mother have the most amazing hearts and souls, pure perfection in my eyes inside and out.
Anyways, I remember dreading waking up at the butt crack of dawn, rolling out of bed, putting on my running clothes, walking outside, taking an old credit card to scrape the front windshield just enough to be able to peak my eyes through and drive while not running into a building (or car...or human). Then pulling into Walsh's parking lot and walking up to that dreaded treadmill to do my agonizing 15 mile run. It was this particular day though that I did something different. I remember Mrs. L was in a lot of pain during this time...things hadn't been going well, and I thought to myself how minuscule this pain that I was about to endure was in comparison to her.
So, I got myself into this imagery....now hear me out...I imagined my legs on that treadmill were similar to a hamster on a hamster wheel. And that hamster wheel was directly related to Mrs. L. and how she was feeling. The faster and steadier that hamster wheel moved the less pain Mrs. L would feel. I got so far into this imagery that I literally...I kid you not...didn't even feel my legs moving. I was running, but I was so focused on someone else and what they were going through that I didn't even realize I had been on that treadmill for 15 miles. I was so lost in a make believe image that it totally took away the physical pain I had been feeling that whole time.
Ever since then I try to do that same type of imagery attitude in my workouts (and my life). If we are able to get out of our own heads, offer up our pain (a pain that so many people would kill to be able to feel but can't because of their physical limitations) for someone else who's going through true pain...pain that's not making them physically stronger, pain that doesn't go away, pain that we can't even imagine feeling, we would be able to push ourselves through a whole lot more than we once thought we could.
You can take this imagery to any scale, not just working out. Getting through a work week, going through a tough pregnancy, parenting 6 crazy kids that make you want to pull your hair out....there are people who would see our hardships as their blessings. Who would do anything to have those inconveniences or pains that we are going through. For me, striving to have this mentality has made me appreciate my life so much more, the hardships and sufferings and all. Because this life, although it comes with a lot of different kinds of pains, is beautiful. We are so lucky to be here, to have the opportunity to make something of ourselves, to impact others, to strive to be a great human.
Sometimes we just need to get out of our own heads, be a little less self-consumed with our own struggles and pains, and look around us at true disaster, true hardships, true sufferings (cause we all know in today's world there's a lot of that going on...ignorance is not bliss, it's happening whether we choose to see it or not). Can you imagine a world where people cared more about helping those around them then themselves? Now, I'm so so so ....SO....far from perfect. But I try, and I will continue to try, to get out of my own head - look at my situation, no matter what it is, and see it as temporary pain, temporary struggle...something that I will overcome and be better because of it. Offer up my minor inconveniences to someone else, and then strive to use my life to make a difference for those people, in whatever way I can.
Happy Sunday everyone, do something today that your future self will be proud of. Now, it's time for a second cup of espresso for me.