Wednesday, 16 July 2014

When you feel like you can’t go on, you can (Lesson #6)

Yes, you can. You’re almost there. You can do it. It’s ALL IN YOUR MIND: Your legs aren’t hurting anymore and you’re breathing comfortably. So, what’s your excuse, really? Why not just go on until the end? It doesn’t even hurt anymore; it’s just a little inconvenient, that’s all. You’ll feel so good at the end.

This is how I had to psyche myself this morning as I jogged for 30-minutes non-stop for the second time in my life. This is how I’ve had to psyche myself in the past when I was only jogging for 15 or 20 minutes. I seem to have to do this every time I get on the treadmill, frankly.

I can do so much more than I think I can. A part of me knows that for sure. Still, another part of me isn’t so confident about this all the time. But since I want to be able to jog regularly for a certain amount of time, I try to just keep going, even when my mind tells me I can’t.

It’s really remarkable, this battle between the mind and everything else. I tell myself that I just need to train/re-train my mind. Thinking I can’t jog for up to 30 minutes is simply not rational, given that I’ve done it before. Plus, I’ve been jogging for up to 20 minutes non-stop for what seems like forever now, so adding on an extra 10 minutes really isn’t that bad. The idea that I can’t do it again this week is a complete illusion. Of course, I can! But the mind plays tricks on one if one lets it.

At church, we once had a pastor talk about ‘The Battle of the Middle’ (I think that was the title of the sermon). One of the things she said that stayed with me was that we’re often tempted to go back to where we came from once we’ve reached the middle of our journey. We feel like we can’t possibly cover any more ground. What we tend to forget, though, is that it takes the same amount of energy, will-power, resources, etc., to go all the way back as it does to go forward and get to the end! I’ve never forgotten that. Why not just move ahead, then?

One of the things that help me when I want to give up (in jogging and in life) is prayer. This morning, for instance, I prayed for the first 15 minutes of the jog. For some reason, it really seems to make the time go by so much faster. I have a half a million different prayer points, and so I find that praying is an easy way to plough through 15-20 minutes. The concentration it requires helps keep my eyes off of how much further I have to go.

In my life in general, I have a lot of good days as well as my share of ‘bad’ days when I feel like hibernating for a season and not having to face the world – times when I feel like I’m fighting The Battle of the Middle. Because I have a pretty even-keeled personality, I always have this need to figure out what triggered my mood change when this does happen. More often than not, it’s nothing more than the fact that it’s that time of the month when I get cranky, start to feel all hormonal, and molehills start to seem like mountains. Sometimes, though, I’m simply having a less-than-stellar day due to something that occurred recently. Stuff happens. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to get out of bed. But once I do and my activity-filled day begins, that desire completely dissipates. Sometimes, the enormity of the responsibilities I carry weighs on me. I get home after a hard day’s work and feel like I don’t have anything else to give. I am totally spent and I’m not sure how much longer I can keep it all up. But a good night’s sleep works absolute miracles (at least for me). My experience has been that no matter what happened the day before, everything seems better in the morning.

I suppose in some ways, I’m ‘in the middle’ when it comes to my divorce. While there’s no temptation to head back to where I came from, there is a temptation sometimes to just hang around in one spot and be passive about moving even further ahead. But deep down inside, I know there’s no way I can give up. What for? Everything looks better in the morning.

Yes, you can! You can do it. You’re doing it. You’ve done it forever and you’ve always done it well. It’s ALL IN YOUR MIND: You have years of experience doing this. The only difference is that you’re not married anymore. So why not just go on until the end? It hardly even hurts that much anymore; it’s just inconvenient sometimes, that’s all. You’ll feel so good at the end …

p.s. – Forgot to mention that I skipped Lesson #5 as I had nothing to say.

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