By Staci Welch-Bartley
I announced to Tom today that I started my new weight lifting program at the gym. I asked him if he wanted to know how much weight I was lifting. He smirked and said, “Yeah, tell me.” “My ASS, and it’s all I can handle,” I sneered! The voice in my head telling me I was getting fatter had finally won out, driving me back to the gym for rigorous workouts. Poor Tom, for having to put up with me!
You see, I got to the point couldn’t get my jeans up without a whole lot of jumping! For me, my vice is cream…cream, cream the marvelous dream! Whipped cream, peaches and cream, coffee and cream, cream and anything really. By far the one that gets me the most is cream in my coffee and I had been putting off cutting back for far too long.
As I was getting pushed to my limits in a CrossFit-type class (heaven forbid I start out small), I marveled at how our bodies will take us so much farther than our minds will allow! I just kept telling myself to just try things out and see what happened. I told myself I could do exercises in the class that I didn’t think I could. I was able to do things like dead lifts, pull-ups, and pushups over and over again in this class just because I was willing to try. Funny thing is, I couldn’t wait to go back and do it again because I amazed myself with my newfound abilities!
This is the same with our emotional selves. We can feel and endure so much more than our minds will allow. Sometimes we think that these feelings are going to swallow us up, and we must react before we DIE! We hear the voice in our head scream, “Don’t let them take us alive!” It is in these moments that if we can just hold the weight and prevent ourselves from reacting, we build strength and emotional muscle. This is how we expand our capacity to love each other and ourselves. Feelings are not something to avoid, feelings are the experiences of life; however, they need not rule us. Feeling them, exploring them, holding on to them for a moment, and expressing them, not in reaction and defense, but in an effort to gain understanding of ourselves and others is how weightlifting for love is accomplished. Oh, and indeed, it takes practice. Come on, give yourself permission to try.
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