This entry is for those who lust for “MORE”, but fear the steps they have to take to find it:
Do the things you think you cannot do; or you will never be able to do them.
I know how simplistic, naive, and (if taken to an extreme) utterly insane that sounds but…it’s the easiest way for me to describe what has been on my mind the last couple of weeks: and that is, if we limit less, we are limitless. That’s not to say that we are divine, inhuman, ubermensch gods infallible and unbreakable. It’s just to say that, if what counts is the journey…then every attempt is a triumph. Knowing what you can’t do, only comes from actually doing something. Before this year, I had never really challenged my body. I was content to have a mediocre physique: slightly fit, slightly active, slightly healthy, slightly indulgent, and slightly pleased at what lay in front of me in the mirror. A lot of that changed after a simple camping expedition and short high noon trek in January that had me reassessing what I was – what I am – capable of, and what my body can do. Does it not inspire you, the lengths to which a human body can go for the sake of survival? This is a generation that has so easily forgotten the actual work it took to get here – a generation of people sitting at their desks typing away at their computers; a generation of people who have mastered the Facebook Stalk and the Fiery Forum Debate instead of the hunt-and-gather or the light-a-fire; a generation of microwave meals, instant coffee, instant noodle soup, Instagram…
A generation of people who don’t understand what value there is in natural bodily functions, and manual labor – things we were made for; the whole reasoning behind the faculties we have been given to survive. (Gosh, I mean, if all we were going to do was sit on our couches all day and eat potato chips while thumbing the channel changer buttons on our remote controls, why did we never get stumpier legs and bigger opposable thumbs? Is that where we’re headed ultimately? Has anybody seen Wall-E?)
I don’t want to delve so deeply into a philosophical debate, and I’m not about to give up my own conveniences (this blog, this computer, my iPhone, a job that doesn’t require me to do any crazy heavy lifting or life-threatening mining, the luxury of choice, etc). After all, it is true that technology and society and culture have all changed in the last few centuries. I’m not asking us to go full-on caveman or anything. I’m just introducing a topic I feel is only ever explored by those who have already reached the same conclusion: we have become so complacent, so comfortable, that we don’t even realize what great tools we have been given, and how we can use them. The layman sees no merit in becoming the Torso of an Archaic Apollo (as described by Rilke)…or David (Michaelangelo’s). But actually…knowing our physical selves, gives us so much more strength to know our inner selves as well. Whether it be challenging yourself to consume proper food, to control cravings, to not be a slave of this environment of hyper-stimulation/over-production/over-consumption/excess……or challenging yourself to know your physical limits and to test them………..I feel like looking at my body, and challenging it, has made me a much stronger person mentally…has taught me how to keep my priorities in check…and has helped me better deal with creative and social pressures that I feel all around me and inside me at all times.
I am so far from where I want to be, but this constant upward climb is exhilarating, and I wish it upon anyone interested in self-discovery and self-creation.
That said, the only reason I am writing this entry is because tomorrow I am trying CrossFit for the first time; and not long after I will be heading to Nepal where I will be doing yoga in an ashram, and trekking up and around the valley rim to get a full view of the Himalayas in all its grandeur. Had I not begun to care about my physical wellbeing, these activities never would have even occurred to me. And yet. Here I am. Poised and ready for another big adventure. I’m nervous, and excited, and dying to see how much further I can go. I just keep hearing, in my own head: challenge yourself. It’s okay to fail, you know? It’s just really stupid to not try.