My triathlon experience taught me many things last year, but the biggest lesson remains this: Persistence, dedication and hard work can take you anywhere. You just have to have the courage and will to keep going, no matter what perceived obstacles litter your path. The body may be limited in its physicality, but the spirit’s strength is infinite. Discipline is channeling that strength, and perseverance is believing in its power.
Hello, wonderful readers and bloggers. I have been absent from my blog for pretty much this entire month, which makes me sad, but I am still here, I assure you. I have not fallen off the blogging stratosphere, at least not yet. Blogging isn’t easy, as I’m sure you know. It’s a commitment, like a relationship, one that must be nurtured and constantly fed, and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of holding myself accountable to keeping this blog of mine, ‘the little blog that could’, alive and worthy of your time.
The truth is, and though this is a sappy excuse (I hate excuses), I’ve been battling some personal trials and tribulations these past few weeks (non life-threatening) that have completely taken over my mental, physical, and emotional energy. I will spare you the details because my blog is not a diary or journal; it is meant to be a place of inspiration and thought (at least that’s my hope and intention).
As much as they cause pain and discomfort, sadness, confusion, or anger, they are very necessary. We need trials, we need moments of failure, we need our bubbles to burst sometimes. Trials push our mental, spiritual, and emotional development. Without trials, we would remain stagnant, floating on a plateau of ignorance and self-absorption. Trials force us to look inside ourselves, to reexamine what is important to us, what is worth fighting for.
Trials help us recognize the blessings we might have taken for granted were it not for the knife that stabbed the force fields of our comfort zones. Trials test our courage; they make us face our fears. Trials soften our hearts so that we can be more compassionate and empathetic towards others.
We need trials.
Trials are like fertilizer. Though repulsive and unpleasant, they help beautiful things to grow. A tiny, helpless seed must push its way out of darkness, through the thick, heavy soil, in order to reach the sunlight, in order to thrive and transform into a new being with a new purpose.
Every trial has its purpose.
Right now, I am in the thick of it. I am soaked in fertilizer. But the important thing to keep in check as we endure our trials and tribulations… is perspective. No trial lasts forever because nothing lasts forever. Without trials there can be no sigh of relief. Without trials there can be no shaping of character and strength and perspective and inspiration. There would be no tales of heroism—no inspirational autobiographies. No lessons learned.
Yes, I have moments of weakness where I’m in no mood to be positive, to try to trace the silver lining. Sometimes you just need someone to sit with you, hold your hand, listen, and tell you, “yeah, that is pretty bad.” Those moments are okay—they make us human and keep us human.
But after a good night’s rest, after a long, tight hug with someone you love who loves you, after a good cry or punching bag session, after silent reflection, after all the volatile emotions diffuse… it becomes a little easier to invite perspective back into your heart. To realize that, like all the centuries that have gone before you, this too shall pass, this too you shall overcome.
It may seem like the end of your world when you’re in the thick of your trial, but it really isn’t. Life moves on and life moves fast. Our bodies may be destructible but our spirits were built to endure. No matter how big and powerful the storm, sunshine always prevails.
When you give up, you stop believing in your strength, in the essence of possibility. Your fear of failure and disappointment trumps all. You retreat, succumb, decide that effort is futile, and sulking usually follows. Giving up inhibits growth; it stems from fear and lack of passion.
When you let go, you release what is no longer of use to you. You understand that in order to grow, you need to let go. Letting go brings a sense of freedom and relief, a feeling of euphoria mixed with thrill. Letting go is fueled by courage, which is why it takes such a toll on the heart.
Letting go is essential for a balanced life. You can’t possibly carry everything with you.
A fisherman needs patience so as not to miss his catch. If he gives up, he fails to eat. A bird must let go of her nest to learn to fly. If she holds on, she fails to thrive.
Fear is a monster that whispers in your ear at night. He is ancient, pungent, and very busy. He stalks you as you go about your day, dropping shards of hurtful words into your world, hoping they will get caught in your hair, in your skin, in your eyes. He thrives in self-doubt, wears a cape made of coal. His goal is to blacken your world and capture your heart.
He collects your insecurities and worries as you toss them to the wind. He collects them and strings them together, making chains out of them. He polishes the chains to make them look attractive; he holds them out in front of you. He says they’ll look good on you.
Your heart knows this monster well. Your mind can be fooled, but your heart, never. Your heart’s muscles are stronger than your mind will ever know. Thoughts are slippery, sporadic, unreliable. But your heart is an evergreen garden of love, strength, courage, wisdom, truth. Your heart knows your truth—knows you. Reminds you everyday: You’re alive, and there’s much to do.
This puts the monster in a rage. He hears your heart’s whispers and tries to whisper louder. He thrashes for attention, desperate. But the monster is condemned to existing outside of you, and your heart knows this. Your heart knows your true power. Your heart knows what you must do.
One of the biggest lessons life has taught me so far is to never allow Fear to make your decisions. Fear cripples, bullies, and crushes you. Stand up for yourself always, always, no matter what the cost. Be brave enough to face what your mind can’t bear, for that is what your heart is built for.