Have you ever had that dream you want to wake up from but at the same time cant leave it because you just need to know what happens? It’s a child like curiosity flooded by an adult-ish resolution to see it through. These feelings or scenarios never run away, they never stop. They find their way in and out of your life experiences, interwoven into the fine web of adventures and paths you build for yourself. That is what pain is, both the physical and the spiritual. It is the starry malaise between a dream and reality that make you unsure and often scared of which world to live in. Do you stay in this dream experiencing untold stories and adventures with the visceral feeling of pain or do you simply wake up, let go and move on with controllable future and mundane momentum that is the treadmill of life.
As the years pass by and you continue to dive deep into your sport, you will hear many questions. Some from close friends and family, some from complete strangers but most, from that ever enduring voice in your head. Is it worth the pain? Is it worth the discomfort? Isn’t it better to quit?
I write to you from a place of comfort and a place of peace. Not because I have found my zen on some quaint rock garden speckled with bonsai trees and cherry blossoms but rather, because I am peace knowing that this is the life I chose. Now lets take a very real moment to assess the difference between career ending pain and the pain to endure. Please don’t take this piece as a green light to work through any type of pain, most of which is caused by neglect or lack of discipline. Instead take this for what it is worth, a clear account of someone who understands the road they are on and will not complain about it.
I can sit here and tell you there are very real moments in training where the pain of inflammation or general wear and tear is enough to send me home. That guttural feeling you get after a set where you spend minutes recovering from the initial shock to the body and the will to finish your set is a dance with the devil. These are the moments you will ask yourself “why me?” Or “why am I here?” Is this not evident in all aspects of our lives? Business, relationships, family, friends… all of it, does it not come with the sustainable and ongoing reality that pain is part of them all? And yet we endure.
Not all of us are cut from the same cloth. I am sorry, but its undeniably true. Some of you reading this will simply close your laptop or shut your phone down and continue to pace yourself steering clear of the most painful roads and shy away from self inflicted wounds. Your body will shun the self mutilation of a soul as it continuously shows up the to gym every day to batter itself silly. I get it, trust me I get it. To those of you who live this way these words will be nothing more than the ranting of a narcissistic, sado-masochistic socio path who continues to shorten his life with the perspectives of a wild beast holding on to his humanity by a thin chain.. but for some of you, this is life.
You wake up every day with a very real reminder that the physical endeavors you choose are not only a tangible reminder that nothing is easy but also a clear account of your perspective on life. As the pain continues to mount you will find ways to heal, to mitigate, to manage and to push through. You will learn that on some days you must bend like the reed during a storm and on some days you have to hold your ground like the stubborn stone. Pain will be your friend if and only when you allow it in your life as an old friend, a teacher and a blessing. Despite the countless cliche memes and stories handed down that simply tell you to embrace it, there is a very real spine to these words. I have walked many lives in 34 years. Sometimes by myself, sometimes next to others, sometimes with weight on my “soul sled” and sometimes staggering around lost to the world. I have leaned on shoulders of criminals and stood along side hero amongst men. What has ALWAYS set apart the valiant from the weak, the courageous from the meek, and the warriors from the forgotten … is the reality of Pain. Those who are to walk forever amongst the halls of Valhalla carry pain on their shoulder with a sense of pride, wisdom and fearful reminder that nothing is forever, that nothing is free, and that all action is a sacred gift. It isn’t that the world has gotten easier, no, it is that we are forgetting what we are capable of withstanding.
Do not let the pains of your dreams and legacy steer you away from the task at hand. There has been no greatness won on the back of comfort. Bending, honing, creaking and cracking under the iron is the column of greatness, it is the foundation of the warrior spirit. When you step under the bar, to the stone, on the platform and on the shadowy competitive battlefield.. embrace the knowledge that you have fought harder days. That under the burning sun that is our life span, you have faced the greatest demon of all, Pain. For pain is the father of fear and when you sit down with him long enough to smile at his whispers, your story will live forever.
Life without pain is a life worth living…
Life with pain is a life worth enduring…
Know who you are, chose your way, and never look back…
Never Stray from The Way