Let the mind transcend limitations
I learned how to walk when I was young. Younger than usual. Mom told me I fell a lot. But I walked early because of all the times I fell. I think about that sometimes. Wondering what it would be like if we all learned to walk as adults. I have a feeling we never would. We would be afraid of falling, or bruising a knee, or cracking our head open.
We would hold back. Not because we knew better, but because we were afraid.
Afraid of being told we can’t, afraid of failing, afraid of success. Afraid that we are the ones who are telling ourselves we can’t. Afraid of fear.
We put limits on ourselves as we get older. The older we get, the more limits. I can’t do that… I am too old, or short, or overweight, or not smart enough, or not fast enough, or strong enough. I will never be able to be this or that, or I know I will never do the things I want because I am too this or too that. And it goes on and on. We tell ourselves stories and make excuses. We put limits in places they don’t belong.
Last week I was at the gym and my trainer put some weight on the leg press. I didn’t ask, I didn’t really care. I just did what I was supposed to do.
She told me… 6 reps at 260 pounds. She raised the weight for the second set. Again, I didn’t ask. I assumed it was just a little more. Five reps this time. No sweat.
I started to push the weight up. It barely moved. I thought I was just tired.
“Come on, push Jen.” She kept on me. I knew I had to lift it. I had no reason not to.
I pushed. One.
Tapped down and pushed back up. Two. It felt surprisingly heavy. Wow, I am dragging today. I must be really spent.
“Push it out, come on. Keep those knees straight.”
Katie barked out my motivation as I tapped again. Four.
Come on. One more.
I finally got through the last one.
“And relax,” she said.
Wow. My legs were shaking. But again, I thought nothing of it. Just another tough set. One minute then I do it again.
I looked to my right, to where the weights were. I looked down.
I looked down again.
“Wait…What did you say the number was I was lifting??”
She looked on my chart to double check.
“Ummm, that says 360!”
She looked at the weight stack, then at me. “Oops,” she chuckled as I started to laugh.
Are you serious? If you would have told me I was lifting 360lbs I would have told you you were crazy.
I would have said I couldn’t. Had 17 different excuses why I couldn’t.
I did it because I didn’t know any better.
This year, on February 1, the Ursinus College softball team did one pushup at the end of practice. They looked at me like I was crazy when I had them end practice with just one pushup.
On February 2, we did two. February 3, three. Every day, we added one more.
On May 5, we ended our season with 67 pushups.
If I would have told my girls they would be doing 67 pushups at once, they would have told me they couldn’t do that. They would have had 17 different excuses why they couldn’t.
The limits we put on ourselves create the barriers that we often use as our comfy pillow for a bad night’s sleep. We find times that we curl up with our excuses instead of kicking them out of bed. We allow them to dictate what we dream about and how rested we feel.
We are afraid. We hate to fail.
Yet, I would have never known how far I could go if I never tried.
Perhaps this is the day we will allow the excuses to fall away.
This is the day we make a choice to learn how to walk again, regardless of how many times we fall down.
Perhaps today is the day we have no limits.