Polar Bear

Polar Bear
My Boy

Monday, February 7, 2011

I don't know, it's a mystery...

I love Geoffrey Rush-in spite of the House of Haunted Hill disaster I spoke about this weekend.

In Shakespeare in Love, a fantastic movie, his character continues to honestly answer how he/they/everyone will get out of the predicament in which they find themselves at the time with "I don't know, it's a mystery..."

Some of my followers have commented on my resolve and motivation on this diet, as if I harbor a fire-breathing talent, or the Midas touch.  Ok, so I exaggerate, but I sometimes feel like some may think I have inhuman strength...

Well that sure as hell ain't true.  When I started, I had all the best reasons and intentions lined up as to why I wouldn't, couldn't fail, and it sure sounded good...but when it came down to it, how I was going to EXECUTE it all, day after day, for freaking MONTHS, was a mystery of mythical proportions.

Doing something that I had tried and failed two times prior-and again we are talking failures of mythical proportions-put the fear of God into me.  Sure I could tell myself that failure was not an option, and I had the ammo with my motivational memories, but how would my body respond?  Hell, would it respond at all?

As an athlete, a good one, in college I had conditioned my body to almost invisible boundaries.  I was then taught to listen to it, for pain, but otherwise let it respond to what was second nature-forehands, backhands, etc.  When you get good enough at something, it really is just going through the motions.  No step, one, two, three, turn, swing-involved.  Just forehand-backhand-move your ass.

I taught my mind to stay steady and emotionless-the best mind was a silent one...  The best athletes become Ice Men, like Roger Federer, who can stay at an even mental keel and let their body lead.  Of course, I had a temper which I was unable to control at times on the court, one of the thousands of differences between me and Roger.

But when I started this diet, I had no idea if my body could keep up since obviously I was not conditioned to diet very well at all.  And I had never let my mind rule my body's physiological responses, and when the mind did participate, the results were 'slightly' less than optimal.  Um, ok, 'significantly'.  I regained more than 50+ pounds lost-twice.

This was where my memories helped.

Polar, my healthy beautiful curious boy, went from doing anything he wanted, regardless of his deafness and partial blindness...
To doing what he could-and on his last day, no standing, lying in his own filth-he could barely lift his head...
This is 'can't', folks.

My Uncle, feeling his heart beat upwards of 250-300 beats per minute then stop, couldn't stop the failure.  Years of good healthy living and giving a shit gave him a "can't".

I recently found out about the off-duty nurse who, when everyone else including the gym's employees, stood around like statues and watched my Uncle dying on the sit up mat, tried with everything she had to give him CPR.  Again, she tried, but got a "can't".

So I'm on my carpet about 2 hours ago, determined to get my straight arm plank record of 4 minutes.  Me and Miley were rocking it out to keep my mind in the background-away from the awareness off my screaming abs and lower back that felt like it was going to give out.  Those of you with bad backs KNOW that feeling...

At the 3 minute and 30 second mark, with the back getting weaker and weaker, the brain poked through Miley and said, "I can't".

I didn't trust my body, having felt the agony of being laid up on the couch for a week with stabbing, immobilizing back pain before.

Right then I slipped into some Twisted Sister mindset, and remembered one of my favorite song lyrics..."If that's your best, your best won't do."

And the "can't" slipped away...I was not paralyzed like Polar, feeling my heart fail like my Uncle, feeling no pulse like the nurse...I didn't trust my body, but I trusted my mind to lead my fear for once.

It was time I let my brain be more powerful than my body.  I said, "Screw this self-propagating bullshit, if anyone whose life ended with a "can't" saw me now, they'd kick my ass."

Suddenly there was no option.  My mind pushed the boundary of my body, and I hit 4 minutes and 22 seconds.  Then I stopped.  Voluntarily.  Without my back going out.

Today Ellen over at Fat Girl Wearing Thin talked about what can your body do now that it couldn't do a month ago?

So I ask you-when was the last time you let your mind lead-let your brain be strong and push your body-found your physiological limit?  

I'm not talking about sucking wind or feeling the burn of aching, tight legs.  Did you pass out?  Did you fall?  Did your heart stop?  Did your back go out?  Did you tear something?  Did you break a bone?  Chances are the last time you stopped, it wasn't due to reaching one of these limits.

When I was in high school I was the tennis captain, and I hated running, heck it made me out of breath!!!  So what did I do?  What any *awesome* captain would do-I faked hyperventilating to get out of running.

I've got news for you, now that I know what my strong mind can do, there will be no faking it.  And I guarantee your body is in better shape than you think, too...so my challenge to you is to try an extra minute...an extra 5 minutes...an extra half mile...an extra set...don't eat the cookie/big mac/pizza/etc.

Push your "can't", because it isn't a mystery-the brain controls heartbeat, breathing, movement, digestion, appetite-almost everything-it's a packmule-it CAN handle it...I plan to use my beastly brain, with my motivations and memories along for the ride, to push out this goal.  There will be no sabotage, doubt, regrets, time wasted.  Move past your 'can't', it's not set in stone.

You WILL surprise yourself. 

Got no complaints, no regrets, I've got no grand design...
I'll ride the horse that got me here 'till I cross that finish line.
-Robert Earl Keen


Anonymous said...

what an intense post. it is amazing what we can do once we stop the "can't"s ... (I am so sorry about Polar and your Uncle)

Monique said...

Wow, this is most certainly a deep post. Thanks for being so open and honest. I'm sorry for your loss, Hon. Thanks for all the encouragement on my blog. You've been amazing. I always look forward to your comments. You're awesome.

Life as a Caterpillar said...

Yes, Yes, Yes!!

I feel like this post was written for me. I may 'feel' rubbish at the moment, but i still CAN do it, and dagnammit, i WILL do it.


Much love to you, and thank you again for sharing your wonderful memories


Auntie Mandy said...

Ha! My verification word is "mender"! I think that means something as I sit here with my aching neck and dull pain in my knee. I'll be alright!

Carla said...

WOW! What a wonderful post. I am so sorry about Polar and your Uncle. Thank you for the follow and your comments. They are so encouraging. I do appreciate them.

The Ninja said...

What a lovely post. I feel empowered now, thank you, I had been feeling complacent and sluggish, but now I want to move, I am -going- to run this summer, if it kills me.

Anonymous said...

You are so inspirational. I really dislike when people say "can't." If you don't think that you "can" do it, then you won't. Great entry, girl :)

Shabby Chic Mom- Susie said...

I read this post last night. It is such a powerful post to me. When im so tired in the middle of the night with my son, I Think of my friend who is terminally sick and would give anything to be up with her babies. When im feeling lazy I think of one of my closest friends who ate 37 suffered a stroke 2 years ago and before her stroke ate so healthy and worked out. Today 2 years later she's still in physical therapy several days a week to get her ride side working again. She would give anything to work out.
thank you for sharing. Im so sorry about your uncle and your doggy.

Anne H said...

Wonderful strength and writing here.
Bodis can sometimes do alot when they are asked!

Ann said...

What a wonderful post about the power of "I can't" - and the wonderful power of positive thinking. Thanks for the reminder.

Sarah said...

Nice post. Sometimes we forget what we can do even if it's hard because it's so easy to say I can't. Thanks for this post!


scrapwordsmom said...

Hi!! First off Thank you from the bottom of my heart...you always stop by and comment over at Skinny Me!! This is my first time here and I love it!!! Love this post. You were so right...it fits with what I was whining about. Man, I hate whining, too!!! And here I am doing it!:(

But your post...perfect! It is sooo true about your mind can push through it. I have ran 2 marathons and both times I finished not because of my body...it was my MIND!!!!

I am now a follower and you are on my blog roll!!!!


Anonymous said...

You write the most inspirational posts, and this is another one that kicks me hard in the gut. *sigh* I'm so sorry about Polar and your Uncle. I had two Uncle's who passed away before the age of 50 due to heart attacks. Sending a ton of *HUGS* your way.

Anonymous said...

What else can I add but, Fantastic Post.

Jennifer said...

Such a touching post. Thank you.

Mrs. D said...

You're like Yoda, but taller.

"Do or do not. There is no try."

Twix said...

It is AWESOME feeling my power house coming back. It's still a long ways away, but I'm looking forward to when I can do a century again. :)

This is a great post. Thank you for sharing!

Beth said...

I think I'm going to ask this post to marry me I love it so much.


Patrick said...

So sorry about Polar and your Uncle.

Push your "can't"... that is a bumper sticker waiting to be printed.

Julie said...

Perfect timing. Couldn't of been better timing. I was thinking about settling, NOPE!! not going to happen. I'm going to push, do and survive. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!!
Take care and God Bless!!

Bethanny said...

Aww that pic of your baby makes me want to cry. Very powerful post.