By Eric Beach
We've all heard it before, "This is just the way I am so deal with it!" or "This is just the way God made me, so get use to it!" These phrases are typically uttered with great passion, anger, and rage. They are conversation enders, not starters. Most often, these phrases are heard only after a fight or a challenge to change.
My dad use to say this a lot. He would blame his "French hot blooded nature" or blame his short temper on a character trait God had given him. I remember thinking, was anyone really meant to be that angry? Would a God really design someone to have such a short fuse and to be such a slave to emotion? If so, what purpose could it possibly serve the created being?
For me, I believe we weren't made, designed, or evolved to have volatile responses to conflict or challenge. I think we develop those intense responses when we are in survival mode. Much like a cornered animal, we react as if in a matter of life and death.
Passionate emotional response serves no purpose if viewed as a quirk or a personality trait. So if thats not the case, and these responses weren't hard wired into our personality, and we aren't animals fighting against the forces of imminent death with one last show of bluster, what purpose do they serve us?
I believe they are "spiritual" teaching tools using a simple biological process to alert our conscious mind that class is in session. That may be a tough or odd pill to swallow, I understand. Even the mere suggestion of this as a possible truth might be enough to illicit a scoff or some other form of emotional retching! But stick with me.
In theory, if we are perfectly healthy, if we are perfectly healed from all the wounds and scars left from life experience, and If we know who we are and truly understand love, nothing can come our way that we can't emotionally transcend and walk through in a clear, couscous mental state. Our emotions would be manageable, free from emotional hijacking. Is this attainable? I believe so. Will we all get to that level of consciousness? Perhaps not. But even falling short of this level of consciousness will allow you to live a far happier and more fulfilling life.
I believe anytime we are emotionally hijacked, or can't transcend the situation, the intense emotion is in fact trying to highlight an area that needs our attention. There is something bubbling beneath the surface, there is information we need to look at and integrate. Through the process of sitting with emotion and not judging it as good or bad, I have learned so much about myself and have even begun to start loving who I am.
Its hard to love that which you do not know...
Allow me to illustrate this concept with some personal examples.
A while ago, when women were first allowed into Ranger school, I was furious. My rage swirled around thoughts like, "Terrible idea!", and "Women can't do it and if they are allowed to try, people will die! What a disgrace Army!" I assure you this is the family friendly version of the thoughts that were in my head...
Now to be clear, its ok to disagree with an idea like integrating women into combat arms specialties in the military, or any other political issue... Its ok to disagree and have a civil discussion. Civility, I assure you, was not part of my emotional response to this issue!
I sat with those feelings for at least a year before I understood what they were trying to teach me. Ultimately they were protecting this definition of masculinity I had constructed in my mind, and failed to achieve. I gave the Army the power to define my masculinity. My logic was thus, "If I'm a Ranger, people can never question wether I am a real man or not!"
I never became a Ranger. When woman were allowed to go to Ranger school my worldview was challenged. If a woman graduated Ranger school, what would that say about my masculinity considering I never even tried to go through the school! My worldview was threatened so I raged in effort to discredit the threat and avoid the painful work of Self discovery.
One more example. This is one I'ver recently been made aware of and am still working through.
When someone misunderstands me, makes a character judgment against me, or in some cases disagrees with me while resorting to name calling, I get angry pretty quick. I've been sitting with it when the emotional response comes and trying to find themes of the same response all the way back to my childhood. I was on a run (being physically active which allowed me to journey inwards) and I made a huge discovery.
To "survive" my childhood was too avoid my father's ire. To do this, I needed to be quiet and unseen. Wether this was an accurate assessment of my situation or a false narrative I created based on bad information, the path I chose took my voice, stuffed down and buried it 6 feet deep in an unmarked grave. Only recently have I found my voice again, and I've been using it. Now, when someone attacks or judges, they touch on a nerve, on an archetypal energy. They become that aspect of my father and I want to finally stand up for the boy with no voice. Problem is, they aren't my dad.
My dad died a few years ago and we said goodbye in a healthy way, in good relationship. For that I am thankful. But, the emotional response of rage was alerting me to the reality I had some more work to do. I had to sit with the hurting, scared little boy and let him yell. I still have work to do in this area and I know life will afford me many opportunities to work on it.
Beneath most intense emotional responses, a valuable piece, or pieces of unintegrated information can be mined from the unconscious if we have the tools and the will to do the hard work. We must open to the process and make that choice for ourselves and no one else. Its a life full of challenge, anxiety, and is not easy. But its also full of love, reward, joy, freedom, servant leadership and is the only life in which we truly live.
By Eric Beach
If you are reading this, and a human being like me, CONGRATULATIONS! You are valuable! You have value! If you can believe it, receive it, and live that truth, you my friend are on the path to living a full, but not easy life.
Personally its taken me many years to accept this to even understand its truth. But, to heal, we must at some point believe this truth.
Our value is not something anyone or anything can give us. Its something we can only give ourselves. Certainly others can help us see it, but its up to us to believe it. No relationship, no title, no accomplishment, no honor can give us value. Certainly we may become valuable to others, but if we don't believe we have value, all these other things and experiences will fade away in time. They are all temporary and fickle.
To invest, I mean really invest in your development... To have the strength to overcome set back after setback, disappointment after disappointment, and failure after failure, you must believe you are worth the continued effort, because the world will be quick to tell you, you are not.
When we don't believe we have intrinsic value, we settle. We believe the lie that we don't deserve better. We then believe we aren't worthy of love but are worthy of abuse. Or, we believe somebody owes us something...
If we don't value ourselves, we can begin to believe its someone else responsibility to save us, and when they don't, bitterness takes root in our hearts. In the event they are rescued, that joy only last for but a moment. All fixes are to the addict, temporary...
To accept yourself as valuable is to first accept where you are. I said accept, not stay. We exist on a continuum. We stay put, we regress, or we move forward. We, at any given time are doing one of these things. Constant forward progress can't be ascribed to equal success, growth, or value. At times we need to rest and at times we back pedal a bit. This is a reality we would do well to accept.
There is nothing about you or your situation that defines you as a person void of value. It's impossible. Nothing outside of yourself can define your value. But, if you believe you are enough, if you accept you have value, your perspective will begin to change.
You'll fight for things and people you value and in doing so, you will fight for yourself. You will make changes for things and people you value and in doing so, you will make changes that lead to your own Self improvement.
One of the greatest things we can do in this life is to find and break down the walls that keep us from valuing ourselves. We must destroy the signs in our mind that fill us with lies saying "You're not worthy because..."
When we do this, we become a positive force in this world. We pour out of ourselves waters from the stream of value running through our being and those closest to us can't help but notice and be touched by it.
Because I see my own value (not my pride) I am a better husband, father, and man. Because I know I have value, I will leave this world a better place even if nobody remembers my name.
By Eric Beach
Our Project Echelon mission statement contains the words Self discovery and physical activity. The AND is very important because to heal, we need both pieces working together in concert. One without the other may be helpful, but I've found, to truly heal, we need both.
I was reading "Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman this morning. In the portion of the book I was reading, the author was explaining the power of hope and optimism. He explained how studies had shown resiliency requires those two things. In one such study, he explained how professional swimmers were first given a test which categorized the swimmer as a pessimist or optimist. After the test, they began swim practice. As they were swimming laps, the timer was instructed to lie and give the swimmers a false time, a time that was far slower than the swimmer would have liked to hear. Those who were categorized as pessimists swam even slower after they received the "false" bad news. On the other hand, the optimists actually swam faster than their first laps! The optimists saw the setback, met the resistance, and were able to push through where the pessimists couldn't.
Not everyone currently has both hope and optimism. I've been there. Its part of my own journey that I've been reflecting on, but struggling to track the transition from hopeless to hopeful, or from pessimist to optimist. I just know it accidentally happened! Which believe me, when you're trying to help others along the same journey you are on and you can't give them steps and explanations... It can be very frustrating! However, after todays reading, I think I understand how it happened for me a bit better.
I believe fully, that I had to read this book now. I believe I am drawn to specific books at specific times because in that moment, I'm ready to receive the wisdom on those specific pages. Any other time, I may have been in the wrong mental state and glossed over very important content.
Project Echelon, in many ways, is my journey from suicidal to servant leader, packaged in a "neat enough" package, given freely to those willing, and brave enough to open it. Admittedly as I mentioned earlier, sometimes I don't know how to explain parts of my growth. But the further I go, the more I realize there is no formula for this. We are walking parallel paths but aren't walking the same path.
My resiliency has increased and recently my focus has been... How? Goleman says optimism and hope. He also says through Self mastery, we can find hope, optimism, and resilience. People with those three ingredients do not feel an overwhelming sense of failure when rejection, defeat, or setbacks occur. Sounds great right?
So how does he say we can foster those qualities in ourselves. Mastery of something... Anything. To attempt to illustrate this, I'll use my own experience and how I unwittingly did this.
To master something we must commit to the thing or process regardless of the difficulty and setbacks. We must be all-in. We must be dedicated AND have patience.
For me, I was tired of quitting, of hurting, of half-commiting, so I committed to going somewhere. I committed to overcoming the physical demands of training for, and completing a sprint distance triathlon. To build resiliency, you must overcome something. Discomfort and resistance.
In training I had to first overcome pride. I had to fight the urge to quit because I used to be capable of running a 6 minute mile, but was now running a 12 minute mile.
Breathe. You have to start somewhere.
Next, I had to overcome the pain and discomfort of training, which mirrors the same pain as growth. I had to break the mental barriers of "I'm to tired to train" or " I have a little bit of a cold, so I'll start when I'm better." I overcame body image from gaining 35lbs (though I still struggle with body image). There were more mental blocks, but those are the big ones that come to mind.
On race day, I finished my race. I overcame, though I was still left not mentally healthy. But, through the process of training, I had gained enough awareness to start finding and cutting out the negative and unhealthy influences in my life. Not all, but some. When it became really dark, I even asked for help! If you know me, you may know how big a deal it is for me to ask for help! Programs like This Able Veteran and Save A Warrior gave me the tools I needed for further Self mastery, though at the time, I didn't know it.
The following year, I entered a half IRONMAN triathlon. No matter the race or training plan, throughout all of it, I was given the precious gift of insight. As I burned off energy and overcame obstacles, I gained more awareness and resiliency. I also began to understand that through training, I was far more open and able to take the journey inward to Self discovery.
I could ask myself hard questions. I could stop blaming others and take responsibility for my side of the fence. I could work on my own "moral failings." I could stop playing the victim...
Physical activity made Self discovery far more attainable. When we train and reach our physical goals, a level of Self mastery is attained. When we attain this, optimism starts to move in. We slowly begin to take failures with larger openness and less despair. We may be unaware of this process, but I promise you its there if you look.
The area you chose for Self mastery may start small, like making your bed every morning. It may be relational like intentionally and consistently spending quality time with your family. There are many ways we can grow the discipline required for Self mastery, but including a physical outlet exponentially increases this process.
For that reason, I believe in the power of physical activity AND Self discovery. For that very reason, I will be competing in this years IRONMAN Madison triathlon because I know the real growth occurs in the months of training that lead up to the payoff at the finish line.
Find ways to overcome and commit to physical activity. Open the doors to growth and relationship. Be open.
We are all learning as we go. Some of us just aren't listening to the soft whisper of life and some of us are ignoring the bricks life is throwing at our heads! Some of us can't feel the unconscious stirrings of the exiled voices deep within us. But, if we move our bodies and then sit with the exiled voices after, we can discover, one of the greatest teachers in the world lives in each and everyone of us.
By Eric Beach
I think it happens pretty quickly. You go from inactive to active and realize, oye, I've really let myself go! For me, it's the biggest hurdle that keeps me from "trying". When I discovered my mile time had risen from 6 minutes and 30 seconds to 10 minutes and 24 seconds, I was a wee bit discouraged. I told myself things like, "Whats the point? You'll never get back to the way you were so don't try. Just quit." It's a horrible, but common stream of logic.
I think in part, it's a problem with the definition of success, failure, and try. For me, I operate on a continuum of success and failure. I try and either succeed or fail, its all or nothing. When I fail, I usually quit. But can't success simply be defined as trying? For a long time I've viewed the word "try" as timid. It leaves room for the failure and is surprised by success. But in trying haven't you already succeeded on some level?
Trying is getting up and running even though you may finish the run in a walk. Trying is playing with your kids even though they look at you like you're crazy because, "Weird, daddy never plays with us." and though its awkward, you play, you stick with it and do it again tomorrow. Trying is succeeding in putting forth the effort to start. Without a start there can be no success or failure. So lets embrace the "try". Lets celebrate the failure as much as the success! Lets celebrate the failure because we tried and failure isn't permanent unless we never try again. Failure isn't permanent until it is, and that is our choice.
Lets look at failure a bit more now.
There was a sentence painted on the wall of my high school weight room. It read "try to fail". In its context, it referred to lifting weights and trying to reach muscle failure during a workout. Now, I see it as much more than that. What if we lived our lives trying to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and into the unknown. Into the unknown where failure lives. What if when failure comes, we learn from it and try again strengthened by the failure, wiser for it.
I'm not going to finish my race come race day if I don't fail now. I'm not going to fail now unless I try. If we don't try we stay ok. When we stay ok we don't get stronger... We stay ok...
So lets "try to fail" so we can get stronger, so we can be better, so we can thrive.
By Eric Beach
Racism, is not new. Prejudice, is not new. Slavery, is not new. Genocide, is not new. Hate, is not new. I wish it was, because if it were, it would be an easier problem to solve.
Religions are not exempt from this truth, Nor is any nation. In our short history, in our own nation, we've hated the Chinese, Irish, and Africans to name a few. As "humans" there seems to always be a group that will find a diluted reason to hate a group for its "difference".
To effect change we create movements. Movements aren't bad, but are temporary fixes. Band aid solutions. Policy doesn't remove hate. It may silence the violence... For a time. But it will always lurk behind the shadows of noble cause, waiting until it's voice is strong enough, to once again spit it's venom.
We went to war, defeated the Nazis, yet people still hate Jews.
I went to war, fought against the terrorists and learned about hate. I even felt it, and it scared me. I learned one universal truth in war. I fought an enemy who taught his child I was evil. This child grew up believing his father, as any child would. Now, if I kill his father, I've not won a war, I've solidified in the boys mind, his father was justified in his lessons of hate. The war doesn't end. It is simply kicked down the road.
People across the entire spectrum of humanity are being murdered by terror groups. Children and women are thrown into sex trafficking. People abuse their "serfs" in pursuit of profit. Innocent black lives have been murdered. Innocent police lives have been murdered.
We paint in broad brush strokes, "the state traded in the hoods of the KKK for police uniforms." "Blacks shouldn't complain, they have it so much better than they used too."
These fallacies become dogmas, and breeding grounds for perpetuation of hate.
We choose a cause in order to solidify why we are justified in our feelings. But why do we feel this way? Because, from our warped perspective, we view others as different and it scares us. Like a baby, not hungry, suckles at their mothers breast. So do we suckle at the breast of security found in the teachings, whatever they may been, from our mothers and fathers.
A very simple, basic illustration.
"I'm a republican."
"Because my mom and dad were."
"What's a republican?"
"Not really sure, but that's what I am."
The root cause of fear is death. We will do irrational things when we fear death. We wish to survive and kill that which "threatens" us even if the threat is merely perceived and not real. So what's the solution?
Unity. Brotherhood. Sisterhood. Growing into maturity. Acknowledging and integrating the wounds of our past. The realization we aren't different. We are the same species.
Warning, living as a medication treating the root cause of any pain, may be the hardest thing you ever do. It may take longer than your lifetime. But it's the only way to a unified human existence. We need bridge builders, not more division.
By Eric Beach
I held my child this morning. The embrace was life giving. But, the time came to put her down and she wept. It hurt my soul so I picked her up and embraced her tighter than before. She did the same. In that moment I didn't want to ever let her go... Then I realized something.
Many men, and women grew up with their childhood robbed from them. It was smashed by an abusive father, hidden by and absent father, or distorted and wrapped in bubble wrap by an overindulgent father.
We were prevented from growing into a maturity or even understanding what maturity was! Instead we grew up still clutching our inner child. The lost and hurting one. The exiled one. The child that if we set down, will cry until we pick it back up.
Security and comfort are found only if we embrace that wounded child. Maybe that doesn't sound bad, but how much can we accomplish when holding that inner child. We have no free hand and in an effort to find one we have two choices...
1. We can set the child down and complete the task half present and half focused and pulled down by the squalling child. We become short tempered and frustrated when the task doesn't go as planned. We want it done fast so we can silence the screaming child.
2. We can adjust, put the child on our hip, or some other odd mechanical arrangement and fumble through whatever it is we wish to do. Things get dropped, we appear incompetent and weak. We feel shamed, so this option makes us want to stop trying anything that doesn't nourish that inner child. We form our life around our inner "high chair tyrant" and his/her demands.
So how do we overcome this? That's part of the journey we are all on. For me, I'm taking moments to let the baby cry. I'm not allowing the inner child to to win. I'm letting him see I'm no longer at his beck and call. I'm also putting myself in relationships with men better than myself who can help me mature that child.
We should never get rid of the child inside us. If we do, we also get rid of creativity, spontaneity, and exuberant joy. We become callous, cruel, cold, and driven only by results and completion of task.
What we need to do, is learn how to set boundaries for that inner child. We need to help him grow and acknowledge he/she is part of us. We need to acknowledge and seek to understand what's going on when rage/tantrums surge. We need to see that our inner child is on the ground throwing a fit in the middle of the grocery store and transcend above and ask ourselves, why.
Then, we need to take a breathe, tell the child we'll be done in a minute, and only after we hold the space and finish the task will we return to the grab the child. It's not easy to do, but I'm trying.
By Eric Beach
I'm trying my best, just like everyone else. My best looks different from everybody else. It even looks different from what my best used to be! But so does my passion and purpose.
It’s amazing how desperately I hang onto unhealthy things and how ferocious my fear is when faced with hope. What if I don’t deserve it? What if I’m not good enough? What if its beginners luck? What if, from my platform, I leap into irrelevance? What if my dreams are too big?
I catch a glimpse of hope and purpose and immediately fight to disqualify myself, so others won’t. The reality is if your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough.
Anyone who knows me, knows I have no trouble dreaming. But, dreams with out action become paintings on our cave wall. Am I a dreamer sitting on a couch, or a dreamer stepping forth from his cave? Furthermore, if I leave the cave, which dreams do I follow?
From this cave I’ve started no less than 5 businesses, written and filmed several Hollywood blockbusters, mastered the martial arts, gotten in shape, finished an ironman triathlon, started a non-profit, and so much more. But for the most part, those accomplishments have never made it outside my head! I keep them locked inside, left to tear me apart.
My compass needle won’t stop spinning. It keeps me lost in the darkness of my cave. Even if I wanted to step out, I’ve forgotten where the exit is.
Why? Because I’m spinning so many plates. If I move, they’ll all crash down around me. But what if I come at this problem from a new perspective.
All the plates carry on it, a dream, an achievement, a goal, I know that. But, the plates are spinning on something. A pole. What is that pole? A support, an underlying principle that allows the plate to spin.
These poles, these foundations are our core purpose. The pole holds the plate, holds the space between me and the realization of my dreams.
I looked at all my dreams in this way and found a common thread, the composition of the pole. It’s to help others. It’s to lead the immature to maturity. It’s to love, support, and hold the space with those who have been hurt by the forces that gave me my own wounds.
I understand now! So often we spin plates on broken sticks! There is no stability and if we move forward, we will be destroyed along with our dreams. There is no security, only chaos!
Emotional paralysis is spinning plates on splintered sticks.
Our only responsibility is to find our core purpose and live it. It will drive us to the realization of our dreams. Staying grounded in that truth, staying focused on our core purpose, makes failure impossible.
We may never be famous, we may never be important in the eyes of the world. But, we will be happy. We will be fulfilled. We will make a difference.
This year is the year we stop trying and start being.
Find the unifying truth beneath every dream. There you will find the beginnings of your journey. The journey to discovering your core purpose.
Dig well my brothers and sisters.
By Eric Beach
So this morning and the past couple of days, I’ve been having a hard time with my PTS (Post Traumatic Stress). This morning was very dark for me. When It gets dark and I remember to, I write. This is what I wrote this morning. I don’t know if its a poem, a short story, or something else! All I know is its an expression of my heart. Read this through your own lens. The best part about art is you get to take what you need to take out of it! Also, don't be afraid to explore outlets like creative writing when you face your own darkness. Paint a picture with no clue what your trying to paint. Just connect to your emotion and paint. Write. Don't worry about fitting into a genre or classification. Just connect with your emotion, and write. For me, creative writing in these low moments has helped navigate me and awaken me to truths on this journey of healing that I would have never found otherwise.
I’m in the woods, bleak December.
Life forces slowed leaving shells of past remembered.
Remnants reminding me of this reality,
Fossils of hope.
Take a step.
New ice cracks, not strong enough yet.
But strong enough to make me slip.
To much pressure and I fall through.
No signs of life here, but if I close me eyes,
I see it.
Moments of darkness bring a strange peace.
Can I stay asleep?
Wind swept trees, the rustle of fallen leaves,
Twigs fight branches on neighboring limbs.
Its all for me to see.
Maybe theres a sunrise.
Sleepy eyes show me ugliness
Is all there is to see, obscuring reality.
Pin point experiences deny greater awareness.
Whats above the trees?
Looking up, searching, I stumble.
Thats what you get for looking up it seems.
Since I’m here again, Better I go to sleep,
Chasing peace in false reverie.
Awake, in pain, again.
Staring at the sky that put me here.
Curse you hope, sower of regret! It’s your fault!
This wasteland, desolate and cold! Alone!
I want to leave, But I live here not by choice.
Who would choose this?
I fought the hardest I’ve fought for anything to get here.
A bird chirps. I wish it would shut up.
Silence strangles me yet noise enrages me.
I walk the line between life and death
With a broken compass.
I weave in and out, side to side.
Emotions my guide
The sky brightens, and the pain lessens.
I miss the green leaves.
I understood purpose then.
Now purpose seems dead.
Come back to life I scream
Hoping the trees hear me.
I know these things can’t be forced, but I try.
Desperate for change.
Sun leaks through the branches and blinds me.
Eyes blurred, the once twisted branches blend together.
One branch ends, another begins.
Once gnarled now straight, once broken now graceful.
The darkness flooded with light.
I close my eyes and fight it and hide.
Once opened, the ugliness returns.
I am justified.
I am right.
This land is barren.
This is Hell.
Better to sleep.
I lay under a tree. I see it.
Ugly, alone. Trunk twisted from years of struggle.
Branches scattered around on the ground,
Winds of trial knocking them down.
They weren’t strong.
The top of the tree a thicket of confusion.
A maze of desperation.
Each limb fighting against itself searching for survival.
Independently reaching for the sky.
Climb the tree a small voice says to me.
Lower branches make sturdy steps.
My feet giving them purpose long since dead.
The bark on my hands, rough, strong.
Protected, we are connected.
I feel it.
Pushing through the branches
I’m scratched, slapped, scrapped by thin wooden fingers.
Stinging pain, surging rage.
Climb down! Go back to sleep!What do you hope to see?
Take the pain.
I don’t know why, but I must find the purpose for which the branches fight.
I burst through the canopy, gasping for air.
Eyes closed, chest heaving, making room for breathing.
The crisp air is refreshing.
I open my eyes.
The tops of the trees join together.
Like frozen waves in a storm ruled sea.
A storm if thawed, would surely kill me.
The Ugly fades.
The lone tree amongst the broken becomes whole.
The ugly, a piece of a collective beauty
Tells me there is no beauty apart from community.
I see a lone green bud atop the once ugly tree.
No longer asleep.
No longer missing things. I see.
The sting of the struggle lead me to peace.
I broke free from the chains,
the desire, the prison
The numbing need to stay, asleep.
By Eric Beach
Since running my last triathlon, my calf muscle has been giving issues. At times I can’t seem to run more than a mile before a sharp pain reduces me to a walk, or light jog. I’ve tried to rest and ice it, slow down my pace, and even not run. Nothing has made a lasting impact. At mile one, the pain returns. At the 1-mile mark, my leg seemingly becomes unhealthy.
Yesterday, I needed to run. I needed a physical outlet. I’ve been reading about proper running form and had some new things I needed to try. It was 23 degrees yesterday morning when the time came to run. The first mile burned my lungs with cold, but I felt alive! But, after that first mile, the sharp pain jolted through my leg. I stopped and walked. I was frustrated but calm.
I asked myself, “What is going on!?!” Unsatisfied with walking I started to run again. I shortened my stride, doubled my cadence, and looked at the road, 20 feet ahead of me. With these things and only slightly bending my knee as I ran, I was able to finish the second mile. Setting out that morning, all I wanted to do was finish a 2 mile run.
I felt good about it. I didn’t finish without pain, but I finished. My pace was slower than I would have liked. In the past, I hated any regression, but now I see it differently. Here’s what I learned yesterday morning.
I tend to live in the future, but stare at the ground in front of me. My thought process is a little like this. “I want to finish an ironman and help others compete in the sport I’ve come to love. But, my knee is preventing me from running more than a mile. My dream then, is impossible. I am hopeless.”
I disqualify myself rather than step back and reevaluate my circumstance. Maybe I should run slower for a while instead of just quitting. I had been running a 5K in the 23-minute range. Maybe I need to run it in the 27-minute range until I’m stronger and understand the origins of my pain. That’s ok! Setbacks aren’t closed doors. Setbacks are more like hurdles, and hurdles were designed to be overcome.
Whatever dream I have, and there are several, will undoubtedly come with setbacks and hurdles. The question isn’t if or when, it’s what are you willing to overcome in pursuit of your dream.
Don’t stare at the ground on the way to your dream. You won’t see the hurdle coming and you will fall hard. I promise.
Don’t mistake the temporary for the permanent. Slowing down for a time doesn’t equal failure if it helps you ultimately get you to your dream.
Overcoming the obstacle, that thing you feel if attempted would overwhelm and kill you, requires success and failure, sprints and walks, and hurdles… A lot of hurdles.
Nobody wins a race because they were comfortable. They win because they committed to what was required to overcome the hurdles. They new the cost’s, weighed them and decided their heart was willing to pay the price. They showed up to the race wounded, bearing their scars and appeared comfortable because the physical race is the easy part.
By Eric Beach
There was a point in time when I was in great shape. I was a soldier so out of necessity, my body was conditioned as such. So what happened? How did I get here? A 31 year old couch sitter. It's simple. I stopped trying.
You see I left the military and entered a world of self-medication. I drank too much in an effort to numb my feelings and used cocaine to feel something. I ate out, never cooked in and when I was motivated to eat healthy (after an all night bender) I'd walk to Subway. Nothing says healthy like cheese, pepperoni, salami, ham and a bag of chips!
Fast forward about 5 years and two hospital stays after two suicide attempts, and I was finally clean, mostly sober and 35 lbs heavier (about 195 lbs). The only exercise I was getting was running to the oven to save the pizza I was burning and climbing the stairs to my bedroom. I wasn't winning at life, but I was getting better.
Over the next 6 years my weight and energy level would fluctuate. I would get married, have two beautiful baby girls and receive a service dog for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through This Able Veteran So what now? Why am I writing this? Why share this brief summary of my post military life? It's because I'm ok.
I'm ok and the world convinced me ok was..... well... ok! I've come to realize I'm an ok husband, an ok father, and my health is ok. I've come to realize ok doesn't take work. Ok is existing. A farmers field with an ok yield produces just enough to get by. Ok is simply surviving. But surviving isn't living.
"Ok" marriages end. I don't want my marriage to end... ever. "Ok" health lacks energy and I want to run and play with my kids and when I do it I don't want to feel like my knees will explode or I'm going to somehow hurt myself!
This is my line in the sand. This is my declaration. This is me stepping into the arena, onto the battlefield and beginning to fight. I'm fighting for my family, for my health and for a future thats more than "ok". Will you join me on this adventure?
I've chosen to train in triathlon and in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The physical demands make me feel like a soldier again, but thats another blog topic! We must find a way to move our body so we can then move our soul. Physical activity and Self-discovery are synergies. They are both necessary for a human being to heal and to become the person they were always meant to be. This Project is centered around that truth. We are helping those who care to listen, start their journey's to authentic Self and authentic living. We would love for you to join us!