Mental Health

The Bar

Before you roll your eyes and sigh at me for going all ‘gym zen’ remember I have always shared with you the ups and downs and the things that have helped me on my wellness journey.

On the 14th November 2014 I made a confession to you. I told you that anxiety was a massive part of my life and I explained how it affected me. Seven months later, just as things were getting too much, I reached out for help.

I started medication, meditation and mindfulness. I learned about gratitude, and giving and I decided to live with kindness.

With your love and support my mind became stronger, I started to forge a core built on simple values and I found a way to live. I learned to sit with thoughts and feelings and to find peace away from anxiety.

I learned to drive without fear, to answer the phone, to try new things and to live.

I’ve come such a long way but something has been holding me back. The effort I have put into my mind has not been put into my body. We have talked about my struggle with my weight before. I’ve tried to eat mindfully and to take the emotion out of food but the kgs have been sneaking on and on.

In the same way avoidance leads to anxiety in my mental health I have been avoiding being present in my body. I can meditate to be mentally present in any moment BUT I still hide from myself physically.

Remembering that I had to reach out for help at the beginning of my journey about two months again I did it again.

I found a trainer and I started lifting weights. This is what I have learned so far…

The Bar

A loaded bar has no politics, no ego, no agenda. It wants nothing from you, it isn’t selfish, it doesn’t demand, it just is.

You step up to the bar with the pure intent to move it and it either moves or it doesn’t. There are no excuses, no other factors besides you and the bar.

To move the bar you have to be present. You have to be in that moment in your mind and fully occupying your body.

It’s the most simple and simultaneously the most complex thing. Lifting is the ultimate mindful practice. If you overthink or bring ego or less than your full intent it will fail.

Learning to occupy my body has been hard because I am ashamed of it. Fortunately the bar doesn’t care about my shame and to move the bar I have to let it go of my shame.

As I couldn’t hide from my mental anxieties I can no longer hide from my physical self, the bar won’t let me.

I almost faltered in my intentions, I started googling how heavy the bar ‘should’ be for my weight and height and age. I started worrying about the numbers. If I take that nonsense with me my relationship with the bar will become complex when it should be simple.

So friends, here is to the next step in this ongoing journey. Mind and body present and focussed. Leaning into the discomfort of shame and being vulnerable and courageous enough to keep stepping up to the bar.

(Massive thanks to Nicholas for being my mentor, coach and friend in this stage of my journey and The Bar Brisbane for being welcoming and awesome).

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