The Spirit Of Therapy Blog
What Holds You Back
In 1982, Julie Moss crossed the finish line at an Ironman Triathlon on her hands and knees. Only ½ mile to go, her legs gave out and she was unable to continue moving forward on her feet. She had already swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and run all but one half mile of a full marathon. In an interview on the NPR program Radiolab, Moss recalls that when she collapsed, a voice inside her told her to get up. She made a pact with herself in that moment to finish the race no matter what.
This story makes me wonder; what are we capable of if only we would believe in our ability to cross that finish line? Moss’s story reveals the inner struggle that all of us experience – the opposing voices within. One voice telling us to stop or to be cautious. The other voice telling us to keep going, to push ourselves. Signals from the body, the brain and the spirit do not always match up.
Depression can magnify this internal struggle. Part of you knows that you must engage yourself in life and wants to, while the other part of you feels the urge to isolate and dis-engage. Most of us despise this contradiction. We just want to feel better, to rid ourselves of the feelings and thoughts that seem to keep us immobile.
Julie Moss could have justified pulling out of the race when her legs gave way. After all, legs are somewhat essential when running a marathon. She could no longer control her leg muscles enough to finish standing up. Moss had to let go of the idea of finishing the race upright and find a new way to her goal, however untraditional. Although her body gave out and she faced the urge to quit, her determination won. She held a value and a goal so strong that it caused her to do the unthinkable.
Our values and beliefs do influence our actions and decisions. Countless studies reveal that belief alone can change moods, perceptions and body sensations or experiences. For good or bad, our beliefs are paramount to how our lives will play out. Instead of being victims of our experiences, we are sculptors of them. The question we must ask ourselves is, how willing are we to push through pain, ingrained patterns, strong urges and doubt to live out our values?
This week, take a look at your values. How do you want to be in the world and in relationships? What is it you want to be doing or how do you want to be acting to feel more authentic, more aligned with your values, desires and goals? Then ask yourself what is keeping you from living out those dreams. What pain, patterns, urges or contradictory thoughts and perceptions keep you buckled in front of the finish line? What do you need to push through them and live out your purpose?
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The Spirit of Therapy
Where psychotherapy interacts with our mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and relational wellbeing.