In my lifetime I have never pushed a human being out of my body. That is not to say I have never given birth. I have given birth to many. By my hand, life has come to tangibles like jewelry creations, an unpublished manuscript, baked goods, artwork, and homes. In the realm of dreams I have birthed a girl who is not afraid to appear in public with food on her clothes, immense creativity in my work with people, forgiveness for the unpardonable, passion, and a flare for the dramatic.
Patrick Porter PHD, tells me often in my Creative Visualization and Relaxation audio sessions, that I am far more capable than I have been led to believe, and far greater than I have yet allowed myself to become. The first time I heard those words a chill ran down my spine as I recalled a powerful recurring voice from my childhood. “Beth has great qualities of leadership, but does not live up to her potential.” Although I have spent a good deal of my life, exceeding in some ways, my potential, the shadow of those words hung, albeit thinly veiled, over many of my accomplishments until fairly recently.
With eight days and less than 300,000 meters standing between here and the finish line, I pause to reflect on some of the potential that has been realized.
- Anyone who ergs 1,000,000 in a month is NO longer looking for her inner athlete – she is an athlete. I AM AN ATHLETE! (as are you)
- By times I become one with the smooth fluid motion of my machine.
- My legs are awesome and POWERFUL. I inherited them from my grandmother who had gorgeous legs well into her 80’s. Over the years a few people have said I have nice legs, and while I would concede that they are long and shapely, I didn’t really see their beauty. I have a whole new respect for these bad boys that can still power through meters in the fourth hour of a heavy mileage demand day.
- I am able to push through tremendous pain as it moves day by day to new areas of my body by listening harder to see what it has to say, rather than interpreting ALL discomfort as negative. Is it just muscles that need a bit more time to warm up, demand greater care, a different pace, or do I really need to stop?
- I am capable of equally extreme levels of concentration and relaxation during exertion.
- I can and will complete all workouts by breaking them down to the smallest of goals by telling myself I can do anything for eight minutes, (which grew from two) and usually by the time eight minutes has passed I am over myself and able to keep going.
- At times it feels like I will never get off the erg.
- At times the end is in sight.
What has become clear is that a new labor is underway. When I chose 1 million meters, it was not arbitrary and although I can’t as yet, articulate how I came to that, it was in response to knowing that something new had begun to stir inside of me. Over the course of long, cold, lonely, exciting hours and days it has been slowly taking shape and form. At first, it ‘s namelessness made me a bit uneasy. It was different from anger, or raw emotion. The further I rowed the more it became real.
A few days ago I found myself engaged in the umpteenth battle to stay the course. Exhaustion threatened, and I had already implemented every positive line of self talk. In the very moment that I cried out, once again asking for help to continue moving towards the life I am creating, away from mis-takes of the past, that the new name was revealed to me for the first time. There remains now, only the tiniest apprehension of wondering how Fierce will impact my daily life.
My well meaning significant other said to me the other night, “Who rows a million meters in one month?” The answer is – I do. Fiercely.