Changing the Score

by Starla J. King on July 25, 2011

Avoidance is not the answer.  I learned this the hard way. 

(Consider this post my gift to you to spare you the same pain. You’re welcome.)

I have a near-death experience once a week.  Some call it a personal training session, I call it Torture Lite.  Although it’s not really Lite. Ever. At all.

I admit, just thinking about these physical training sessions scares me, and every week I consider removing this fear and death-defying effort from my life.  But then I think about how it feels to have lived through another session, and I schedule my next training session.   Nothing quite compares to the delicious post-workout feeling after all your dark energy has been burned off, giving you direct access to the pure sweetness of life.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t still try to avoid the effort it takes to get to that bliss.

Like the time I hid my ankle weights from Trainer.  They’re *just* 5 pounds each, but those buggers are little velcroed pouches of pure mean.   

I saw no reason to keep allowing them into my training sessions, so one day I hid them… just partially, because I was smart enough to know that if I really hid them, the repercussions could get ugly.  Just partially hidden so Trainer could quickly find them and then we would have a good laugh together.

Turns out only one of us had a good laugh… and it wasn’t me.

Trainer made me wear the d**n ankle weights for the entire hour-long workout. 

Trainer: 1   Starla: 0

Avoidance is not the answer.

If I had just faced the ankle weights head on, I would have had 10 minutes, maybe 15 max of thigh-busting exercises with them.  But instead, by trying to avoid them, I got about 6 times the pain with about 12 times the effort.

That’s how it works with pretty much everything we try to avoid.  It sits in the back of our mind, partially hidden, until it gets out in the open and we discover it has grown to (at least) 6 times its weight and 12 times its effort. 

  • That grudge we’ve held, putting off forgiveness until we one day might feel particularly sunny and loving.
  • That big hairy work project we’ve  rescheduled and rescheduled because we’re nervous about how well we can perform.
  • That sales call we move to the next day, then the next, because we fear a “no” = rejection or a “yes” = oh-sh*t-now-I-have-to-do-the-work!
  • The restorative quiet time to ourselves that we bury in “too busy” and “don’t deserve” and “[fill in name] needs my time more.”

All of these things… they all sit in the background, plugged quietly into our energy stores, draining the juice from everything else we’re doing… until one day they come to the forefront, stronger than ever, scarier than ever, and so much more difficult to deal with.

Avoidance: 1  You: 0

You can change the score, you know.  

Yes, it’s scary.  Yes, it’s facing the unknown.  Yes, it might feel like you’re setting yourself up for an emotional (or physical!) near-death  experience. 

But 5 pound, limited-engagement packets of benevolence are easier to deal with than the sometimes crushing sustained weight of avoidance fall-out… or even just the constant stream of background energy required to keep something below the surface, off the To Do list, or in your proverbial blind spot.

What are your “ankle weights”?  Maybe it’s time to stop hiding them. 

Maybe it’s time to change the score … to You: 1  Avoidance: 0

You can find more posts inspired by personal training sessions over at Starla’s Word Stew

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura Neff July 26, 2011 at 9:41 am

This is AWESOME, Starla J. King! Thank you for making me laugh and think and reflect. Now, what ARE my ankle weights today? I’m off to figure that out and go pull them out of hiding…


Starla J. King July 26, 2011 at 10:05 am

Laura, thank you! I *knew* there had to be a “life leadership lesson” in that whole ankle weight debaucle. I’d love to know what your ankle weights are today… May you find the courage to pull them out today. xo


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