Back in the fall of 2012, I knew my obsession with work had taken a toll on my body. Body composition photos of my muscle loss and fat gain only made that pain more visible. The irony of a trainer letting his health slip while working at a gym was not lost on me. So, I joined a different gym and inversed the problem by gaining more muscle and losing some fat.
I relapsed last spring, again letting work get in the way of my health. And again, the pain drove me to make subtle changes to my diet and find enjoyment in my training. The cause of my pain was straightforward: Too much input (too many calories) and not enough output (movement). Deadlifts cured what ailed me.
It’s occurred to me that this concept of pain as motivator is the same whether we’re talking about fitness or creativity. We move and change when it’s more painful to stay the course. And while I’ve pulled myself out of the physical pain of detraining, I’m feeling mental and emotional anguish. I’ve hit a tipping point, and I’m ready for a change.
In recent months, my brain has gotten fat and out of shape because of wandering thoughts and a noisy internal dialogue. The symptoms are simple. Instead of my waistline bulging, my spelling is suffering (even with autocorrect). I’m not asking concise questions or making clear statements.
As with fitness, this problem boils down to too much input (in this case, thoughts and information) and not enough output (creativity).
I need to create — I need to write. My thoughts need somewhere to go. With a little wiggle room, I can move and change my perspective.
I have been creating consistently in other forms. Namely, I’ve been training the visuals. I bought a fancy camera, have been doing a lot of video editing, and I’m diving deeper down the graphic design hole. But creating novel pieces is not as easy as it once was. I need new output, new neural pathways. Furthermore, these endeavors don’t help my pain of moving my thoughts out of my head. They scratch a different itch.
It’s time for me to get off the mental couch and start writing more often. To get some different movement in and watch it spill over into other parts of my life, hopefully.
But there’s more to this journey than moving or creating differently. What keeps us going after the pain?
Like movement in the weight room, movement in life is balanced with a push….and a pull.
Here’s to feeling what pushes you and finding what pulls you.
Originally Published: September 6th, 2015