On Life and Lifting Weight


Imagine you are walking into a gym. You cross the room to reach the area for lifting weights. Beneath your feet is the padded flooring. In front of you there is a barbell. On each side of the bar is a stack of weights. As it lays in front of you, this bar is immensely heavy. Perhaps your bar is entirely unable to be lifted. Or, you may be able to lift the bar but will strain under the weight, ultimately dropping it or succumbing to injury.


To continue to meet with this bar every day and expect to someday lift it safely is unreasonable. Frequent injury from overdoing it will continue to inhibit you. A bar so heavy it cannot even be lifted denies you the ability to work up slowly. If this barbell is ever going to be lifted, it is the bar that will have to change.


Take off each weight from your bar. Consider each piece of metal and explore how much it weighs. Let yourself truly feel the impact of the pressure.


Consider how long this piece has lived on your barbell. Who does this weight belong to? Did they put it on the bar, or did you accept it and add it yourself? We accept weight out of kindness, worry, guilt, and fear. Weights slip onto our bars without us even recognizing.


All around this gym there are the barbells from all the other people in your life. How full are their bars? How many of their weights were on your bar? How many of your weights are being carried by someone else?  Think of all the metal you have just removed from your barbell that belonged to someone else. What would it be like to give this weight back to its true owner?


We cannot carry all of our weights at once. We certainly cannot carry all our weights plus the weights of the world. So spread each piece across the padded floor. Take time with each one. Hold every weight and sit with it for a while.


Think about how strong you are today and reset your barbell with only what you can lift at this moment. We have to allow ourselves space to practice lifting, and we can also help others do the same. When we give back some of the weights we have carried for others, we make our load more reasonable, and we allow the others in our lives to get stronger, too. Rather than carrying for others, we can serve as spotters.


With time, we can add more weight to our own bars. With time, the weight will not seem such a burden. But until we give ourselves time to grow, we cannot expect to carry the weights of the world.

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