The other day I was walking down a hallway at work and the stage crew was moving things around in and out of the prop room. In the hallway there was a pretty impressive stone wall that was very realistic and had to be 20 feet long and 7 feet tall. It looked like it would be used for a castle or maybe a dungeon. The wall looked like it weighed a ton. Two young ladies were pushing this wall through the hallway with almost no effort whatsoever. As the wall sailed around the corner the young ladies were having a conversation as they walked and acted if the wall didn’t even exist as they moved it. It was hard to see but as I looked closely, I noticed a set of casters at the bottom that were barely noticeable. I never saw the wall on the stage but my best guess is that from the audience’s perspective the wall looked impenetrable and unmovable.
Originally, I was contemplating the wall idea from all the times I have had runners talk about “hitting the wall” but I realized that these walls exist in every aspect of life, especially the plant-based life. At first glance there are so many things that I thought could never change but did. I can’t get into all the walls that are out there but no matter who you are, you have them and you know it. From the “what about meeting the “boys” every weekend for breakfast to what will I eat a social event? How will I find time to exercise to how will I possibly run for 30 minutes straight? Here’s the thing though, am I really hitting the wall? Am I moving full force forward and actually making contact? Or am I just using the wall for an excuse? Maybe the wall itself is comforting because it keeps me from stretching out and feeling uncomfortable.
This may be against some writing code or something to use two analogies in one thought but I’m gonna do it anyway. I saw a movie back in the day call The Village by M. Night Shyamalan. The idea behind the movie was pretty interesting. The entire village was in the middle of a forest and the people that lived there had always been taught that there were creatures that live beyond the guarded walls of the village. No one ever questioned the story of the creatures or challenged the idea of the wall until a blind girl named Ivy wanted to leave the village to go get medicine for her dying boyfriend. Maybe it was because she couldn’t actually see the wall, maybe it was her love for her boyfriend, but she ventured off out of the village. Later, (spoiler alert) we find out that the creatures were nothing more than an elaborate hoax to keep the people in the village and that there was nothing dangerous out there.
So what does all this nonsense mean? For me, (I have a feeling I’m not alone) the walls were and still are really there. They do exist. Nearly every road in my life leading anywhere is riddled with walls. Some are absolutely huge. When I’m heading down the road I can see the walls getting closer and closer. My entire life I would get close to the wall and either sit down or turn around and head the other way. I never really actually “hit the wall”. I would get just close enough to it to quit. What if I hit the wall just to see what would happen? What if instead of making an excuse why I couldn’t meet the “boys” for breakfast I would hit the wall and see what happens? “I’ll have a bowl of cinnamon and raisin oatmeal with a bowl of fresh fruit on the side and two pieces of pumpernickel bread, dry please.” Done….. and guess what? The wall was on wheels. I hit it and it moved a little. None of my friends questioned me as to why I didn’t get my usual hungry-man special with bacon and sausage. No one called me out and life moved on. That same wall kept moving every time I hit it. Whether it is having a family gathering that’s meat and dairy free or asking for an oil free vegan dish at a restaurant, every time the wall got hit it moved. How will I ever go on a road trip while maintaining my plant-based lifestyle? A little planning ahead and some meal prep in a cooler, done, wall hit and moved. How will I ever get a training run or get to the gym with this kind of schedule? Ditch the TV or phone time an hour early and get to bed then set the alarm an hour early, wall hit and moved. No matter what area of life that’s being dealt with I have never found a wall that won’t move, even if it’s the slightest bit. Probably the most measurable and repeatable is the running wall. They said I wouldn’t be walking by the age of 30. I got a glimpse of that wall as a teenager and I steered clear of that wall. My first attempt at a run was about one tenth of a mile. I stared straight at that wall and I ran with every morsel of my being. I hit that wall, hyperventilated, and puked on the wall. (Sorry so literal) The wall moved ever so slightly. The next time I put a little more effort in it and hit it again. Once again the wall moved slightly. Little by little that wall went from one tenth of a mile to 26.2 miles. Remember, I wasn’t supposed to be walking by age 30, at least that’s what “the writing on the wall” said.
So here’s the deal, deep inside of all of us I think we know that the “wall” is nothing more than an excuse. The only way to move the wall or excuse is to hit it head on. I cringe when I see the quote “failure is not an option”. You can’t hit the wall without failing. You can’t know what you are capable of until you fail. But every time you fail you move that wall. So the next time you see the wall don’t think, just look straight at the wall and speed up, hit that wall with everything you are made of. That wall is on wheels and it moves but only if you push it. Think about it, if you keep pushing those walls out in every aspect of your life you will continue to expand the space you inhabit. So you could say that the more times you fail the bigger your life gets! That’s an encouraging idea to me.
Also here is a 40 minute interview I did for the project. Podcast is also available.
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“Eat plants, move your body. All ya got to do is a little more than ya did yesterday😉 ”
Until next time,