As it turned out, it was a doozy of a workout.
Crossfit is as much a mental challenge as a physical one for me. It’s part of what I love about it. Showing up is the first hurdle. And then there’s the I-just-want-to-give-up point that I sometimes (ok, often) reach in the midst of the work-out.
And that’s exactly where I was as I rounded the corner on my fifth running lap. I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I felt as though I was moving in slow motion- through thick mud.
I was certain that I had nothing left inside to give. And the more I thought about that, the more exhausted I felt.
And then I heard footsteps on my heels. The woman behind me was picking up serious speed. “Come on, Erin! Give it all you’ve got!!” she says, as she starts to pass me.
Crap, I think, as I pick up the pace. Initially, I am irritated – at her. As if she has any control over how fast I choose to run.
And then, as I break out into a sprint – when minutes ago, I was certain I was on empty – the thought occurs to me: she’s my game-raiser here.
Oh, the game-raisers: the people in our lives who challenge us to dig deep.
But they don’t all look the same.
There are the blessed ones who inspire us. They touch something within us, whether by their words or actions. They lift us up – so that we see our own capacity and courage and power.
Other game-raisers call us out directly – and often more boldly. They know we can do better and they don’t buy into our excuses.
And then there are the ones who trigger us – who, for some reason, push our buttons, bring out our insecurities, or maybe just make us feel anxious in their presence.
We usually do not see it, at least initially, but they, too, are often the game-raisers in our lives.
Because, whether we like it or not, they challenge us to look within and tend to whatever is being triggered. And, often, they reflect back to us parts of ourselves that we wish would go away.
Except they won’t.
It’s tempting to see these people only as irritants (hmm…or perhaps a less kind word.) And to blame them entirely for the pain or discomfort that they are causing.
Be thankful for these game-raisers, too.
Because the game is our lives. And while they might not have the purest of intentions, they present us with a spiritual – a soulful – dilemma. Do we keep resisting what’s coming up for us – or do we bravely find out what needs our attention?
We have a choice: We can remain in a state of anger, blame or upset. Or we can dig deep and see our role, our truth, our responsibility.
One keeps us playing small. The other raises our spiritual game.
So that we might live – and love – more fully.
Perhaps on your list of blessings this holiday, you might include a game-raiser – even one that’s been bugging the crap out of you. And see if you can find the gift, the learning and the capacity within you to respond from a deeper, more soulful place.