“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” – Abraham Lincoln

I have seen death.  When I look back at some of the moments in my life, where death seemed imminent, but I was able to move forward regardless of my certain outcome… it is frightening to me.  At the time I remember not just thinking, but believing in my convictions:  That I was already dead.  I had adopted Bushido as my warrior ethos.  For me, death was sought.  I just hoped it would be a good death.  I was as sure as you are right now that you breath air that some fighter, one day, had my number.  That I was going to bleed out on some dirt floor in a God-forsaken country. What is frightening to me about that is that the death never came.  I sure as hell was ready for it though.  How had I literally convinced myself of my own outcome?  How was I so sure… so much conviction.  How did I stare at death and challenge it anyway?  I laughed at the lion, pleaded with it to put me in its maw and bite.  A good death was my reward.  But I would not give it away without a fight.  My death is to be earned.

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Today I think about those moments, and how it was I found peace in those instances.  Feeling the pain and confusion I feel today… I can actually feel an awakening happening inside me.  You see… it was that I had surrendered myself.  With so much pain and destruction around me… the war, the lives lost, the disappointments, the victories… the losses back home….  I had given myself to the fates and gods that be.  My God has changed in form many times, just as I have.  But one thing is for certain… He/she/it… is still there.  Watching me patiently….  In order for me to find acceptance in those moments, I had to surrender my ego completely.

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This is extremely difficult for anyone to do.  As I grow older, I realize how much I really do not know.  Just when I am sure my life is good, and I have found myself… it all comes crashing down and I burn to ash.  Each time I have arisen, as something more powerful, stronger.  Each time I have lost ego, and surrendered myself more to my fate.  Anyone who has met me at this point knows me to be a confident man.  This confidence is not bore from accomplishment or victories.  It is bore from defeat.  In my defeats I had to rise from my own ash, and challenge the lion every time.  In my defeats I had to recognize that I was not, in fact, ever in control.  Ever.  It is in the surrendering of myself that I realize my true potential… where my happiness is.  It is within me.  It always has been.

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The barbell now is my medium for spiritual development.  I don’t lift for medals, or clout, or for aesthetic values.  I lift because like my weapon so long ago… it is now a part of me, and guides me.  I have surrendered myself to it.  When I did that, I found my fire rekindling recently.  My focus is coming back, and I can see my god again.  He has always been there, waiting for my surrender.  Just as a warrior on the battlefield when I surrendered myself to my fate… now I surrender my ego to something much greater than myself.  This allows me to give.  This allows me to produce, and love.  Recognizing that I am not in control, and that my path, whether in pain or joy, has a purpose, allows me to see more clearly and again focus on myself.  As I find myself in this rebirth, I feel my power transferring back to the barbell.  When I had surrendered myself to my fate as a warrior, I had produced my best work yet.  My leadership blossomed, my technical prowess improved… I became the man that was “made for this.”

Surrendering your ego allows you to focus on the things that are important in life and sport.  To me, that is what sport truly is about… understanding ourselves.  Let go of what you cannot control, and do not fight the way things move.  There is a purpose to this, you just need a little faith.  Be calm, there is a plan.  Clasp the barbell, and just put in your work.  Understand that there will be victories and failures, triumphs and defeats.  Grab hold of it anyway, because it is one hell of a ride.  Understand that there is power within you.  Surrender your ego, focus, and let yourself pour into your medium.  There will be nothing else like it.

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