To forge… when most people think of the word forgery, they imagine a fake painting, or perhaps signing someone else’s signature on a check. However, I like to think of the word in a more functional sense that I can apply to training myself. I imagine a Blacksmith who is able to forge iron into steel. He must heat up the iron until the foundation and integrity of the metal is broken down. Only then can the metamorphosis take place.
In the same sense I must forge myself into something better by pushing to the limits of my physical and mental integrity through exercise. I must move, run, push, pull, squat, and meditate to break down my mental and physical integrity. I must first destroy everything that made up what I was so I can be rebuilt stronger.
The pain associated with physical and mental exertion is not like the pain I experience from an injury. This pain is different because it belongs to me. This pain is not something accidental and passive. It is deeper and more important because I am not simply feeling it, I am creating it. I am seeking it out, for it is a wise teacher with a meaningful lesson. It is a reminder that we are destroying what we once were. Like the flame that melts the iron, the exertion of my body and mind destroy their previous state of existence, and thus they are forged into something better. My body will be aching, my muscles will be burning and my mind will be subconsciously presenting doubt, but that is not a deterrent. It is simply a test. Maybe I am a masochist, but I don’t view pain as my body and mind telling me to avoid something. Instead I think of it as a guide telling me that I am in danger and I need to fix something.
You see, the pain I seek tells me I am constantly in danger of letting apathy and entropy control what my body and mind become. In order to take control, I need to forge everything about the way I move. From the way I walk, to the way I breathe to the way I stand. I need to push each and every muscle to failure.
At the root of everything, I need to forge the way I think. I need to focus my mind on each muscle as I move in the subtlest of ways. I need to break down my thought patterns to establish healthier and stronger mental pathways. When doubt presents itself, instead of avoiding it, perhaps the best approach is to listen. This fear and doubt is no different than the physical pain I seek. As it whispers my deepest and most horrific fears, I must listen wholeheartedly. “You are weak, you are insignificant, you are nothing but an illusion, an elaborate forgery.” As I hear all these things in my head, I begin to realize their truth. I am weak… and my purpose is to face my weakness, to better myself in as many ways as I possibly can. I am insignificant… I amount to nothing more than a single rain drop in a massive storm, but without rain drops what storm would there be? (thank you David Mitchell for that metaphor). I am a forgery… not a stolen signature, but a piece of iron that is forged in the flames of physical and mental exertion. I must realize that I need to put fire to all of my weakness so that I can forge myself into something truly strong. I must become the blacksmith of my own existence.