Monday, November 4, 2013

Embrace the Pain

Last week I started a seasonal position at the Amazon.com fulfillment center. Since my writing hasn't made me independently wealthy yet, and the guiding is so sloooow, I needed some supplemental income with the holidays approaching. The Amazon warehouse is like that warehouse in Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; gigantic and seemingly never ending. When I was hired in stow they told me I could potentially walk up to 20 miles a day. I was actually excited about the prospect. Ever since I was a kid I have loved to walk. All growing up, and even into adulthood, I had a reputation among my friends for just taking off on foot. If I was without wheels and there was someplace I had to be, I just "beat feet" or took the old "heel-toe-express". 

I don't know, maybe that's why I became a hiker, and because I'm a hiker, I actually thought that walking 20 miles a day wouldn't be so bad. Boy was I wrong! I couldn't believe how bad my feet hurt by the end of that first day. I thought my Merrell Moabs and merino wool socks would keep my feet felling tip-top, but instead they throb in pain. Well, since there isn't really anything I can do about I just grit my teeth and keep thinking, embrace the pain!

"Embrace the pain" is something my cousin Luke always used to say when he was in pain. The theory is that because stopping the pain isn't an option, you just embrace it. Become one with it. 

Hiking can be a mental game a lot of the time, especially on long days. I've said that axiom aloud to myself numerous times on the trail when my feet were screaming, or my shoe was rubbing on a giant blister on my heel, or my back hurt. It's about changing your thinking so you don't quit. So you don't give-up. There isn't really much worth doing that it isn't going to cause some amount of hardship, weather it's hiking or going to the gym, or even writing. If we quit every time something is hard, or every time we felt pain, then we wouldn't get anywhere.

I also keep in mind that pain is only temporary, and experiencing it is a requirement to accomplish my goals, just like the old saying "no pain, no gain". It helps to keep the endgame in sight, whether it's the mountaintop or the shift bell. 

So, next time your'e feeling like giving up because the misery is too much, embrace the pain, and you'll see it through.