A few weeks ago I wrote the first page of what will become a series of pages called Demons. These are about the Demons that are surrounding me while I am going through this Ironman process. They are ones that have recently appeared in my life and that are currently or forever have been haunting me. Chasing me, holding me down and creating struggle and conflict. We all have Demons of some sort. Whether we want to admit them or not. Many of us suppress the idea of them. We have this fear that if we admit they exist then they will have control over our lives. Funny, because we create stories to cover them up. We go on diets or to the gym or read books or spend hours watching TV so that we can close out the world and ignore them. We wear makeup or buy the latest styles or shoes with taller heels or cars we can't afford, befriend those we don't really like and break up with those that we really do in order to keep our Demons away. The truth is.....by doing all of these things we give our Demons all the power in the world. We give power and are submissive to that we are most fearful of. On this journey, I call life, I am forever trying to confront my Demons as so they do not have power over me. I believe that I have done a pretty decent job of facing new experiences, managing change and of meeting my challenges, short comings and fears head on. All along while not comprimising my beliefs and who I am as an individual. But with all of the years of work I have done in staying mindful, I know I have Demons and I know I have a long way to go to aknowledge them and to not allow them to rule who I am and how I live. I believe it is in this simple act, that we can make those Demons harmless. They will always be there ready and waiting in the wings to pop back into our lives given the chance. But if we give them their due respect and more importantly if you give yourself your due respect and the self love you deserve these Demons then can't touch you.
In Demons ~ Page 1 I played it a little safe and introduced you to Nokk. Nokk is the Swimming Demon known for drowning people who play in rivers, lakes and potentially the Caribbean. For me he is the creature that makes the first 10 minutes of an open swim pretty crappy. He steals my breath and attempts to make me quit before I have really even began. Considering I have a 2.5 mile open water swim to start the Ironman I will be competing in December in Cozumel, Nokk is very real to me. Now do I believe I will drown while racing......absolutley not. But do I fear Nokk, when I start swimming......most definitely. Have I acted like he didn't exist and tried to ignore those feelings and emotion. You betcha! After I introduced you all to him, I had the best open water swim at the Steamboat Olympic Tri. I simply aknowledge he existed, I listened to what my mind, heart and soul were telling me and I created a plan in working with Nokk. I know he has not gone away. I know he will be hiding behind some coral or reef. Waiting in a school of fish for me in the Caribbean Sea. It is my hope, that I will continue to aknowledge him, perhaps wave to him and blow him a kiss wth a big smile as I swim safely to shore.
|Getting kicked & punched with a few hundred buddies|
I say I played it safe because being nervous or scared about swimming with a few thousand others smacking you around is not really unnatural or deep or profound. It is not really revealing of me with exception that I hid it intially and I have openly revealed Nokk to all of you. But it actually is probably very real and normal for most who first attempt to do an open water swim, let alone first really learn how to swim to have a few Demons thrashing around in the water.
Today, I'd like to introduce you to Belial ~ The Demon of Guilt.
|Belial ~ The Demon of Guilt|
Belial can be found in the Jewish texts of The Dead Sea Scrolls.
Belial is the leader of the Sons of Darkness:But for corruption thou hast made Belial, an angel of hostility. All his dominions are in darkness, and his purpose is to bring about wickedness and guilt. All the spirits that are associated with him are but angels of destruction.
Guilt???....me???....a nice Italian Catholic Boy with Jewish ancestry doing guilt??? If ever there was a recipe for lineage doing guilt........
|Me and my boy....Day 1|
Why Guilt? Why is Belial in my life? Training for an Ironman is a very selfish act. It is wonderful that I want to experience the race and perhaps pushing myself to the limits. But at what price and who pays for it? My boy certainly does.....when dad used to run marathons he would find running routes and take Rugger on just about every training run. How can he come along on a 4 hour road bike ride or a 2 hour swim? Work in a great way has gotten busier. Combine that and my training for an IM and I am about invisible to him. I work 8 to 12 hours a day 5 to 7 days a week and then add on hours of training 6 days a week beyond work. So just the time alone, not spending it with him has drastically been reduced. Last summer we hiked 8 ~ 14ers together, this summer we have done 3. Weekly we would go paddle boarding, hike sanitas, mtn biking on single track and trail run almost daily. I can count the amount of times we have done those four activities on one hand this summer. What does this beautiful adopted once beatened and abused Vizsla know about an Ironman or why Dad doesn't spend as much time with him anymore? They say doing an Ironman is a family event as it takes you away from your family so much. That the accomplishment of crossing that finish line is truly shared by all those in the household and the sacrifices that everyone has made to get the athelete there. That is why scores of family members attend each event wearing T shirts proclaiming their athlete and waving signs as they follow them throughout the course.
My boy, he will get to stay with a sitter for a week while I'm out on the course alone. Not sharing a single moment of this event with me. How will he ever know how much I appreciate and am sorry for not having this time with him or the guilt I feel over it? Perhaps this is silly to some, when I open the door after a day of work there he is my silly boy jumping up and down and having a parade in the house because I am home. I run in the house typically trip on him as he is under my feet and try to get to my bike because I need to get out the door in 5 minutes otherwise I will lose the daylight. He follows and then watches me with his sad eyes as I leave. My heart feels heavy and I'm sad and guilt ridden. After 3 hours when I return, he does his wiggle butt dance just as happy to see me as he was earlier and I feel more guilt and it is now too dark or too late to take him out for a run or swim or bike or to do anyone of the billion activities he loves. So I try to just give him love but a V needs to run and explore and I know he is missing out and Belial is present in my mind and my soul.
|My goofy adorable lovable boy.|
There is another way in which Belial is very present in my life right now and he is literally present right now, at this very moment as I type these words. Belial is present when I am unable to work out and get a training session in. It is now 9:30pm and I just got home from work moments ago. I started working at 8am this morning. 12 hours at the job. Today's training routine was supposed to be an hour masters swim class during lunch and then an hour run with others being coached by Eric. Well, I could not get out of work today for class. I let Eric know and he adjust today's routine. I then realize I am not going to get out of work in time to hit the running training session. He adjusts my routine once again. I'll get them both in on my own I tell him. No worries. Doesn't look like that will happen.
At this point if I was to do the work out prescribed to me I would need to swim for about two hours and then run for an hour. I could do that. Gym is open till 11pm. I could get my swim on and then run the roads till 12am. Then shower and get ready for bed and be wired till 3am or so. I know, I have done this before. Tomorrow corporate folks are coming to work for a few important meetings. I cant be wiped for that and then I will need to try and do tomorrows workout. This scenario is not uncommon for me. I need to make a decision no one but me and I pay the price one way or another. I am wiped for a few days trying to catch up while maintaining my vigorous work schedule and training or I sit here and kick myself in the ass for not working out. Oh sure, I rationalize and say I've made the right decision and I can come back even stronger tomorrow. But then tomorrow looks much like today and I seem to be missing a workout day once a week or every other week. "Ahhhh no worries Marty, it is just a work out. Don't be so hard on yourself." Well, I think that is very easy to say but after swimming 2.4miles, riding 115miles and running 26.2 miles, if I don't cross the finish line in time before the cut off, I will be kicking myself harder in the ass ever than before and I will come back to days like today when I rationalized myself out of the days training.
|Belial ~ Feeds off of your guilt|
I feel like I have let my coach down, myself down, Rugger down, all those that are rooting for me down and think about all the time effort, money I have thus far invested and for what? To say it has been a very long day and I am tired and I am having a hard time getting out there to now do a 3 hour workout till midnight ???? I feel the guilt and I feel like I should "Suck it up" but there are times where that it is very difficult to do. I haven't had the opportunity to take the boy out and I don't get a training session in. Today I get the double whammy of Belial. He is laughing and mocking me right now as I type these words. I can hear his cackle in the back of my mind.
The Twelve Steps Programs have a powerful saying:
“You are only as sick as your secrets”
The agents of darkness lose much of their power when hidden things are brought into the light. To hide the things that haunt us, treating them as dark secrets to be kept from others, is to try to fight the forces of darkness on their own turf. It is to play into their hands, foolishly putting ourselves at a dangerous and totally unnecessary disadvantage in our spiritual fight.“ . . . in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). The cunning enemies of our soul are well aware that their chances of hoodwinking us soar if they can somehow pressure us into isolating ourselves from our greatest human sources of comfort and spiritual wisdom. Their evil strategy is to keep us from sharing with others our deepest concerns because these spiritual con artists know that feedback from God’s children will bring us back to reality and help us see through the lies deceptive spirits have kept whispering in our lonely ears. The forces of evil want exclusive access to the most vulnerable area of our lives
Every street-wise city dweller knows that to walk alone in the dark is the scariest, most unwise place to be. There is security in numbers.
So much like Nokk, I am hoping to shine a light on Belial and bring this guilt Demon out of the secrets and darkness and into the public with my admitance of him to you all with this blog.
I am not sure quite yet what I am going to do about this missing training day. Will I make it up somehow? Will I try to turn tomorrow into a triple session? Will I put my tail between my legs and apologize to my Coach for missing yet again another day of training? Right now, the triple session seems to make me feels the best about myself though I am unsure if that will happen tomorrow. In marathon training they say if you miss a workout to let it go. You can't make up for it. Just continue to move forward. I guess the same holds true for IM training.
I know that for tonight I will light the sandlewood and sit on my gomden for 20 minutes or so in stillness and silence. It is my hope to start to bring my meditation practice back with more regularity in thought of being more present and not so judgemental and guilt ridden of myself. I will also cut myself a break and give my boy a few extra rubs on his belly.