radiolab: limits of the body


If you never listen to Radiolab, you should. I caught this episode in the car the other day when I was driving to go do one of the most physically taxing things I've ever done. I swear the universe knew that I was going to need a little help with what was coming next. 

I was off to backpack for the very first time in my life. Little did I know that I would be set into a state of panic the minute I stepped out on the trail. Climbing straight up a mountain of boulders, with 30lbs on my back, I thought I was never going to make it through the next two days.

With the topics of this episode, "Limits of the Body," fresh on my brain, I was ready to push those limits though. I didn't care that my body ached like hell, or that my backpack was chaffing against my hip bone. I had just learned about the delusions that our minds create. They really are tricky little things, sending signals of pain and fatigue when you actually have more power and energy than they would like you to believe. 

My brain was trying to confine me, telling me that I was in pain, telling me that I couldn't do it. I could no longer be fooled.

If someone could bike for 3 days straight, without sleep, and under strenuous conditions (like the interviewees in the segment), then I could overcome these signals of confinement - reach beyond my limits and climb this mountain.  I knew that I had to actively use the power of my thoughts to overcome the overwhelming instinct that was telling me to give up. 

I pushed, believing that my body - and my mind - were capable.

I made it.

I now know that there are no limits except death, so I will keep on pushing.


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