When was the last time you challenged yourself?
Was it a long time ago? Was the challenge difficult or easy to complete? Did it truly stretch you and demand something special from you?
Recently my son, Tommy, told me about the ‘Misogi Challenge’. He pointed me to a blog by John Gamades, called Depth Not Width, in which he quoted Jesse Itzler.
According to the blog, Jesse says, “The notion around the misogi is you do something so hard one time a year that it has an impact the other 364 days of the year.”Jesse adds,“Put one big thing on the calendar that scares you, that you never thought you could do, and go out and do it.”
There are of course other ways to view this experience.
In traditional Japanese culture, misogi involves immersing oneself in cold water or standing beneath a waterfall to purify the body and mind.
But in contemporary times, misogi has taken on a broader meaning. It’s a challenge that pushes you to your limits and forces you to confront your fears, doubts, and weaknesses. The choice or focus of your misogi is expected to have a 50% or greater chance of failure. In addition, a misogi should not kill you or harm others.
Once you complete the challenge, it’s a reminder that you are stronger than you believe and that more is possible than you can imagine. Misogi is an opportunity to reset yourself for the year to come.
I’ve been thinking about this idea for a while now and wondering what I could do to push my own limits.
This brings up several questions. What are my limits? How do I know what they are until I try to do something? Even then, how can I tell whether I can push past them?
I like the idea of challenging myself and I’ve done a lot of things that went far beyond what I initially thought was possible for me.
But what about now? What is so big that it has a 50% chance of failure, but won’t kill me or harm others?
An idea crystalized for me.
I happen to live across the street from the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail in Albany County. According to the official website, the trail runs from Grove Street in Voorhessville to South Pearl Street in Albany, a one-way distance of 9 miles. One portion of the trail is a steady, fairly long, steep grade that runs for about 2 miles.
I immediately thought about walking the full length of the trail, but that seemed too short to push me beyond my limits, since I already walk 2-3 miles a day.
So, I decided the challenge would be to walk from one end to the other and back again, a total of 18 miles. Plus, I would wear a backpack filled with lots of water, my break and lunch food and some added weight, to make the walk more difficult.
I should add that my feet are not in the best shape. I have arthritis in each of my toes and neuromas in both feet, which cause pain due to swelling around the nerves. I am currently having laser treatments and hope for significant improvement, but I may not know for sure prior to my walk.
I asked myself, “how do I rate the difficulty of this challenge and how does that translate to the benchmark of less than a 50% chance of completion?”
It certainly feels daunting. I’ve never walked that far at one time before and definitely not carrying any weight. I have no idea whether the pain in my feet will be too intense or whether the weather will be too hot and drain and fatigue me.
You could legitimately ask…then why attempt it?
I’ve thought about that too.
And here is what I decided. I want to prove to myself that I am stronger than I think I am, and more capable and determined. I want to feel the boost in physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energy and excitement that comes from achieving something beyond myself. And something beyond limits that I’ve accepted. I want to embrace new visions for my future, knowing I possess everything it takes to succeed.
Although the task may be rated as less than 50% chance of completion, I believe I have a 100% chance of success, since Tommy will be walking next to me.
So, what challenge do you accept from yourself?