“There’s no way of explaining the Aleph…[it’s] a point in the Universe that contains all other points, present and past, large and small. You normally come across it by chance.” – Paulo Coehlo’s Aleph
“The universe works in opposites.
Where there is a yin there is a yang.
Where there is positive there is negative.
It’s constantly trying to balance.
This is known as the unity of opposites and can’t be broken.
It occurs in the microscopic level to the universal level.
A constant ebb and flow that is within us and external to us.
But it is unbiased, just as to be balanced.”
– AJ Roberts
I feel like I stumbled upon the Aleph the other day, in a gym of all places (I pretty much only go to the gym and coffee shops, so, if I were going to find it, it would have to be there).
I pulled up, dropped my gym bag, and sat on a medicine ball next to my friend who had parked her round, squat-butt on a bench. I ate my chicken and rice (like any good lifter on a weight cut), and my gorgeous gal pal told me about the struggles in her life.
Then I shared about my bad day.
Then my other friend who I was going to train with showed up and said, “I just had the worst day!”
We sat there, the three of us together, in our horrible days, and somehow it was beautiful.
I had thought about driving home early instead of staying to train. I was crying in my vehicle moments before, but I knew lifting heavy weights with a friend would make it all okay.
We picked up our barbells like vicious beasts, and we chatted in between sets like girls at a slumber party.
Yin and yang.
I ran into almost everyone I know from that gym. People who like me. People who don’t like me. (I used to want everyone to like me. Now I know having people not like me is just as important as having people respect and admire me, and I love both.)
I’ve gone to that gym long enough to see relationships flourish and falter within those walls.
I talked with my friend about relationships (what else do girls talk about?) and we reflected on how shitty relationships have taught us to appreciate good ones.
And then we slammed barbells onto platforms.
My other friend vacuumed. She has a love-hate relationship with cleaning. It’s boring and monotonous and you always feel like you could be doing something better with your time, but it helps to find some headspace.
Within these four walls I felt a microcosm of everything. Every relationship that’s ever happened, good or bad. Every personal struggle and every team victory.
I felt the energy of everyone in there at once.
Some people were having a fantastic day and keeping their happiness levels high by lifting and laughing with friends.
Others were sad or broken, and just trying to heal themselves through sweat and iron.
And it was all absolutely necessary and beautiful.
The darkness. The pain. The heartache. The sadness. Quarrels. Conflict. Problems.
They’re all just as important as light. Joy. Happiness. Love. Friendship.
You can’t have healing without pain.
You can’t have a solution without a problem.
It’s all necessary and, like AJ said, it forms a beautiful balance that cannot be broken.
And what better place for me to learn that than in a gym?
Every day at the gym I pick up a barbell in my hands and I push my body through discomfort. And what’s the result? My body changes into something stronger and more beautiful. My mind learns how to push through pain, how to ward off distraction. I learn how to experience my emotions and when to control them. I’m taught to be present and focused.
And in that gym yesterday, I felt the energy of everyone their going through that exact process; I found a tiny Aleph.
You don’t need to look for a silver lining. You don’t need to avoid the shadows. You need to see the beauty in the darkness, and not just in the light.
Just like three girl friends sitting and sharing their sorrows, and then lifting heavy within the walls of a gym, I’m learning that happiness alone isn’t ideal; there’s beauty in struggle.
Girl talk and slammin’ barbells. Yin and Yang.
Sign up for my newsletter to receive your free Daily Difference Maker – the 5 min journal that will help you live your days with more intention and gratitude.