You Choose!

Most of the time, given the opportunity, I prefer not to choose. My general preference, when the time to choose arises, is to let my spouse or friend or client or employee make the choice for me: where to dine; what to work on; where/when to exercise; which movie to watch or music to listen to.

This is not a comfortable or flattering thing to admit about myself, especially since I am the type of person who likes to ‘work out’ my body. How strange then to realize that I am quite lazy when it comes to choosing in the realm of the everyday and mundane. How hard is it really, to make a choice? Why would I rather deflect an opportunity to make my own choice onto others? And yet, to not choose is making a choice too, isn’t it?

“The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.” “Life has a peculiar feel when you look back on it that it doesn’t have when your actually living it.” Donald Miller

Perhaps the problem with choosing comes from the fact that there is so much from which to choose. If choice making was always about this or that; black or white; yes or no; stay or go, perhaps choosing would be easier. On one hand I wish that making a choice was a one-and-done deal, like when I say I choose to lose weight, gain strength or improve my health status, then BAM, my choice is made and I’m done. Wouldn’t that be grand? No more decisions to make. But that system wouldn’t work too well for me if I made just ONE unwise choice. How could I undo a poor choice if I only had a one-and-done choice making system?

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Fortunately, for all of us, life is full of choice making opportunities, except when our perception tells us otherwise. If we feel stuck, plumb out of choices, then it’s time to remind ourselves this one thing: as long as we are breathing, we may choose; and we may choose as many times as is needed and we may choose differently every time.

Even though I am a lazy choice maker, I am grateful this life I live is not a one-and-done game of chance. No, this life is more like playing the slot machines with the statistical advantage stacked in my favor, because I am privileged to choose; and my choice to choose means I may choose over and over and over again…or not.

In this life, it’s a happy, powerful sentiment to know we have the authority to re-write our life’s story line if we find our story less than meaningful. If by our choices we choose to do the same things enough times, eventually the statistics play out in our favor and our choices become our habits (for better or worse); then our habits create our life (for better or worse). So here’s to the wonderful, wacky world of choice making, and here’s my note to self: You CHOOSE…like your life depends on it!

Three Words

Resistance…Is…Futile…
When uttered by the fictional Borg of the famed Star Trek movie series, those three words were meant to conjure submission, hopelessness and resignation upon the unfortunate individuals to be assimilated into the collective Borg consciousness. Those three words declared power and superiority upon them who would hear and believe.

All of us skirmish against our internal Borg voices, especially when we struggle to reach new health and fitness goals. This is the voice which comes to us as reason, and it so often sounds reasonable to our tired mind. It says: Don’t be so hard on yourself. You set your sights to high. Lower your standard. Reduce your expectations. You are older now, you should slow down, sit down, recuperate. Perhaps a new hobby is in order for you, the Borg voice says: take up knitting, painting, reading, writing, there is nothing to gain by your constant striving to be fit, to be strong. You deserve to rest, relax, retire!

Don’t let your attitude toward change or your own predisposition to avoid it create detrimental hindrances to your own personal success. John C Maxwell

In rebuttal, I say this: THOSE ARE FIGHTING WORDS! Now let me be clear. I am not suggesting that resistance is always right. There is a time to resist and there is a time to rest from doing. But what I am proposing is this: Be attentive to your inner Borg voice. Consider the goal of the Borg: to conquer and assimilate!

Resistance is the first step towards change. Louise Hay

Rather than acquiesce when your journey towards wellness becomes a thing of work for you, instead do this: Remind yourself often and always of the beauty of that goal you have set before yourself. Fight for it! Rest if you must, but do not be your own worst enemy and stop trying. Never give up on yourself…ever!

You are worth the effort. Thank you, thank you for believing in yourself! We, the world, your country, your community, your family, all of us need you to become the very best you. That is what you deserve…to be the very best version of you…today and all the days which follow!

Now let me give you three words to move you onward and upward: JUST…DO…IT!

Winter’s Momentum

It’s the middle of February 2017. The exuberance of the New Year and everything it forbode for change is now a distant memory. In six short weeks, the new has worn off every shiny resolution, fading quietly away from our consciousness like so much snow drifting on the midwestern plains. It is the bleek middle season…Winter.

It sneeks upon our good intentions like a thief, Winter does. It seemingly saps our resolve; remands our momentum; freezes our motivation. But wait…Winter abides in blinding, stinging glory; striving to reach us and teach us…how to grow in a dying season.

Spring, Summer, and Fall fill us with hope; Winter alone reminds us of the human condition. Mignon McLaughlin 

So I think it wise, if we notice Winter still in our midst, perhaps we could this once choose gratefulness. Perhaps then we might notice the inperceptible magic of Winter’s gift: for our resolution, when allowed to rest, we notice the increase of it, not its diminishment.  And the reduction of our momentum, is just a slowing of life’s pace, not a cessation of forwardness. And lastly, the freezing of our motivation for a while, perhaps is wrought  so as to temper mind and body in preparation for Winter’s thaw.

Now do we perceive? Winter’s Momentum is like a retrofit to resync body and spirit. Beautiful Winter! You are a companion for solitary contemplation; for creatitive  incubation and neogenesis of our soul. Let us plant ourselves deep under your covers of freezing rain and falling snow.

Dancing, Blessing, & Moving For Joy

I was over 50 years old before I personally connected  with the happy benefits of moving my body to music…in public…in front of other people…with other people. I know that sounds odd in today’s modern, immodest age, but that is just the kind of person I grew into.

Yet as a personal trainer and recreational sportsperson, I am well versed in the feel-good endorphins illicted in the body when it is engaged in moderate physical activities. I just  never considered or experienced the value of participating in a group fitness class  based in music or dance. I assumed such benefits were reserved for those who had a background in dance, and I had no such experience with dance in a social or fitness setting. Thankfully, in the early days of my fitness education training, my mentor (who was also my employer) strongly encouraged me to consider providing a group music-based fitness class to his facility’s program offerings.

The soul is seen when it reaches out in love. Blessing is done by the soul.
Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another.
We must think it, and feel it, and will it.
We communicate it with our bodies.
Blessing is kind of like an ancient dance of the Hokey-Pokey;
Before you finish you have to ‘put your whole self in.’
Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You ~ John Ortberg

Now fast forward 8 years and I have had the privilege of leading as many as 7 group movement classes per week in addition to a roster full of personal training clients. Half of those group classes involve moving to music; and I like to think of these music-based classes as synchronized movement therapy. I still don’t think of myself as a dancer, but in the six years of leading these group music-based movement classes I have witnessed over and over again, the transformative and healthful benefits produced upon the lives of those who regularly attend these physical activity classes.

Changing your personal meaning of exercise and physical activity from a chore into a gift will transform your relationship with movement.
No Sweat ~ Michelle Segar

And be assured, the only requirement necessary to receive a health benefit from moving is to simply choose a mindset of being a blessing…to yourself. When you attend to your body’s need for movement with the intentional purpose of having fun (read: joy), you practically guarantee a blessing upon yourself, your soul. Additionally, such a mindset (job one = fun) quickly displaces feelings of competition or uncomfortable self-awareness you might otherwise experience in a group setting.

As the instructor of these music-movement classes, I have discovered I am not immune to this soul blessing phenomenon which takes place during and after the classes I lead.  It is a mystical effect, of which I cannot easily explain. But many times during a class period this blessing energy is not only visible on the radiant, gleaming faces of group participants, but I also sense the invisible yet nearly tangible presence of joy (love?) mixing and moving in our midst…the likes of which make me feel like a silly, awestruck five year old child.

Always remember this: Most of our aging is just decay, and decay is optional; it’s  under your control. Some of life’s changes are not under your control, but this one
is. Taking charge of your life, physically and emotionally, is the best possible antidote to standard aging.  And it all starts with exercise.
Younger Next Year ~ Chris Crowley & Henry S Lodge, M.D.

Wherever I go and with whomever I talk, I preach the blessing-benefits available for the taking when we discover a physical activity which brings playful joyfulness into our lives. There is not a one-size-fits-all list of sanctioned activities which constitutes ‘real exercise’. No, the most vital part of soul/body blessing is in bringing and moving one’s self purposefully to each and every activity which brings joyful feelings to one’s heart and puts beaming smiles on one’s face.

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.
Jean Shinoda Bolen

Change…You Gotta Love It

Nothing ever stays the same, ever. In nature, in life, in our bodies. Change is one of those immutable laws of the universe. It informs us with great constancy that all things are simply on a continuum: of birth and death; of growth and decay; of youth and age; of static and dynamic; of forward and backward. There is no place to shelter ourselves from change; it is the essence and life force of every atom and molecule found in the created world. To not love change, is to not love reality.

Change (v): to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be, if left alone. Dictionary.com

The problem with change for people though, is that we often do not perceive its arrival until its presence is most obvious and unwelcome. Like the proverbial elephant in the room, we often resist change wherever and whenever we encounter it. Like sleep walkers who are suddenly awakened from our slumber, change interjects clarity and reality into our once fantastical thinking. This may explain why weight gain of 5, 10, or more pounds on our bodies is so imperceptible to us at first, until it is not.  

Is it not also interesting how we try to manage and comprehend change by employing superlatives to describe its effects upon us (gain or loss, most or least, best or worst). But what if we were to consider change not in terms of either/or, but rather in terms of ONE. What if we were to relate to change in simplicity, realizing that its power transforms all things in the singularity of its ONE-ness, ad infinitum: one moment, one day, one inch, one pound after the other.  

Perhaps then we would become lovers of change. Perhaps then we would live our lives  with ONE purposeful step after another and another and another. And then perhaps we would love change, because we would know and believe and witness that each ONE step, each ONE action, each ONE belief accumulates; and this accumulation, whether we perceive it moving us along or not, soon works a change through us.

This is the law and nature and beauty of change. With our each and every thought or movement, change works on our behalf to move us along infinity’s continuum: closer to strength or weakness, closer to health or illness, closer to happiness or sadness, closer to failure or success.

Change…you gotta love it. The power of ONE. Embrace it, or not…  

 

Run Shared = Fun Shared

One year ago today I posted on my blog about my second running of the Cinco de Mayo 10K/5K event in Tucson. I’m not sure why I looked at my post from last year, but after reading it I knew I wanted to write about today’s experience, my third entry of this race venue on this first day of May, 2016.

Much like 2015, the New Year 2016 found me busily occupied with family caretaking duties until late March with little time to run except 1 or 2 days a week. During the month of April I was able to return to some regular training, but I knew it would be at least another month before I could be race ready for the summer season. However, it was during this time of refreshed training when I realized that several of my personal training clients desired to improve their aerobic conditioning. Wouldn’t this be a good opportunity to challenge them to enter the Cinco de Mayo 5K event and join me in walking the course?

Well, in short order we had a team of 7 individuals willing to put their best two feet forward for a race in which they would only have 3 weeks to train. While this is not how I usually prepare my clients to train for a race event, the urgency of the looming 5K certainly provided us all with an extra dose of focus and purpose for our aerobic training in the days leading up to today.

Now imagine my delight, and theirs too, when we discovered that two of our team members placed in their age groups this morning! Had I run today’s race, I would likely have placed too, but what I discovered was something even more valuable than another personal age group achievement: A joy shared, is a joy doubled.

What I cherish most about today’s event as it relates to all the days which have passed in this crazy busy Spring of 2016, is the tiny role I had in helping these fun-ready ladies reach and exceed their goals on race day today. Cheers and high-fives to all of Team Oracle!

 

One Thing

Only one thing is needful for a happy, healthy, life…and that is Love. Love for the Divine One, Love for ourselves and Love for others. At first glance this seems like a list of 3 needful things, but in reality, love administered to any one of these three, is love administered to all. How can that be? Because when love is transmitted, from one entity to another, it flows where it goes; it cannot be controlled or directed or restrained. When love flows, it flows like water; like wisps of wind, its course cannot be shunted, dammed, directed or diverted, because Love Exists…unbidden…it simply Is.

Your beliefs and thoughts are wired into your biology. They become your cells, tissues, and organs. There’s no supplement, no diet, no medicine, and no exercise regimen that can compare with the power of your thoughts and beliefs. That’s the very first place you need to look when anything goes wrong with your body.

A physician can help you monitor symptoms of imbalances and pay attention to signs that you need to do more to enhance your health, but it’s the Creator working within you that heals. Real health comes from Divine Love and infuses your body with vitality.  Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Love is viral! When Love flows from one life to another, it cannot be contained or quarantined. Love is no respecter of person or station. Love is not dependent on our ability to understand or comprehend it. Love IS…whether we perceive it or not, Love Remains as our only true Reality. Our awareness or lack of awareness does not affect Love’s potency or its ability to heal our injuries. Love Endures all things (yes even war, hate, and fear) and is able to wash away our grief, suffering, and disappointment. Love wraps and draws all creation close to her breast; we feel the wind and are reminded that Love’s breath is our breath, our essence, our Love. We only need to awaken from our nightmare, and realize that Love Is With Us; Love Is In Us; Love Is For Us. Love never fails or disappoints. Love always wins…