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!

Take Time for Change

In resistance and strength training, sets of weight bearing repetitions are used to improve muscle endurance, power and size. Repetition, doing the same exercise again and again, is the foundation of every physical fitness and training philosophy. Changing an exercise or the amount of weight used in the exercise is not required, until the desired physical outcome (change) in the muscles and/or body has been achieved. 

At the beginning of every new thing we pursue: new year’s resolution, new relationship, new job, new hobby or body-improving project, we expect to exert ourselves in novel activity(s) to obtain the ‘new’ object(s) of our desire. In regards to improving our bodies, we understand change occurs only after muscles have moved against resistance by many repetitions.

If you want to experience a year of new things, you must choose to live not in the repetition of the natural, but in the newness of the supernatural.
The Book of Mysteries ~ Jonathan Cohn

We are beings who thrive on change…even when we don’t. Change is  part and parcel to existence in the natural world. The swirling atoms of this world and of our bodies are in constant flux of change. As we live and breathe, change is our destiny. And change we will for better or worse. To change or effect change is our greatest opportunity every day and perhaps also our greatest difficulty.

Time is valuable. Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.  M. Scott Peck, Psychiatrist

Change is a dynamic force (law) of the natural world. And it works in conjunction with another dynamic force of the natural world: time. These two forces, if you will, depending on our perspective, become either an ally or an enemy. Like a runaway freight train, change and time impact our lives whether we perceive their existence or passage within or upon us.

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.  Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

In 2017, let’s take time for change…every day. Because time is the currency paid out to us in minutes. Our future self, our future world is created in the realm of how we spend those minutes. Therefore, let us take time to make time change…today…tomorrow and thereafter. 

 

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…  

 

Beginning Again…Mindful Transformation

Transformation: change in form, appearance, nature, or character.
A form resulting from any such change; a metamorphosis.

With the advent of the autumn season, my senses are on full alert. This is my favorite time of year, when the cooler daytime temps move in synchrony with the shortening day light hours. These autumn days are greatly anticipated after the intensity of the summer season in the southwestern desert. And yet there is always a foreshadowing sadness with the arrival of the shortening days; because what comes with all the exterior, seasonal changes, naturally motivates me to move inward ~ physically and emotionally; to curtail outdoor activities in favor of indoor pursuits. This prompting, this inward wrapping around and into, seems to be preparing all creatures, great and small, for the coming season of rest and renewal. The crispness of the air on the wind foretells that wintertide is near.

I well know this pull towards the interior; it comes naturally to me, an introvert by nature; and like all introverts, I flourish in the solitary, inward pursuits of the mind and body. So even though I highly favor this season, with its inward draw, I struggle with this transition more than any other time of year. This is the time of year when the holidays and celebrations typically require an outward extension: into our families…into our communities…into our finances…into excesses of every kind it seems. I think perhaps this is why I often struggle to transition happily into the wintertime, because it so often brings requirements to expand, to get outside of myself.  That is not a comfortable ‘transformation’ for this introvert to make.

The journey of living requires us not just to understand, but to enter. Transformation begins when we stop watching.
The Endless Practice ~ Mark Nepo

But what does comfort have to do with growth and change and transformation? Nothing! Comfort has nothing to do or associate with change! Maybe this is why I feel compelled to write about this time of year so that I may remind myself to stay vigilant…especially in regards to my interior, to stay open and not closed down. I want to remind myself to stay on guard, to be aware of those situations, and those stressors, which may trigger me to excuse myself from the very opportunities which could trigger growth and renewal.

I have a hunch that I am not alone in this end-of-year struggle. It seems that once the days grow cooler and shorter, the desire to huddle and linger indoors is as natural as the changing colors of autumn leaves. And the activities that center and quiet me…the walks and runs out of doors, become more challenging to keep on my calendar. As a personal trainer, I have noticed that many of my clients likewise struggle to keep their health and fitness goals on track during this season. Surely there must be a better way to transition into year’s end, especially if we have positively progressed in the months leading up to this juncture.

“To strengthen what is possible, we can imagine and spend equal time with what might go right as with what might go wrong.” Mark Nepo

But is it possible or even reasonable to actually plan, and act, and expect that this year could end on a positive note rather than on a negative, back sliding one? Or is that just wishful thinking? No, this season can be different; but I recognize that it must begin with an intention; my intention; my over-arching purposeful act to make a change. I will begin again by entering…via this record…my intention to depart from the habitual ‘turning in’ (closing down) and instead use that habit to prompt myself to open outward, to soften. Even as I write these words I can hear that other voice within, full of complaint and denunciation. I have struck a chord, I must be on the right track!

Yes, it is my privilege to choose what I will believe and hold as truth; And I believe that what I think, ultimately propels me in one direction or another. My beliefs have the power to alter (transform) my behaviors and actions. So begin again, I will; it only requires a disposition and a readiness to move, to activate:  body…mind…spirit.

Go Outside…For a Change

motivational-business-quotes

When I get stuck in a rut, physically, mentally, or spiritually, the thing that gets me unstuck best is to go outside…outside of my house, outside of my routines, outside of my comfortable thinking. Getting outside of me gives me a fresh perspective and outlook on life. When I exercise outside and breathe deeply of the crisp morning air, I expose myself, my physical and spiritual body, to the natural elements of the earth. It is then that I realize how very connected I am to the earth, and to its mysteries and rhythms. I reap much physical and emotional energy from trekking outdoors. By going outside, my muscles and my mind must work in unison as I forge against hill and dale, sun and wind, smooth and rough, road and trail.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Similarly, when I get stuck in a mental rut I find it helpful to get outside of my own head and give my mind new places to roam. Reading authors and genres to which I do not normally gravitate gives me fresh perspectives and insights into how others think and perceive. Changing things up when it comes to music, movies, and food provides similar benefits. I like to think of going ‘outside’ of myself as a way to inoculate myself from the dread condition of stagnancy; to be stagnant is to be unchanged and unchanging…it is so nearly like death. And so anytime I need some creative flow, or whenever I’m feeling the blues of status quo, I try to mix things up for myself. I try to get outside of my normal, whatever that may be, which I have so carefully set up around my life and I open a door and go outside…for a change.

An Invitation to Revolution

change-aheadWhether or not we like it, growth (physical, mental, social, spiritual) requires revolution; a change in direction or movement or thought. There can be no progress, no creative flow, no gains in health or fitness without change. All of creation, both visible and invisible, is designed to thrive in the realm of change. The seasons and their regular permeations support the growth cycles of all living things in the seas and on the land. Our bodies are best nourished when we eat those foods that grow in season; a diet limited in variation is a diet destined to promote disease and ill health. In the realm of education, business, and fine arts, the finest programs mosaic curriculums across a spectrum of specialties and fields of concentration to promote students who are flexible in thought and process. A similar approach is used when designing a comprehensive exercise program. The best plans are those that integrate a mixture of activities that encourage the building of strength, cardio-respiratory endurance, flexibility, and balance into our physical bodies. If change is so central to how the world turns, then why do we so resist it? Why do we insist on becoming set in our ways? If change is integral to growth, and growth is the essence of vitality, then surely we must revise our perspective on this inevitability or suffer stagnation and regression in every area of our life. If we have breath to breathe, then it’s not too late to adopt a positive mind-set towards the changes we face in life. Simple things like choosing a new genre in regards to the types of books, movies and activities in which we engage can prime and supercharge us for new areas of learning and creativity. One thing is for certain in life, that change visits us all with alarming regularity. While some may say that all change is not necessary to growth, I would rather submit that all change is our invitation to choose growth and even perhaps a small revolution!

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Wayne Dyer

Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight. Marcus Aurelius