Wake Up!

I am fond of saying ‘We become what we think, that our lives and our bodies resemble our belief system.’ In the realm of my personal training business, I use this principle with every training client I engage. I sometimes feel like an empassioned evangelist because I so strongly advocate and admonish my clients to grasp the importance and power of  their own thinking and believing.

“It’s perfectly normal, perfectly natural to live in sleep. But to wake up is a revolution in consciousness. To wake up is to break free of nature. To wake up is to rise and unite with the spirit, and nature doesn’t do that for us.”   Mark Pritchard

In my opinion, the foundation for success in one’s life begins and ends with training and disciplining our thinking mind. The muscles of thought and belief must be employed  and activated constantly, consistently and consciously in coordination with a physical training program for the body.

Consider that your learning goal is the ongoing pursuit of a lifetime of consistent physical movement and self-care. Michelle Segal, PhD

The first part of achieving a fitness goal requires making a decision. A decision is simple.  What do you want? First you decide, then you intend. Then you plot a course of action in written format to make it visible; then you inform another human being of your  decision.

This final action (telling) breathes life (reality; urgency, ownership) into your original reasons for deciding and intending. Telling someone else about your decsion and intention creates a monument upon which you may build your new waking thoughts.

Whether your goal is to be measured in pounds or inches lost; miles walked or run per hour; percent of muscle gained or fat lost, never underestimate the power or your  intention to work on your behalf for your success.

In the beginning it may seem like you are acting altogether out of character for yourself. But do not fret over this idea or this feeling; let it go and just believe. Be your own very best heroine and advocate. You can do this thing you have intended to do, you have already decided! You have made your intention! bad attitude

Now that you have set your intention, be prepared to choose, many times, over and again. You will choose whether to get up early or stay up late to fit in your exercise sessions. You will choose whether to nourish your body for the better or whether you will continue to eat as though you are an unconscious auto-pilot. You will choose whether to believe your  frequent thoughts of failure over fleeting thoughts of succeeding and achieving.

Learning to ‘wake ourselves up’ from the white noise of our own thinking will require practice and dedication. The same practice and dedication we use to train the body’s muscles for strength and stamina may be employed to tame and tend the monkey mind of our own thinking and believing.

Sometimes we may need to still our bodies so as to sequester space for mindful contemplation. Other times, we may find it more helpful to move our bodies in rhythm to walking legs and feet or plowing hands and arms.

Either way, waking up requires a willingness to put  self-defeating thoughts on trial so they may be ultimatly laid to rest.

Which One Am I Feeding?

Okay, I’ll admit it…I’d like to lose a lousy 5 pounds. No more, no less. Honestly, that’s it. I know better than to be fixated on the numbers on my scale. I’m a personal trainer and health coach. And I’m always telling my clients how those scale numbers are not nearly as important as their body composition (% of fat and muscle) numbers. I say these things so often they are now cliché training-speak. I am not proud to admit these things, I am no different, no better than any one else I train. I have a love/hate relationship with numbers; they attack my logical brain and leave no room for reason.

Imagine my surprise on the day I contemplated my 5-pound conundrum, when a thought  occurred to me:  How can I help my clients to eat mindfully when I don’t always manage my own mindless eating? I only want to lose 5 pounds, I don’t need to lose 5 pounds, I just want to. And I have a hunch (okay, I KNOW) these last 5 pounds are not going to budge unless I make some changes in my way of eating. Why? Because I have a cheat. I have caloric wiggle room because I exercise a lot…every day…it’s my job and I love it. But it does not exempt me from the law of calories in = calories out.

I don’t know why I had this thought the other day, but that’s the nature of thoughts after all. Thoughts are like feathers blowing in the breeze, floating here and there waiting for us to give them a place to loft so as to entertain our attention. Once we attend to a thought, it may grow upon us and in us.

Now some thoughts are more entertaining than others. And depending on our current state of mind, we may or may attend to any given thought. But one thing is true, certain thoughts are better left for dead. Unattended if you will. Intuitively we know which thoughts make us feel happy or sad or encouraged or angry or defeated or motivated or lazy. So maybe this is why I gave that thought some attention the other day; because it made me think.

What we say and do is based on what we have already built into our minds.
Dr. Caroline Leaf

Actually the thought made me question…myself. And the question it asked was this: What is your intention regarding the food in your hand or on your plate? Are you feeding  yourself in response to bodily hunger or emotional hunger? What would your diet look like if you only ate with an intention to nourish your physical body rather than your emotional body?

Okay, so that was 3 questions. But the initial thought surprised and intrigued. Have I really been so un-intentional, so question-less in my eating? Yes, more often than I would care to admit. Yet here’s the irony of my thinking and believing: I say (I believe) my goal is to train my body for health and physical performance, and yet I eat food which I know will make my body (head and/or stomach) hurt. Really? Really!

Should I expect to reach my  fitness goals when I eat without intention? If I eat because it’s a reflex and not an answer to a question, then I may not be nourishing my body after all but rather my emotions.  So tell me something I don’t know…duh! And this double mindedness intrigues me…

Now that you have more information about me than you needed, bare with me one moment longer. Because I’m just going to put one little question on the table, before you and before me. For the next few weeks (until the end of September), before I put food in my mouth, every time, I will ask myself a question: Is this food you are about to eat for your body or for your emotion? Then I’ll wait for the answer. And if the answer is the one which will help me towards my goal…I will eat…and if it is not…???

So here’s to a half month of research. I’d love to have you join my little research project…if you feel so inclined. I’ll report the results in a post around the first week of October. Here’s to our thoughtful eating…cheers.

 

 

Consider the Sacred

How often do I consider my life and all its proclivities in regards to the sacred? I’m not even sure why I have an attachment to write about this topic today. All I know is that I have found a strand of thought that has captured my attention for the moment, and it seems fitting to follow the strand where ever it wants to lead me for now.

It should not surprise me that one thought leads to another; whether a thought originates in my own thinking or whether it has been introduced by some one else, it does not matter. That the thought sparkled and dazzled and asked to be admired by me is reason enough to give it consideration for this moment.

Why do I bother attending to a fleeting thought? Because I trust that some thoughts are worthy of introspection. And in this space of now, I trust that this thought, with its attending question and percolating intrigue, has captured my attention because I am ready to receive a lesson. I have lived long enough to realize that a piqued interest is usually indication of openness to instruction.

So perhaps my intrigue has whet your curiosity too, and if that is the case, then I invite you to join me for awhile in this quest to apprehend reason on this little bypass, as I consider: What does it mean when we say some ‘thing’ is sacred to us?

Now remember, how I mentioned earlier how one thought often leads to another, then another. Well this thought about sacred things, I believe, was brought to my consciousness because of something I read a few days ago. (Note to self & note to reader: Be careful what you read!)

Anyway, I believe the question which took form before my mind this morning was smoldering as a result of this statement in the “Love Your Body” chapter of A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson: The purpose you ascribe to something determines its effect on your life. I am not sure why these two ideas feel connected to me, but they do. And I am not sure why I feel like these ideas are important to share within the space of a health and well-being blog, but I do. So be patient with me, as I attempt to connect some dots and unravel this ball of twine of mine.

When I think quickly about this idea of the sacred, all of a sudden the “S” word lifts ‘things’ up to a level above my eyes. It, the object, whatever is beheld as sacred, becomes instantly special, reserved, set aside, honored, revered. Do we use this word so frequently and loosely today, that its meaning and power is lost on our modern sensibilities? Perhaps. But what do I hold as sacred? What or where is the repository for the sacred in my life? What then does it mean when I attribute sacredness to something or someone?

I think the connection is this: What I believe and hold as sacred in my life, I will treat with special honor and reverence. The sacred will receive my best attention, care and protection. In other words, if I purpose some ‘thing’ as sacred, then my actions will support and be a natural outcome of my intentions and my beliefs. The purpose you ascribe to something determines its effect on your life”.

As a married person (34+ years), I consider my relationship with my spouse as sacred. I am intimately bound up in his life and he in mine; we two have become and live as one. Our relationship is set-aside and unique from all our other relationships. I honor this sacred relationship and protect it by keeping my heart’s affections solely upon and for my husband.

As a spiritual being, I consider my relationship with the Divine One as sacred. Similar to my marriage, the Holy One and I co-exist in intimate, loving relationship. There is no way to separate Spirit from spirit. I honor my Spirit-life my spending time in worship and meditation. This relationship centers me and brings light and love to every area of my life.

As one who inhabits a physical body, I consider my relationship with my body as sacred. I am profoundly thankful for everything it does for me, this container which holds my soul. I honor my physical-life by making the time and taking efforts to exercise, nourish and rest my body in accordance to its needs.

As a personality who engages others within myriad roles and relationships (daughter, mother, wife, friend, etc.), I notice that my sacred intent takes less form here. I do not hold my relationships in such sacred esteem. And yet, I can see the merit in assigning them to a higher purpose in my life.  We all have been created and set in this world to live in relationship to one another. Perhaps the disconnect I feel in many of my relationships is a result of my not assigning a higher purpose and value to them? Yes, this is surely a strand of thought which I must further consider and evaluate!

Finally, I have come to the end of the trail. I have made a connection, faint though it be, it is thus: That which I hold as sacred, I protect and honor. If I feel or experience disconnect in my body, spirit or in my relationships, then I have likely ascribed to it a lessor purpose or value in my life. The purpose you ascribe to something determines its effect on your life.”

If I regard something as sacred or worthy, then I will act in ways which demonstrate my belief. That which I believe guides my intentions. My belief becomes my action. Those things which I focus my most care-full attentions and energies upon, also sheds light upon those things which I hold as sacred. What about you? What is sacred to you?

Racing or Running?

What is your intention? Your intention for the day makes all the difference to how you will rate the finish line at day’s end. Will you race through your day? Or will you run through it? By definition, a race is a competition or contest in which there will be a winner with many runners’ up. Likewise, a run indicates quick forward momentum, when for a short moment, both feet are off the ground.

So what is your intention for the day? Will you treat it like a race and gut out your day, heaving with great sighs of breathing and straining with an intensity and focus that tramples every obstacle in your path? Or will you instead lace up for your day with careful pacing of your energies and metered awareness of the passing moments so as to accomplish those chores and duties you encounter through the day.

Racing through your days can wear you down and leave you feeling defeated if you don’t finish the day ahead of your to-do list. However, if we can run through our days with attention to our pacing and purpose, then we may accomplish what is most needful for today and be satisfied with no more or no less.

Kara-Goucher