So, first of all, I posted in January how I was dedicating myself to my weightlifting and fitness goals. And by honoring that commitment, the consistency, dedication and winning mindset required to accomplish that would also spill over into other areas of my life. So far so good!
Goal #1 Accomplished! – From 185 to 195 lbs – Very slight bump in body fat but nearly a 10 lb gain of solid muscle in just over a month. Sorry I couldn’t find a recent “before pic” at 185 lbs, however, finding an old pic from 2013 took me down memory lane and prompted me to write the second part of this post, which you’ll probably find more meaningful.
You ready for things to get real? I’m going to get a little vulnerable and share a part of my life many of you don’t know about (in vague terms of course…can’t get too real now). So I hope you can appreciate the space I’m sharing from.
So, if you think there is a change in my body from 2013 to now, I doubt you would be able to fathom the mental, emotional and spiritual change I’ve experienced within that same time frame.
Rewind to early 2013. An odd, synchronistic culmination of powerfully positive and negative events precipitated my departure from Washington State and destination for Nashville, TN. When I took that photo from October 2013 I was in L.A. and my world had already descended into an unrecognizable, topsy-turvy mess. My grand adventure and pursuit of a dream was suddenly morphing into a terrible nightmare.
Just when I thought I was at the bottom and ready to limp back home to Washington, an ungodly sequence of personal tragedies hit, one after the other, shattering my world into a million pieces… the two most profound being the destruction of my hard-earned foundation I had built for my future, as well as unexpectedly losing one of my most loved and cherished friends to an eating disorder. ‘
So from ground zero, I began the process of slowly picking myself back up. I trudged and pushed through some very dark places. Many of us have. And while I would NEVER want to experience those dark places again… I would never trade them in for sunnier days.
Finding our light while pushing through the darkness forges this sort of visceral, immutable strength in us. I have found that my struggle and suffering has developed my compassion, wisdom, humility, strength of character, will, perseverance, resourcefulness, tenacity and most importantly, my humanity. From the crucible we are forged anew in greater purity and strength.
I just wanted to write something about the strength, beauty and resiliency of the human spirit. Even when life seems to only want to extinguish you; when it bears down on you with such a crushing force you wish you would die; when everything around you is crumbling and going wrong; you will never be given more than you can handle. The human spirit is unconquerable. You will persevere.
On the flip side of that coin, when you make it through that rough passage, life always extends the opportunity to transmute your pain, suffering and darkness into an immeasurable amount of strength and light. Polarity. Every coin has a flip side. Remember Newton’s Third Law of Motion – “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” I find this to be metaphysically true as well. As low as you dip you can propel yourself equally as high with the knowledge, strength and wisdom that can be cultivated from those experiences. That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes. It’s by Khalil Gibran.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
I like to think of great leaders like Nelson Mandela who endured decades of unjust imprisonment only to emerge resolute in leading his country out of the dark history of apartheid – inevitably inspiring the world with his noble, courageous leadership and his tenacious, yet humble, spirit.
I believe our difficulties, tragedies and obstacles are not curses. God does not hate us. These are not punishments. This is the nature of our world. These difficult experiences are our teachers. Our lessons. They are the necessary catalysts for our personal evolution and our most profound growth. They are the breadcrumbs to the meaning in and of our lives. They are the tools, that when wielded correctly, can transform ordinary people into leaders and sources of inspiration. Whether that leadership and inspiration is in a small community or on the world stage, it is equally important and so very much needed in our world.
So with that, let me close with the wise perspective of an old Jewish proverb,
“I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.”
Thanks for reading.