Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Life of Example

My grandma died the other night. (And, no I am not seeking your sympathy.) Then, you might wonder, why are you sharing this with us?  This led me to reflect upon something we all must face... death. No matter how "healthy" and health conscious, no matter  the time and effort spent upon "living" and "living well"- we all die. And no, these hours spent enjoying health, good movement, and defining it  within each of our own paths is not spent in vain. In fact, these are the moments we should savor, enjoy, and share. However, try as we might we do not out run the odds. The odds are the absolute facts of this life.
Somehow, life and death are the very essence of our existence. How we live, and how we die  somehow sum up our existence. For example, my grandma lived a very quiet, Christian life- very obedient to the Lord and His good and perfect will in her life. Her life reflected these principles in all she did. She was well rounded in word and deed.
She was always physically active,  long before it became "an issue, popular, or something to "study". I guess she coined the phrase "just do it, " long before Nike. She would carry her groceries for blocks, scrub floors on her hands and knees, wash walls from top to bottom (see if anyone does that anymore!!?) She was a very vigorous woman- always doing something. No "idle time," as she liked to put it.
She was always mindful of her body and health. She realized that her body was a gift. The very temple of the One that she loved. Therefore, she did not drink (As it says clearly, "be ye sober minded.") She did not participate in jealous behavior, always content with the "fruits of her labor." Long before "stress" became a household word, she had the Answer deep in her heart... she slept peacefully at night. Not  once did I ever see her  worrying about tomorrow- she was very secure in her tomorrow's.  She would calmly say that worry would not add a day to your life. This from a  woman who survived the great depression and brought up a very large family during those hard times. She experienced an age when you scrubbed your cloths by hand on a board, and hung them. There were no machines. No soft life for my grandma. Real work, real life. Integrity and honesty were the road of life. She lived by perfect faith. She did not succumb to stress related illnesses, she fell asleep peacefully, as she lived. She was pleased with the simple things. Simple, whole foods -before they became popular. Easy, whole body exercise- before it became "functional."  She lived to see past 100 year of this planet, and all it's changes.
Needless to say she left behind a legacy.   Isn't that a deep desire of every last one of us-to leave legacy? We all leave some sort of legacy. Some feel it is important to leave behind money and temporal gifts for our beloved. Somehow, in this struggling world, wouldn't it be more prudent to leave behind something more enduring, though? Maybe  leave behind an essence of "goodness,"  and what that really means for a struggling world? Something that transcends our selves, our families, maybe our planet?
 So I thought I would  share her legacy with you.  How this one woman impacted my life, and how I am still trying to fit her shoes. She was still a woman, but her walk was pretty terrific!  She impressed upon my mind at a very early age principles that I cannot purchase for any amount of money- anywhere. They are seeds planted in the heart. Not forced, but lovingly planted, and left in trust to grow. This was her legacy to me.
 There are things more precious than gold, that are eternal values.  What my grandmother lacked in worldly goods, she more than made up for in integrity, humility of spirit, truth in word and deed, and a reflection of unselfish love for others. She was always there, especially in times of trouble. She was an amazing presence. She was always able to confront adversity, even in the worst of times. And, she would be so amazingly "still" in the midst of these storms of life. I am still ever in awe of this virtue.  I believe, this is the true key to longevity. A stillness, and a faith so strong that nothing can rock your world.
It is said that the beginning of "wisdom is the fear of the Lord".  With this being said, my grandmother lived a life of true wisdom, and for this she led a very long life. She was one of His true soldiers in a very unstable world. She knew where she stood.
 I recently had an e-mail correspondence with a very well known athletic trainer in Florida. We were discussing "the Good Fight." We were remarking on how rare it is to see anyone strong enough to live this with truw spirit and integrity. The purity of heart- real motives and values. It reminded me of the  Sermon on the Mount. The many blessings of being true- being part of the "good fight". These blessings may not be apparent to many. You cannot touch them, or hold them in your hands. You would have to strive to overcome many natural urges of self to really understand the "good fight." This is how you come to  "see" these blessing. I thank God my grandmother understood this fight, and it's blessings, and had the strength of purpose to share them with everyone she met. For this is I know my grandmother has a very bright future. She will be one of the elect that will in fact meet her true Love in the clouds when He returns for what/who is His! She will live happily ever after.  Until then, may my grandmother rest in peace. Why do I say this? Because, as she said so often, "because the Bible told me so!!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Potter's Wheel, A Slow Work in Progress.

Patience. A single word that can amount to so much. It is the difference between making it, or not making it in many aspects of our human existence. Patience is the evidence of faith, and faith is the evidence of confidence in something larger. Confidence in your abilities, your strengths, and even your weaknesses. Confidence in becoming "all you where created to be." Confidence in small changes that must take place to achieve a greater reality. It is a slow work in progress. That "extra effort" it takes to makes the outcome more valuable. Patience breeds excellence. It requires the fine art of human discipline. Letting go of the immediate gratification process, and embracing "the actual process."

"Mastery"... It just doesn't "happen."It requires skill, time, timing, patience, fortitude, discipline and sacrifice.

I know in my daily experience, sometimes I get ahead of myself. I forget that each day is a step in a process to achieve my goals. I get trapped in staring "way down the road,"or so it seems. Not fully appreciating the "now." Big mistake! By focussing so far down the road, am I truly doing my best for "NOW?" Probably not. I'm losing some of life's precious moments living ahead of myself- wanting tomorrow, today!! Much like a little kid in a candy store, looking for something more, when I already have all I need....?

It seems we are so used to immediate results, it is hard to commit to anything that requires true fortitude.
So, without throwing away the dreams, and ideals, let's focus on a day at a time. Sometimes even a second at a time. Small steps, big picture.

I like to do this with my clients. Looking at he big picture, what does it take? For example, the goal is weight loss. Let's specify the amount of weight and the time frame.  Is it reasonable and healthy goal? Are there ways we can quantify our results on the way to our goals? We can do body fat testing, weighing and measuring.  What does it take to achieve the goal?  A step by step approach to fitness and nutritional milestones that will eventually achieve the necessary calories deficit to achieve a healthy, but enjoyable journey to the "big picture."What obstacles can you anticipate?" ( Examples of these would be life's many happenings such as dinner out, parties, emotional events, menu planning for the family and even work schedules.) What can you do about the obstacles, now that you can identify them?This requires diligence on your behalf to realize this work based on your choices. You choose what you do, You can plan your "choices" ahead of time so that you are prepared with how to handles life's little whammies, and yes, they will happen! Strategies are everything.

Every bit as important as having a strategy, is reviewing the strategy. Perfecting it. Taking out the small things that can "blindside" your efforts, frustrating your efforts.   I like to review the week with my clients, and their victories and their downfalls.  Examining different choices. Did you achieve your weekly goals? How did you overcome difficulties? How can we improve in the next week? Small steps. Yes, the big picture is great, but let us enjoy and celebrate the small victories along the way!! These pebbles are what are lives are composed of. Breathing in and out, each breath is a victory. We are alive and capable of our destinies. We are all given gifts. We can nurture these gifts, fine tune them into a "big picture" victory. This requires diligence, faith and patience. Sometimes it is just sitting still. Waiting. Sometimes it requires purposeful action. But it will require a bit of both to become that final work of art. It takes a lifetime to get there. Day by day. We are all a work in progress.
It is your choice if you desire to be a rare gift, or just another ordinary vessel on the shelf of life.