“Then we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how.”
– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
I’m an advocate of fitness and physical health. If you follow me on Twitter, you will see the hash tag #TeamFitness almost daily. Lately my mantra has been “Warriors aren’t born. They’re made.”, as I have taken my work out to the next level by training with my father (who is a ji jitsu instructor) on the weekends. I’m not afraid of pushing my body to the limits and I welcome new challenges. In fact, I love working out. When I’m out of breath or my muscles ache, I focus on my breathing. I find a focal point in the area and give it my undivided attention. I begin repeating whatever mantra comes to mind such as “If I don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter. “(in reference to not focusing on the pain) or visualizing myself accomplishing the current challenge with ease.
I love being an inspiration to those around me, to give more attention to their physical health. With folks admiring my work out hustle, it gives me an external push to keep at it. But to be honest, it comes easy to me. I’ve always been athletic, participating in volleyball, basketball, track & field as well as boxing throughout the years. Sure I’ve had my fair share of challenges in these areas, but for the most part physical activity comes easy to me.
In recent years, I’ve been giving more thought to my mental and spiritual health in a goal to be “comprehensively fit”. I would look at my best friend and wonder why it was so easy for her to be positive. It was mind blowing to me the way she handled life with such effortlessness. Regardless of the situation, she finds a way to give gratitude. Not only does she express words of encouragement to others, she believes the same for herself. Sure she has moments of worry, anger and disappointment like the rest of us, but how she responds to it is what makes the difference. Eventually it dawned on me: she works out mentally and spiritually.
With that, I decided it was time for me to challenge my mind, faith and spirituality. To push beyond the worry and fear that had begun to accompany me throughout the years. I decided to no longer accept the feelings of not being good enough. It was no longer acceptable for me to entertain thoughts of failure. I wouldn’t entertain these thoughts on the court or in the gym, so why should I pay attention to them in life? Why was it so easy for me to uplift others, but difficult to extend the same empathy and kindness to myself? At my wits end, I decided to embark on a mental and spiritual workout plan.
And it wasn’t easy.
Similar to when folks hit the gym for the first time, I experienced a sense of pride for taking control of an area in my life. And much like those first couple of workouts, I felt immense pain and frustration as I read various books, attended church and shared my experiences with like-minded people. I couldn’t believe that I actually had control over how I felt and experienced life. That concept was foreign to me. Taking ownership for my reactions to life situations was not as simple as it sounds. There were times when I was like “Eff this! Nothing is changing!” and I decided to give up. Fortunately I was surrounded by people who were there to encourage me, in addition to holding me accountable for my behavior and goals.
I’m proud to say I’m at a place where I hold myself accountable, and work hard to push through those difficult days when nothing seems to be going right. I treat my mental and spiritual health with the same regard as my physical health, and have adopted similar techniques to help me push through. Some days… some moments are more difficult than others (like this past Tuesday when I didn’t receive a job offer for a position I am very qualified for). Nonetheless, I try to attack the negative thoughts before they snowball into an uncontrollable size. I fight to redirect my attention to focus on the present instead of worrying about the future or living in the past. I choose to let faith prevail over worry. I’ve also let go of the notion that positive thoughts and reactions will stream freely from me at all times, as I float through life in the lotus position. It was tough getting over the notion that I will always be faced with new challenges to practice what I’ve learned, but now I welcome them as a chance to prove how I’ve grown.
I am a warrior and must equip myself to survive spiritual and mental warfare. Throughout this series I will share with you my “positive arsenal” of quotes, websites and techniques that I utilize to stay focused spiritually and mentally.
Until next time, be blessed and be a blessing.
Up 4 Discussion…
1) How much time do you give to your mental & spiritual health?
2) Is maintaining an overall positive disposition natural to you or something you have to work at?
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Thank you so much for your continued support Family!