I Messed Up, Y’all

Screen shot
My activity tracker for last week

You see it there, folks.  My daily goal to hit 30 minutes of activity a day tanked last week.  There’s no excuse.  The weather was decent, I made it to yoga two days, and I wasn’t that sick.  (My teen brought a cold virus home from a rafting trip and, well, sharing is caring.)

If I were dieting with a goal of nothing but weight loss, I’d have gotten discouraged. I was feeling soft around the middle, slack, and unhealthy. When you’re dieting and exercising just to lose weight, it’s so easy to think, “I’m a failure” when you fall out of your fitness routine. Were this my mindset, I’d have shrugged in resignation and taken the attitude of just quitting, because I’d already fallen so far off the wagon.

I’m not dieting to lose weight, though, so this is where having the goal of cultivating a healthy lifestyle comes in and makes a significant difference. I had already planned to go through a toning/training circuit Sunday afternoon. Sunday morning while chatting with my friend and aerobics instructor, she encouraged me on all the weight I’d lost. That little bit gave me the extra boost I needed to get back on track.

Just because I got off track last week doesn’t mean I have to stay off track this week. That goes for all of our goals, though, doesn’t it? Whether we’re working toward work goals, fitness goals, relationship goals, or home goals, the truth is, we’re not going to succeed every week. Mess happens, life happens. We cannot, however, take that one week of failure over against many weeks of rousing success and allow that one to undo all the rest of our hard work.

I jumped on that attitude. Training/toning Sunday, rest Monday, 2.5 mile walk and yoga on Tuesday, more toning yesterday, and today a walk on the beach. I feel better and more successful already.

What goal are you striving toward that you could use a little (or a lot) of encouragement on? I invite you to drop it in the comments below.

Embrace Your Mantra

Last night was my yoga night.  My younger daughter had asked me to skip yoga Tuesday night since we were celebrating her birthday, so I was really in need of last night’s stretching and strengthening.  The yoga master invited us to think of a mantra, not something I’d come across in practice before.  While the suggested mantras were self-affirming – “I am strong,”  “I am powerful,” and so forth – I found myself thanking God for making me strong.  Eventually, as the practice wore on, I thanked God that I am “wonderfully made.”

It doesn’t sound like I’m owning the hard work I’ve been doing on my body or affirming myself for who I am.  But I know myself.  If I were to say, “I’m so strong,” a part of my mind would ask, “But why aren’t you stronger?”  If I gave myself strokes for my increasing flexibility, inevitably I’d also come down hard on myself in that practice where my body is stiff and my mind is struggling to center itself in my flow.

I don’t often talk about my faith in my business content.  Not all my customers share my faith, and I don’t want to put walls up between them and me.  Last night was significant, though.  As I was in pigeon pose, I thanked God for making me strong and for making me so wonderfully.  You see, if God made me to be strong and knit me together wonderfully, then I must be put together pretty awesomely.  That means I can take satisfaction and find contentment in how I am, even with that patellar ligament that could be looser and that pose I don’t quite have the flexibility to pull off.  It means I can give myself the very necessary grace to carry that little roll around my middle and to still be working towards the stretching and flexibility I desire to have.

Yoga pigeon pose
Pigeon pose

So, my mantra for last night’s practice was, “Thank you, God, for making me wonderfully.”  That acknowledges that I am, in fact, put together well, that God made me to bend, stretch, and flex as I need to for yoga.  But it also liberates me from any potential negative or ungracious self-talk.  If God made me, then I must be made pretty well.  However, I need to honor my createdness by taking care of the creation.  I do this by following my healthy coastal lifestyle.

Then
yesterday afternoon…  Yet another powerful reminder of how
well we’re made and how much we really need to take care of our
bodies.  On the recommendation of a friend, I watched this
documentary on Netflix that shows exactly what sort of damage obesity
does to the human body.  I’m not going to go into all the
details, but let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty (or for the weak of
stomach).  All the organs in the human body are crafted to fit
together in blocks, like they’re part of a 3D puzzle.  Obesity
severely compromises how they rest in the body and how those
individual organs perform.  We think of obesity simply as being
fat and possibly we recognize that it can lead to type 2 diabetes and
stroke.  It can also lead to severe organ failure, any one of
which is fatal.

Then
how cool was it to hear the verse in Psalms during one of
yesterday’s readings that reminds us, “I am fearfully and
wonderfully made” (some versions say, “complexly”). 
That tells me I need to pay significant attention to that verse, to
sit with it for a bit, to remember that I am marvelously made, but
that I also must respect my body by taking care of it. 

Time for your part.  Why not set a mantra for the week?  Make it affirming; you certainly deserve it.  Care to share?  Drop yours in the comments below.