Monday, February 27, 2012

You Are What You Think You Are

We have all heard “You are what you eat.” But what about what we think of ourselves? A hypochondriac believes with all sincerity that he is sick and in need of medical attention. Upon examination, the doctor usually finds him to be in perfect health, but will never convince the hypochondriac that he is not sick. The hypochondriac may in fact be ‘feeling’ the illness that he has convinced himself he has.

The same can be said for low self-esteem. A person who thinks he is worthless and has nothing of value to offer the world may end up missing out on life changing opportunities, because he doesn’t try, assuming he will fail. Then there are those who expect to succeed at any and all endeavors. Interestingly, they usually do. When they don’t, they move forward and find success elsewhere. Does this mean if you think it, it can be your reality? I believe is does.

‘I can’t’, often means, ‘I won’t because I don’t want to fail’. If you don’t try, you have already failed, so what have you got to lose? None of us wants to be criticized, but in reality, anyone who takes notice might be impressed that you tried. Replacing self-doubt with an open mind could change your life!

When the alarm goes off in the morning, instead of telling yourself how tired and uninspired you are, think about what you can accomplish this new day. Who you might meet, or what you may learn. When negative thoughts try to stop you, replace them with something you are looking forward to or hoping to accomplish, and know that you can! The only thing holding you back from living to your God given potential is you and your own self-doubt. Try thinking about all of your good qualities and make an effort to show these qualities to the world. You do have much to offer and you can succeed in life. You only have to convince yourself!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Perseverance – Do I Have It?

I mentioned a few weeks back that I was adding yoga to my fitness routine in hopes of increasing my flexibility and balance. I have taken several classes, with a few different instructors, but I just can’t get with the program. I always workout first thing in the morning which gets my blood pumping to all the tight muscles and stiff joints, but to take a yoga class before I am sufficiently warmed up is not very beneficial. I tried a late afternoon class and found that I was tired from my long day and didn’t have much energy, and felt out of place with all the regulars. Next I tried at home with a DVD and did better since I could pause it and practice the poses. However, I continue to be frustrated, as I am not noticing much improvement in flexibility or balance. After each session I want to give up.

Upon further evaluation, I think I am making some progress. I was able to balance better today and might be limbering up somewhat. To achieve my goals though, I have a tall mountain to climb. Do I have what it takes at my age to conquer that mountain? It would be so easy to walk away and forget yoga…again. Instead I am going to stay with it and inch closer to the summit with each session.

I am going to step back and find a beginner program that will not discourage me, and realize that yoga is not something you learn in a week or month, but a continuing process. For me it will be slow going, but if I do succeed in making the physical changes I long for, the rewards will be life changing.

As with most achievements in life, the harder you work for something, the more you appreciate it. Someone who inherits money is likely to piddle it away, while money that is earned with blood, sweat and tears, is treated with the respect it deserves. I will continue my quest to flexibility and…persevere. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Finding Personal Peace in an Imperfect World

My mother was the picture of peace. She was always cool, calm and collected in the midst of what I considered a chaotic household. With seven people living in a relatively small house, I struggled to find the quite time I have always needed to read, study, or just think.

As a teenager I remember arriving home one evening planning to get busy on a report due at school the next day. There, on the living room floor, were two of my brothers having a boisterous wrestling match. The television was blaring at no one in particular. From down the hall I could hear my sister and her friends laughing and dancing to window rattling rock and roll music, while my baby brother cried from his playpen in hopes of joining the wrestling match. In the midst of it all, my mother sat quietly reading one of her beloved novels, totally oblivious to the madness. I, however, turned around and headed to the library.

The next day I asked her how she remained forever calm when our home was so disordered and nerve-racking. She quietly explained that this is who she was. “I am the mother of five children and I am most at peace when you are all at home. When you are all around me, I know you are safe and well, and I can relax.” I had to let this sink in for a while, but I came to understand that my mother was comfortable in her own skin. She knew who she was, where she fit in world, and that she had value as a human being. Over the years I have learned to follow my wise and loving mother’s example.

Accepting who I am and being content is at times challenging, but when I can focus on the center of my being, I can find peace there. As humans we tend to waste a lot of our time wishing our lives were different, better, or somehow more fulfilling, when satisfaction can be found within each and every one of us. Rather than wishing your time away, think about your own self-worth and whom you are important to. Enjoy the richness that is family, friendships, and experiences of all types. Accept your place in this crazy world, and know that people do depend on, and value you. Once you have discovered this about yourself, you will have peace.