Today, in MommaStrong’s Daily 15, we’re doing workout #300. That means 300 workouts that I have filmed in my living room using the exact same camera, the exact same self-editing protocols, the exact same pair of shoes, the exact same workout clothes, and the exact same mat.
And while we may be tempted to celebrate the obvious feat of persistence something like 300 workouts illustrates, let’s not.
Instead, I want to shift the attention away from the shiny exterior ending we’re all so used to: The glistening athletes running past the finish line. The student graduating with straight As. The promotion at work. The starring role. You know what I mean. I’d rather look at those shoes, that mat, that camera, those workout clothes. What do they say? What have they seen? What do they know?
What they know is this: You can’t create health. You can’t chase it. You can’t sculpt it. You can’t capture it. You can’t even choose it. I know, this sounds like the complete opposite of everything you hear. But, it’s true. I did all of the above for more than a decade with zero results. In fact, the more I chased, the sicker and more depleted and more puffy and more depressed I got.
A healthy, vital experience happens this way. You say to the Universe or a Magical Pony or God:
“Dear Universe or Magical Pony or God,
It’s time. I’m ready to be happy and healthy and full of gusto for life.
And then the Universe or Magical Pony or God responds back:
“Dear Privileged Human,
What are you willing to do for it?
PS: If you mention merely not eating chips forevermore or promising to do that yoga class e’ry day, you lose my attention.
Universe, Magical Pony, or God”
And this is where you have the choice to sit and reallllllllly think about what it is that you are willing to do to experience vitality.
My personal story involved blowing up my life, but that does not have to happen for you. I can guarantee, however, that whatever it is, it is going to demand courage and a pro-level attitude. But, what will happen is that as you trudge down this wild road of doing whatever it takes, somewhere along the path, health and happiness comes sliding next to you.
And because I’d be negligent to not provide you with an overreaching metaphor as per usual, in my path of health and happiness, I imagine being a truck driver, barrelling down the freeway, my eyes focused ahead on the road, mile by mile pursuing a destination unknown to deliver extremely precious cargo. Some days it’s pouring outside. Some days, the cargo in the back doesn’t meet the freeway weight limits and I have to discard some. Some days, I’ve got to pick up a hitchhiker and not get murdered. Some days, I have to go without sleep and depend on caffeine. Some days, I am bored to tears. Some days, I’ll have to grieve all the creature comforts I’ve left behind, the things that used to numb me out, but that would make me unsafe to drive on the road. Some days, I take the wrong turn. Some days, I think I’ve lost my mind traveling to this destination. Some days, I want to know where I’m going. Some days, I turn the truck off and buy every stupid magazine at the gas station and just tune out. Some days, I have to learn how to pee in a bottle. Some days, I talk to myself. Some days, I’m all alone. Some days, I’ve got great music on and the landscape around me opens up into my wildest dreams. Some days, someone gives me a free sandwich.
And then one day, I stop at a rest area and walk wearily into the diner, ready to eat some scrambled eggs and drink some hot tea. I’ve got not much else with me in terms of material things, but I have exactly what I need. As I sit there, reading the paper and drinking tea with my truck idling outside, its precious cargo tucked away and ready for more adventure, someone slides in next to me in the booth. She’s beautiful, but not in a traditional way. She’s glowing and she’s laughing and she’s not making me uncomfortable even though, until now, she was a stranger. She’s got so much to say, but she also knows exactly when and how to be silent. We get along really well. I can imagine her being on the road with me, sharing stories and adventures. Heck, she seems like she’d been a really terrific navigator.
And then I realize, she’s Vitality.
That’s how it happens. It just slides in next you.
Go get on your road. You can borrow my hat. It’s well worn.