Exercising Choiceby JJ Lee on 04/30/17
Allow me to expound for a moment on the word "choice." For me, choice is the richest, most potent word in the universe. Exercising choice is what gives you power. It is the ability to choose one path, one direction, one road, one habit one food, that begins a journey of empowerment that doesn't stop at the single action taken, but overshadows everything you do (or don't do....) When you make even the most mundane choice, you show yourself that you can, in fact, make a choice.
For the most part, I avoid naming choices good or bad, but instead identify them as useful or un-useful, productive or unproductive, helpful or not so helpful. Perhaps you see this as simple semantics, but I believe that "our word is law in the universe" as Werner Erhart used to say, or the folk saying, "my mouth to God's ear." I believe that what you tell yourself actually creates your reality. It's that mind-body connection you've heard me talk about. On a cellular level, whatever talk you give yourself can support your hopes, dreams and wishes, or instead vanquish them as easily as a wrecking ball dismantling a Lego structure.
So, you make a choice: "I'll have the broiled salmon instead of the beef with béarnaise, and the baked potato instead of the au gratin." On the mundane level, you save yourself a bunch of fat, calories and cholesterol. That knowledge alone would be enough to fuel my decision-making process. But wait, as the infomercials say, there's more! Making the healthier choice not only gives you the momentary health and fitness advantage, it also adds a notch to your empowerment belt: You've shown yourself that your powerlessness is a lie. And if your powerlessness is a lie, then the power of choice must apply to other arenas of your life as well. You begin to realize you have more power than you ever dreamed.
For most people, the news that you are inherenty powerful is good. Strangely, for some, this news not only comes as a shock, but it is also unwelcome, even if on an unconscious level, for with power comes responsibility. You become responsible for your every outcome-creating action--not the outcome itself, understand, but the chosen action taken toward the outcome. No longer can you blame outside influences, situations or people for the results of your life.
Now the good news is, you get to accept all the accolades for your wondrous achievements. The bad news is, you also get credit for your flops. You can't have one without the other. So when people tell me they can't do something that they say the want to do, I have to ask: First, what new choices could you activate to unwind the seemingly impossible situation? And second, do you really want it enough to make the choice with whatever additional intended and unintended consequences it may invoke? Some of the choices we make stem from beliefs about who we are and how we should be. Sometimes those beliefs have a lot less to do with reality and more to do with habit, outdated teachings or resitance--resistance to rocking the boat or upsetting the apple car. But again, the chosen path is just that--chosen.
By now, you might be wondering, what has all this to do with health and fitness? Actually, it has everything to do with it! No matter how much information I give you about exercise, nutrition, substance abuse and so on, it won't profit you a thing in the long run unless you fuel it with the internal drive to actualize it by committing to a plan and making it happen. In fact, exercise, diet, and recovery strategies don't work.... You do! You do the diet and exercise, the high-risk situation avoidance, the meditation, yoga, or whatever; they don't do you. You can blame a plan for not working but that's about as useful as blaming a toothbrush for your cavities--you must employ the tool on a consistent bases for results. It simply fascinates me the number of people who say this or that program doesn't work--it does if you work it!
The success of plans comes down to one thing: choice--your absolute commitment to standing behind your choice. You have to want and be committed to the action at least as much as you want and are committed to your next breath. It aslo helps to have an internally motivating, self-actualizing reason for wanting health, fitness, or substance recovery so that when the going gets rough, you have your own strong, reliable self-encouragement instead of the old self-sabotaging pattern of defeat. Going to your reunion, looking better than the groom's mother at your daughter's weeding, and making your beloved happy are not internally motivating, self-actualizing incentives to keep you on target for life. These kinds of temporary incentives may fuel you for a little while, but at the end of the day, it's the choices you make for your whole life that will bring you a lifetime of success.
I usually read the following poem at the end of my classes and motivational workshops. It's simple but profound and I believe you could benefit from reading it often:
Until one is committed there is hesitancy,
The chance to draw back;
Concerning all acts of initiative and creation,
There is one elementary truth,
The ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans;
The moment one definitely commits onelself,
Then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never othersie have occurred.
A whole stream of events issue from the decision,
Raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and assistance,
Which no man or woman could have dreamt would have come her way.
"Whatever you can do,
Or dream you can,
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
adapted from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, by W. H. Murray
Until next month, I wish you tremendous abundance and heavenly blessings, that you might share those gifts generously with others.