This morning I did day 365 of daily intentional exercise. It has been quite the journey and I was not sure at the beginning I would stick with it this long. It is easy to give up one day, It is easy to say, I am too tired, or there is not enough time in the day to take time for myself to reach my goals. It is easy, to fall off the horse, and say, I just do not have enough fight in me to make it this time. It is easy to get knocked down and from your back, in the mud and the muck say, I have been bested, I live here now.
But that is the thing about it, it is our choice to lay in the muck and the mud as it ooozes through our armor and say, I give up, I just can't do any more. It takes gumption to say, maybe today I fell but tomorrow I will get up stare the challenge straight in the face and say "I get to choose when I am done, and today is not that day." It is our choice to endure even when we have been knocked down. It is our choice to get up, wash off the mud, and keep going.
The thing is, that this is not about going at a full tilt and doing actual harm to yourself because you cannot take a break, in fact the opposite is true. There will be days when doing what you have promised yourself takes some adjustment. There may be a day when doing something active means taking an easy day of relaxing yoga, or long deep stretches, or taking a good walk to think about things and process what is going on, and what life means for you. I had days when I did that. I had days when I did not feel good so I took an evening of stretches instead of a hard sweat pouring workout. It happens, that is a part of doing intentional exercise while honoring your needs for the day.
I teach a sword class called: rule #1 don't die. the class itself is about doing smart things in your sword work so you are not taking bad decisions for the sake of a quick easy point win. In the tournament and sparring sense, it is a class about choosing what you will do in a fight, picking your shots and doing things that are the best for you. In a larger context rule number #1 is about intentional living. It is about realizing that at any moment your life may end. You may walk down the street and be hit by a drunk driver, or you may live a long long life and die of old age after beating cancer twice. The point here is that we cannot avoid our own deaths. We can do things to be safer, but in the end, we will all meet our ends.
There are 2 ways to look at it, if we focus on the end, things can look bleak and dark. If we realize that we are on a path that we can enjoy along the way, we can stop and smell the flowers because these may be the last chance we have. Breathe deep, watch the snow fall, enjoy your meals, hug your loved ones, and forgive those who have wronged you. If this was the end, what would be left unsaid, what would you regret not doing, who would you regret not being? That is what the journey is about.
If this was your last meal, would you be satisfied with it? Life is too short to eat bad meals, or not take care of yourself. This is what the daily intentional exercise is all about. It is about being in your body, being alive, experiencing who you are. Rule #1 is about living your life with intention. That is where it all comes from. Experiencing the struggle knowing that this is fleeting, this pain, this struggle, this workout, this week in school, or work, will end, and when you can stand in the sun on the other side of the cold winter of it, the feeling of triumph will be amazing.
This is the secret of this process, it is about honoring who you are, taking some time alone and doing something for you. I am now facing the beginning of year two, but some days, I know I will not feel like getting up and doing it, but I will because I will endure. To that end, for me, I have written a daily mantra to remind myself of how far I have come, where I am and where I want to be.
When I wake in the morning, I take the time I need to prepare and face my day with humor, calm, wisdom, and clarity.
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”- Marcus Aurelius
At the beginning of the day, I am grateful for all I have before me, at the end of the day, I am grateful for all I have had the ability and privilege to do and be through the miracle of this body of mine. Every day is a prayer, every day is a blessing.
You sir, are a badass.
I do things every day that help me reach my goals.
I eat good foods that support my health and fitness goals.
I walk proud knowing all the people who are standing behind me cheering for my success.
I walk tall knowing just how far I have come. I have stumbled in the past, but now when I fall, I brush myself off and get right back up again.
I know who I am, I know what I want, and I let go of the past hurdles I placed in my own way to get where I want to be.
I speak clearly when there are things I need or want knowing that the Universe provides as I speak my truth.
I am clear in mind, purpose and action. I drink the water I need, I take my vitamins, and rest when I need it.
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.” ― Stephen Covey
I am the Iron boar. I am calm and social, but I am always inches away from going wild if I need to be. I am tough, but under the right conditions I am also malleable and changeable. I am strong, and brave, and willing to face the things that scare me. I learn hard things and do hard things because I am strong enough to bear them. My strength comes from within and that strength manifests in my strong body and mind.
I am a willing to work through the tough times because I know in the end how sweet my triumph will feel.
I know that down does not mean out, it just means down right for now, this match, this tournament, this event or this weekend but it does not mean forever.
I have friends who want to see me succeed, because when I do it, we all rise together.
Maybe today did not go so well. Maybe I fell off my food plan, or exercise today but that is a drop in the bucket compared to how far I have come when I started.
A year ago, I made a decision. I would exercise, I would do something active every day. A year later, here I am. This is the first step, and I keep walking knowing that the only way is forward.