I woke up Last Sunday with a splitting headache, bleeding heels, sore glutes and cottonmouth. Now, I know what you're thinking but the answer is no, I was not at a Garth Brooks concert.
I had the unbelievable opportunity to hike the 14,505ft summit of Mount Whitney in Lone Pine, Ca- Something that 2 out of 3 who attempt end up never completing. I had a life experience on my trip that I felt compelled to share with you not only because it changed the way I see our industry of health and wellness, but because it opened my eyes to the most important part of the journey that so many tend to forget. Fat loss and healthy bodies cannot survive and thrive without this crucial part of the recipe- it's the binding agent in our actions and our words.
It's what gives us hope, allows us to dream, fuels our desire for more knowledge and better living. It fills our senses and ignites the fire in our souls, always pushing us towards what we truly want out of life. Halfway between desire and confidence lies the ticket to whatever you want- Weight loss, love, houses, cars, relationships, triathlons, purpose, clean foods and happy days. I'm talking about what little kids have organically mastered and far too often adults are scared to death of-
The ability to be vulnerable.
Have you ever seen a child play by themselves in a park? They don't analyze why the sand in the sand box feels so good, why the horse stays on the wheel, why the kite flies in the sky because of wind trajectory and that the swing only swings because of relativity. They simply are just in that moment; defenseless to it's hold. As we age, this somehow gets lost, as paralysis by analysis becomes a side affect when adults begin to feel like they are in “control” of their life. Newsflash- We are NEVER in control. The times we're in now should illustrate how out of control things can become and how resilient and vulnerable we must remain in the face of change.
For the kids in the park, there are no iPhones, Droids, Face Book notifications or tweets hitting them in the arm because to them what matters most is the moment they are living in. These young kids will grow up to be doctors, trainers, therapists, coaches, inventors, parents and visionaries. They allow their curiosity and wide open minds to soak in their surroundings and imagine that anything is truly possible. The acute birth-righted ability to be 100% there in that moment is what will surely make their dreams become a reality one day. Kids don't care if others try to explain why it feels good to feel good; all they know is that it just does.
Want wellness? Get vulnerable. In order to be able to accept the change you need for lifestyle modifications and better habits, you first have to be open to the fact that you are where you are and its not where you want to be. You must be open to this suffocating presence unless you want to continue to stay safe and pretend its not there. The denial of the moment is why so many millions of Americans go off and on the diet train- never actually admitting to themselves that the moment is truly worth fighting for, changing for or LIVING for. To beat the diet and exercise machine, you have to be aware of your vulnerability and embrace it.
As our 6 person crew ascended the 8,500ft elevation trail-head at around 2:45am, you could barely see the path under the quarter moonlight. Our steps were light and our faces were lit up, similar to the kids at the park on the swings and slides. We were walking into nature in it's raw, unfiltered and natural state. To our senses it was just like we knew when we were young- the world is our playground and we're completely vulnerable to it's grasp of possibility. After mile number 4 of the 22 mile trek, I noticed my Patagonia boots that were promised to be the perfect fit began eating my Achilles tendons. I knew it was going to be a long way to the top and at this point I was committed- no going back because I had promised my self to see the top of our nation by the afternoon. We rolled steady through snowfields, valleys, switchbacks and rocks. The 400 yard snow chute with ice axes and crampons at mile 6.5 made meals out of men and burned lungs like matchsticks. Upon getting to the trail crest at 13,600ft our party knew it was everyone for themselves as we split up into doubles, inching our way towards the summit. It was on this moon-scape rocky 1.9 miles, the longest 1.9 miles of my life, that I had forgotten about all the emails, due dates, networking events, protocols and social media blasts- where I was about to go mentally was 8 years over due.
The last 200 yards of the trail are way above 14,000ft and as I sat on the blazing rocks below the Smithsonian hut to catch my breath my worst fears became a reality- I was beginning to get nausea as the altitude was pulling me into carbon dioxide overload. To say I was emotional at this point would be like calling coconut oil just something you cook eggs in. All my physiology studies and exercise, years of training and mental coaching didn't help me one bit as I sucked wind and spiraled down into mental abyss. My support system of friends did their best to tell me that all would be okay and the summit was just around the corner but with my camel-back empty and nothing but Trader Joes raw organic honey left in my flash pack, I was about to ring the bell and call it a day.
The crew pushed upward and I could feel something I hadn't in years suddenly wash over me- the indecision to go forward. Was I really sick or just tired? I'll wait this one out, I'm fine, this happens to everyone….. Thoughts buzzed in and out of my brain ans oxygen deficits will make you hallucinate if you let them. I thought about what I was doing in 2002, my weight loss, my journey, where I had come from and why I do what I do. The way I feel when I give a great session, the power of health and the drive of nutrition. I owed myself more than to just listen to the voices in my head telling me to stay safe and stay put. You know the ones I mean- They tell you you'll be safer if you stop and that you'll never make it. They make you doubt your dreams and question your purpose. These voices talk to us all at times when we least want to hear them, whether business or personal, relationships or family, as we carry this audible baggage from flight to flight.
The universe, in it's wisdom, will test us by sometimes not allowing these voices to turn off. The moment, with it's undeniable and beautiful vulnerability, will never really set in unless our dream is big enough to over power it. Five long minutes went by and it was in the last moment that I all of a sudden felt some peace. I had allowed the fears and stories of my adult life to overpower the joy and desire of the journey for long enough. Now its time to ride. All I needed to make it was what I came with and all I came with was being vulnerable to what was in front of me- THE MOMENT.
In the world's most intense self pep talk I flooded my adrenals with cortisol and adrenaline- I can, I must, I will.
If I don't, its okay because I'm willing to try and be exposed to failing; something I haven't been able to take very well in the past. Can you relate? The next burst of energy would be whatever it would be and I would accept it with open arms. We then scaled the rocks and snow, blazed the last 50 feet and made it the top together. We had won and we were vulnerable to losing, which made us winners no matter what. Tears of joy baby, tears of joy.
The first Velcro sample was invented by Swiss engineer, Georges De Mestral and originally people refused to take him, and the idea, seriously. A man has walked on the moon and we can now talk to someone in Sweden from the palm of our hand. For every great idea or invention lies thousands of hours of beating on the craft before plans become a reality. Beyond the hype of latest and greatest food plans and exercise dvds, are our weight loss, wellness or health goals any different? Does it take thousands of hours of beating on your soul to awaken the sleeping giant of change within? Damn right.
To get what we really want out of life and bust plateaus it takes focus, preparation, desire, hard work and the ability to actually believe it can happen. True belief laughs in the face of doubt and dances with vulnerability. In our lives, we will forever come across others who gave up long ago on vulnerability and choose to be right all the time. Have you ever suffered through a conversation with these people? Every word that comes out of their mouth is self-sabotaging and distrustful of the possibility that optimism and altruism can even exist. Don't let anyone tell you what can't be done. Instead, tell them how you are going to do it.
Whether we believe it or not, our thoughts ALWAYS become things. Our goals and desires never surface unless we allow them to and we can only allow them to if we accept the vulnerability that they might not happen in our proposed time. However, the universe will follow it's own time-line and you'll always get what you need to be happy- as along as you are open to the moment.
Want wellness? Get vulnerable. Educate yourself, craft your skills and talents in all you want and its yours. If you desire to lose weight then be okay with it not happening the first time around. If you desire to feel better then be okay with feeling bad sometimes while you get there. Above all else keep your head held high because it only takes one last try to succeed.
The educated ability + having vulnerability = What ever you want.
See you in the sand box,
Questions? Start here