Maintain Thyself

All of us humans are masters, we are indeed.  I’m not blowing smoke up your behind, really.  For instance, we have all perfected procrastination to some degree throughout our lives, and employed it at our own discretion.  We are good at ignoring our inner nagging mind telling us what we could or should or would ideally have ourselves doing.  We excel at deception, as we adeptly pretend we don’t hear this advice coming from our deeper self, and proceed on unfazed and blissfully unaware.

We forget to maintain our car, and now wonder why there are three things wrong with it costing a grand total of $4,200.  In our homes we allow the rusting, creaky, dripping pipes to continue their altered function, and are aghast one day to come to realize we have mold behind our walls, need to take an ax to them, and reinstall the whole plumbing system.  We stop mowing the yard regularly, trimming the bushes, sweeping, and cleaning, to soon find out there are mushrooms and weeds taking over the lawn, bug infestations on the porch, and bushes taking over the house.

This principle of maintenance over total overhaul, also holds true for fitness, as it is easier to maintain your health and fitness than to regain them.   I personally choose to take the easy way out in this area, because I know I am a weak-minded human.  I have a hard time withstanding cravings and laziness when they become too intense, so I try to keep them in check, managing the situation before becoming overwhelmed.

When I’m feeling motivated, I take advantage of that welcome condition, and set myself to eating well and working out intensely, enjoying doing so; this is perhaps 30% of the time.  When I’m less motivated, maybe 55% of the time, I try to make myself still eat fairly well, and make myself get through a workout by talking myself into keeping going, and modifying if need be.  I’ll do whatever amount I can that day, and although the eating and working out are somewhat difficult, and not as enjoyable or as good, I still feel decent after doing them, knowing I’ve done my best at the time.  Then there’s the 15% of the time when I’m not motivated at all, fairly overwhelmed, want to eat crap and veg out, and I do so.  Because of guilt I will try to do a little bit to balance it out, perhaps getting an errand done, eating an apple, or jumping/dancing around to get some movement.

I am a big believer in doing the difficult before it is impossible, and taking advantage of doing things when they still seem do-able.  Many spiritual teachers throughout time have made statements echoing this sentiment.  The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu stated, “Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy”, as well as, “Do the difficult things while they are easy, and do the great things while they are small.  A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

So take advantage of the majority of times when you’re clear of mind yet not very inspired, for you can actually rescue those days to make them your best.  It is then you can remind yourself that often it is perspiration that precedes inspiration, or thoughtful behavior that precedes motivation, and then you can use this presence of mind to act accordingly.  Don’t wait until ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘seems impossible’ are your ingrained reactions and perceptions, instead learn to know the difference between discomfort and pain, unpleasant and burdensome, nuisance or destructive.  Do what you can do now, serving yourself in so doing, and making life easier for you in the long run.

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