Finding a Higher Purpose

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Today I started day one of my fitness project, under the training supervision of fitness pro, Kim Oddo.  I was referred by a classmate of mine to him, and after receiving my nutrition and fitness plan, I was expecting some of what he put together, but also surprised at some of the restrictions.  The interesting thing about nutrition is that for each person there are minute details which can be tweaked.  His plan goes down to each meal in detail, calories are overall most important for the day, but it is not as simple as just that.  I am allowed to swap out certain foods for like foods, but sadly, I can not consume 1500 calories of Peanut Butter and Nutella (although how amazing would that be?!) and call it a day.  Although I completed my marathon back in November, I can’t say that I was consuming the right kind of foods.  I think protein rarely made an appearance in my diet while I was living in Japan, which is really not a good thing, considering how important it is for overall health (and muscle growth).  If I had been taking in the right foods, I really have to wonder how much better I would have performed on my training runs and on race day.

Over the past few months it has been difficult dealing with the aftermath of my failed relationship.  I’ve been reading a few different books over the timespan to help me through the grieving process, to understand what went wrong, to recognize the signs of a toxic person, and most importantly, to once again find my higher purpose.   I recently began Richard Bach’s classic, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  I am still working through the book, but the basic premise is that we need to do what we believe in, regardless of whether it is what everyone else is doing, if we think that it will lead to our purpose in life.  When I was in my relationship, I thought my highest purpose was to love my significant other, but I noticed I began neglecting myself.  When the relationship ended I was left with a massive void where that love once was; it felt like a vacuum.  I thought: What is there for me if this person is now gone from my life?  What other purpose could I possibly have if not to love him?  Although I am still working through these emotions, I truly believe it is the love of oneself.  Author Jo Coudert puts it perfectly in her book, Advice from a Failure:

You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself.  The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the Self.  Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never lose.  

I think of the Alanis Morissette song, Underneath, where she sings:

There is no difference in what we’re doing in here
That doesn’t show up as bigger symptoms out there

What we do within, for ourselves, how we feel about ourselves, manifests in the world.  And it is so hard to feel good or to feel okay when somebody abandons us, but we must ultimately accept what their choices were, and realize it is not about us. 

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My fitness project, along with the increase in my writing, are ways that I am trying to regain what I felt called toward once before.  Seeing internal strength, willpower, and dedication manifested as physical strength.  BEING MY BEST SELF.  That is what my higher purpose is.

 

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So KP decided to try a 12-step program…

My apologies, I meant a 12 WEEK program!  Not the kind of program you had in mind (although if that’s currently part of your life more power to you!).  This is going to be a quick entry because it’s late but I’ve got much to talk about, so I’ll try and get an actual entry in tomorrow.  I know this originated as a travel blog, but fitness and health are also topics I really enjoy writing about.  I decided it was time to change my current regimen because I was expending too much effort with too little-no results, so my diet has COMPLETELY changed, I am going to be working with a trainer, and my exercise routine is also taking a 180.  I will talk more about the plan later and I’ll most likely be upping the entries to try and help keep me on track with the plan, but no better time like the present for a little life change 🙂

I’ve also got a few books that need to be talked about, along with a TED talk I found particularly interesting.  So much to write (and KP starts waaaay too late at night!).

On Love

Beware, KP has an opinion post to follow…

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As always, I continue to be a terrible writer and not write as often as I should.  I’ve been doing a bit of traveling within the States, although work keeps me busy and I haven’t really had the time to take some new photos.  We went up to Biloxi two weekends ago and toured the Jefferson Davis home, Beauvoir, but the weather wasn’t good enough to walk around and take many pictures.  Today was Easter, and although I do not identify with any particular religious belief system, it is always a nice excuse to spend a few hours at brunch with friends.

I had an incident that occurred just about two weeks ago that really got me thinking about love and forgiveness, and I think for my own cathartic reasons it needs to be shared.  I am specifically talking about the kind of romantic love in relationships in this entry.  I think we as a whole, both over-use and under-use the phrase, “I love you.”  We over-use it in the sense that it is said for the wrong reasons, whether that is manipulation for some shallow gain (sex, money, material items, etc), or we aren’t thinking about what it really means.  Maybe it’s because as a writer I’ve been cursed with constant introspection, but I can never understand why people can use a phrase of this gravity so carelessly.  When you say, “I love you” to somebody, what you are really saying is, “You are THE priority in my life.”  It is such a massive statement to make, which is why I fully believe it shouldn’t be said or used as carelessly as it is!  Love is ultimately about selflessness; anything other than such isn’t love, it’s lust or infatuation or whatever else.  But love is about someone else.

People often make mistakes, no one is perfect.  Through love, I believe forgiveness can heal wounds and relationships can grow strong, ONLY if both people are willing to put in the proper effort and believe their relationship is worth saving.

I’ve been thinking about this often as I observe others around me.  I see relationships I wish I can someday emulate with someone.  These relationships generally consist of two partners who enjoy spending much time together doing hobbies they both enjoy, such as traveling, cooking, exploring new restaurants, and the like.  They communicate well and are completely open with one another.  They fully respect and appreciate their partner and do not take them for granted.  I also see relationships I hope to never end up in; ones where people do not communicate, are not completely open, do not respect their partner and their partner’s feelings (think: “If he/she were witnessing my behavior/what I am saying to another person, would it hurt their feelings?”).  I see people in unhappy marriages because they rushed into something because “it was time to settle down,” or something of that nature.  I have never understood the concept of “settling” in love.  If it’s love, why should it be considered “settling”?  Love is a CHOICE!  Every day, it is a choice.

As for the phrase, “I love you,” being under-used, well, this one is pretty simple.  If it is love, then sing it strong and proud, because we are never guaranteed tomorrow!  And that goes for all types of love, not just romantic relationships.

I truly feel, deep within my heart, that to be better people we need to think about others.  I am in no way perfect, but I know that there are times when we really need to push our own desires aside and put our loved ones’ needs before our own.  Love really is about putting others before ourselves.