I had a nice walk today, there's a pretty nice trail by a nearby park, with an incline hill at the beginning and a flat stretch for quite a long ways that winds through a cute little neighborhood with a regrettably busy street that runs through it.
Something that I was reflecting on during the walk and when I got home is that if the focus for exercise is on improving looks then it can become something that is a destructive, obsessive or harmful force in our lives. Acknowledgement that improving looks is a piece of the motivation for exercising with the inner motivation turned towards improving health and mobility is a more sustainable and fulfilling goal.
Motivation is something that can be misunderstood, for instance the motivation to go to school or to learn. When I was a little girl I thought that I needed to know everything in order to be acceptable to other people. There was a perfectionism in me that drove me on to keep doing things even when they became boring or difficult. A sort of self torture in a way. I disconnected from others because I was afraid to let go of the task that I was doing. Worried that I might not pick it up again if I stopped.
This might sound like discipline, in some ways it was and is, but I was irrational in my discipline doing things sometimes just for the sake of it rather than taking a balanced approach to them. This caused stress and disconnection with others.
I've grown out of some of those tendencies. Partially they came from the fact that my world was a dark place for a long time, that was a side effect of eating foods that were not good for me (gluten, dairy, soy, cashews, etc.) Not many people talk about the effects of food on the mind but I understand the correlation because I can see a difference between then and now.
Partially the stressful tendencies came from fear. I was fearful of not having my fathers approval. He would sometimes rail on my brother asking him if he had a brain, berating and belittling him for simple mistakes or carelessness. My brother even took the brunt of my mistakes and carelessness because even if he said he didn't do it my Dad didn't believe him. So I felt that if I was perfect, if everything was clean, if I knew everything, did everything right... then I would be acceptable and worthy of love.
It's a tendency that has been hard to break over the years even with my new found freedom from the utter darkness that surrounded me for a big part of my life.
Another thing that I was thinking about is that sometimes our present moment can seem to be all that there is. That the happiness we are feeling will continue on or the sadness will not leave. Those transitory feelings are an illusion.
Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" really speaks to me because it is a reminder that we need to be able to put things into perspective and that striving to be balanced will help us to be successful.
And that's all she wrote.