On Saturday my family and I went out to the Beverly Hills area. We went to lunch at an amazing vegan Indian restaurant, to an art store, and to the Grove. The Grove is a shopping tract that is completely stereotypical LA. It has everything from $100 makeup to $1000 clothes to an Apple Store. I like the Grove, but it is not who I am. Los Angeles is a city consumed by the vapid. The faster you can become known, the more you spend, and the more popular you are all equal success. The Grove is the materialization of all those ideals in LA culture. I have been going to the Grove for years, but it's always been more like a trip to the zoo for me, than an actual shopping spree. I go more to watch the people, than to participate in the absurdities. Now you may wonder why I even like LA. Well I love the stereotypes and the culture of this city, but I don't participate in it. It is a wonderful city that has a lot to offer, including the pretentiousness of the Grove.
After our visit to the Grove it got me thinking about the ideas of health and action that are propagated into our society. Magazines, newspapers, websites, TV shows, and movies all tell almost the same story...that health is quick and easy. I'm here to tell you that it isn't. Now I am most definitely not being cynical, well maybe I am a little, but I am just being honest. People don't like to hear honest. But, it is the truth. Health is not your weight, your muscle amount, the amount of classes you attend, or how many recipe books you have. It's not about ego. That is what those at the Grove don't understand. They see fulfillment as the newest clothes and newest restaurant, but it's an illusion. They're building a cake of lies that they then consume and that is how they fuel their lifestyle.
Health is a mystery to most people in our society, but it really isn't that hard. You can look at the title of this blog post two ways. That it's a motivational phrase, one you might here from Oprah or Weight Watchers. Where they talk about "working out" or "action." The other way that you can look at that phrase is that it's a mantra for life. With not just a focus on exercise, but on the entire mindset of a fulfilling life. Because, that is really what health is. It is part of the overall mindset of a fulfilling life. When we hear, "Get off your butt," we think that it means don't be lazy. It really doesn't. Look at the entrepreneurs, athletes, speakers, cooks, and so many more people whose ethos is action. Not just the action of running down a trail, but an entire mindset of getting stuff done. You might look at "successful" people and think, "Oh, I can't ever be like him or her. They're born to be successful. They're different." Our society's entire of idea of "success" is skewed. Success is not money or position. If you are truly happy with where you are at in life, then you are successful. And I mean truly happy. Where you can look in the mirror and dig deep into your soul to find that you are being fulfilled with where you are at in life. That you are living your truest life. If you cannot do that, then you are lying to yourself.
I am not telling you to get off your butt so that you can go exercise. Of course that is part of it, but the bigger picture is is that you must move. You must get out into the world and make happen what you want to happen. Whether that be in relation to your body, your work, your family, or your relationships. Waiting for the "right opportunity" or the "go ahead" is a waste of time. If there is someone who is in your life that is telling you that you cannot. Whatever that cannot may be in relation to, then you must remove them from your life. They are not a positive nor beneficial influence to your journey. They are a poison, in fact.
Life is filled with people who would much rather sit contentedly on their butts everyday from the weekend to death. But, if you want something more in life, which I hope that you do, then you must learn to push yourself up off that couch and then push hard onto the more honest journey that you will find. It is very difficult to push away from that comfortable couch of inaction, inability, and laziness. To peel your lazy butt off and up may seem almost impossible. What do I say to that? Shut up and do it. Stop with the excuses, the over-intelligent reasonings, the lies. Get up and get out the door. Make the life that you have always desired and don't look back. Learn from your past, plan for the future, but always stay in the present. It is the golden rule.
"Suffering (n): the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship"
We might know the loss of a loved one or the hardship of little finances or some other conventional societal suffering. But, most in our society do not truly know suffering. They can hear talk of it, but they are not friends with it. Better than any TV show or book, suffering is the greatest teacher for our journeys. The pure hardship of running to the top of a mountain and back down is wonderful to me. In this desire to get off your butt you too must find your key to the teacher of suffering. Suffering is a harsh teacher though, its doors do not open without the sacrifice of much. Time, comfort, and ease are all to be sacrificed in finding your key to open its doors to find its lessons. Whether it be ultrarunning, cycling, swimming, backpacking, triathlon, or some other sport make sure you love it and are humbled by it. Of course endurance sports are the best for this. Over those long hours you can and will unlock parts of yourself that you never even knew existed. You will become a wholly different person with each run, cycle, or swim. You will improve and change. But, you must first get up and off your butt and out the door. Usually that is the hardest part.
Throughout your life there has probably been at least one, I hope, instance where you took matters into your own hands and got off your butt. Where you forged the life you truly desired. If you are that person, where that forging quickly faded and your period of action was washed away then you are the first to dismiss what I am saying. But, don't. Do not dismiss the benefits of your honest life. Of being fulfilled. Why wouldn't you want to live a long, healthy life where you are truly happy? Why? Because, you are scared. You are scared of the work that it will take to make that life. You are scared of you.
You have spent your life building layers upon your soul that have solidified into walls. They seem impenetrable and so you leave them that way. You are scared of the war that you will have to wage to break apart those walls. To find the truth that is hidden behind them. And yet it is you. Why are you scared of yourself? You shouldn't be. Instead our society teaches us to leave the walls alone. To build the walls up and then create conformity to society's paradigms. You have been so inculcated into the world we live in that you are scared to break free. You just can't.
What I will tell you is this: it won't be easy, it's not easy. In fact it is probably the hardest thing that you will ever do and it won't stop. It is a constant process of refinement. That may seem harsh and probably not what you wanted to hear, but I am not hear to sugarcoat or to lie. I hope that you find in me a source of truth. I will not build you up so that you can tear yourself down. Your journey is the most important thing in your life. It is what your children will see and what they will mold their lives to follow. Good or bad. For the sake of yourself and those around you you MUST create the journey that is the most honestly fulfilling. The one that will be the good example to those around you. Your walls are there to break and you must take the sledgehammer to them. Do not be gentle and do not delay. Once you break down those walls, new ones will arise, but those must come down too. You must constantly strive to find the truth about yourself, within yourself. It is there I guarantee it, you simply need to find it.
Thank you as always.