Listening time: 6 minutes 8 seconds.
Ever since I can remember I've had big...BIG goals. I have always felt like there was something I was supposed to do or achieve. As a kid I would get so excited by the amount of energy that was trying to flow through and out of me I would talk so fast with a terrible speech impediment. No one could understand me so I would trudge off and go try to figure out how to work with the energy on my own. I discovered movement as an amazing outlet for my energy and of course using my mind and body to chase after my BIG goals.
For a long time many of my goals felt like an intense burning desire. I would strive and push until I made it, but time and time again I would reach the finish line and have the same thoughts.
"Is this it?" This is the BIG thing I was supposed to do? No, of course not, there has to be something more. What's next?"
I experienced this deflation when I finally got into my dream college and played on the top ranked Division 1 lacrosse team like I dreamt of while shooting on the goal and chasing balls against my athletic Labrador Retriever in grade school. I felt it when I crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon with a time of 3 hours and 30 minutes, but immediately felt disappointed and worthless because I aimed to run a 3:15. I felt it deeply to the core of my being when I stood on stage under the bright lights in front of a packed auditorium at the 2011 Ms. Bikini Olympia, the top bodybuilding competition in the world.
I felt it after career successes too, like when I finally got the job title I wanted of Fitness Expert Consultant in Los Angeles California or when I finally made the amount of money I aimed to. It was an interesting to observe. As my list of achievements grew I felt like I was shrinking becoming smaller inside and weighed down by all the things I thought I was or ought to be doing.
I suppose I used to look at achievements and accolades as if they were me- my identity. Over the past few years I have removed the things that I thought I was one by one. I see them in a different light now. They were wonderful highs and great memories, wonderful journeys and learning experiences, but they are not my self-worth or identity.
It was pretty life shattering when this realization hit. I mean, sure you always read those little inspiration messages like BE YOUtiful. But, you never really understand quotes or sayings until you experience it for yourself.
My ego shattering moment was in 2014 when I signed a contract for my own travel fitness & wellness television show that would air on DirectTV.
Needless to say it never happened.
I got led on for months by the executive producer, "we're just waiting for the budgets to come through." He would say week after week.
Meanwhile, I excitedly put all my energy- physical, mental, financial, and even spiritual into the creation of this project. I was certain this was the BIG THING, the BIG GOAL I have been waiting for and lusting after, finally taking form.
When I finally realized it wasn't going to happen I was broken...shattered in a million pieces on the floor of my tiny studio apartment. I was sad, full of self-pity, and then angry. I was angry with myself, and extremely angry with God.
"How could you let this happen?! I have worked my whole life for this!" I exclaimed.
When I finally got over my rage and pulled myself up from a sobbing face planted position I felt hollow and hopeless. A thought crossed my mind. It was loud and clear unlike the stammers and heated disputes I witnessed just seconds before.
"Put as much effort and enthusiasm into your spiritual practices as you do into your physical practices."
I propped myself up against the closed murphy bed in my studio in a cross legged position. My body ached- it wasn't muscle soreness. It was the pain of the picture I painted for my life being ripped apart. I closed my eyes and tried to meditate. I thought of that nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty.
"All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn't put Humpty back together again."
I think that nursery tale never got finished. Perhaps Humpty put himself back together again. I knew that was what I was going to have to do in that moment.
I have not been open or verbal about this, but I'm pretty sure people can see that I've been going through a big transformation over the past few years. I mean, I've sold all my belongings lived out of a Honda Fit for weeks at a time to be able to travel to national parks and just get away from LA and all the memories of what I thought would happen there for me. I have lived on a sailboat for months learning how to rest and find new sources of creativity, I've gone deep into yoga, meditation, silence, and retreats. In this process I have restored my health on all levels, found more contentment and harmony in my life and feel called to do work that goes beyond just working with the physical body and fitness alone.
I am currently abroad in India putting the final touches of gold and restoration on this heart of mine so I can truly follow my heart's calling and finally write a book proposal and access the courage to put my heart...I mean my "art" out there to the world.
I have learned that the energy that flows through us is not just to be used to reach BIG goals, attain certain titles, accolades, or achievements. That energy is so BIG and grand, because it connects each one of us with everything in the cosmos. We are innately powerful, healthy, happy, and successful. The work lies in aligning what we do, say, and think to allow it to shine through.