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P90X-A Spiritual Journey?

April 11, 2011 –

Our well-being is a balance of so many elements. Internal and external forces are constantly challenging us and without a strong foundation, we can feel tossed around like a small ship in a storm..

I have always believed in (4) critical cornerstones to my foundation.

–       Physical

–       Emotional

–       Mental

–       Spiritual

If you look at my transformation story and video, I talk about the change that P90x made to all (4) of these. In fact, physical was the least radical change for me. Although it is the easiest to notice because we can see it with our own eyes, it is only one of the pillars.

For this blog, I want to focus on the spiritual transformation even though one pillar does affect the other. I have always been a spiritual person. I practice Catholicism and went to Catholic schools. I am very thankful for those experiences. However, being in touch with your spirituality takes time and patience. It is the moment that you start experiencing it, and not just leaning about it by reading words on a page, that your growth occurs.

When I was growing up, my family would spend a lot of time in the outdoors car camping, fishing, etc. In my pre-teen years, my Dad started to backpack more seriously and we would often go to the Kettle Moraine State Park in Wisconsin. When I was 13, my Dad brought me up to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) on the Minnesota / Canada border and this experience had a profound effect on me. We went up every year for probably 7 or so years. We would bring different people each time so they could experience the wonder and beauty of nature up there.

For me, nature became my spiritual place. I remember getting up in the morning and sitting on a rock overlooking the lake with the sun coming up. As a teenager, I worked through a lot of mental, emotional, and spiritual debates in these moments. I sat, breathed in the air, prayed, and listened. They were formative moments that I can only truly appreciate looking back on them. They helped me build my strong spiritual foundation.

In 2000, I married my beautiful wife and we proceeded to expand the human race by 3 over the next few years. My sons were born in 2002 and 2004, while my daughter was born in 2006. My career was progressing well, but as anyone who has kids knows, “free time” had all but evaporated. Life was happening to me, but not in a good way.

On a crude level, P90x is a set of 12 DVDs that contains some really hard workouts and a nutritional guide that asks you to make major changes in your dietary habits.  This sure doesn’t seem like a serene morning looking at the Loons in northern Minnesota? Well, it’s funny how different things come into your life at different times.

From that first workout in December 2009 to now, P90x and the other Tony Horton DVDs have done something more meaningful than cranking out a bunch our push-ups and pull-ups. There is something deeper going on here. People want to do P90x (or any program) because they want to change their current trajectory. They don’t like who they have become or who they on their way to becoming and they know their ship is lisping to one side.

As we push ourselves physically, there is an affect on your other 3 pillars. It could just be praying that we can make it through another round of push-ups. :) But as we push ourselves physically, we need to be conscious of bigger changes.

As the body improves, the mind and spirit are forced to come along. As we make choices to improve our eating habits, we also choose to open our minds a little bit more. As we set aside time for our workouts, we are making ourselves a priority again. As we improve breathing techniques, we learn how to deal better with stressful situations. The downward spiral stops and the domino effect of positive change starts impacting many aspects of our lives.

It is scientifically proven that exercise releases feel good chemicals in your brain, one being endorphins. As we work to master good form, not clench our teeth through an exercise, or perfect our breathing in Yoga, we begin to “feel” whole again. We begin to awaken what was asleep for so long and rebuild our cornerstones.

For most, the diet is the hardest thing to change. As I have improved the fuel I put in my body everyday and started to eat things that are more natural, I know I am treating the body that was given to me the way God intended. This is a very primal and instinctual feeling. If you would have told me that I needed to get in touch with where my food was coming from back in 2009, I would have called you some Greenpeace, tree-hugging freak. LOL! But now that I have experienced it, I can say that it has affected all 4 of my cornerstones, especially my spiritually. I am going to go out on a limb, but I don’t think fast food is what God means by nourishment. And once we start nourishing ourselves properly physically, it will lead into nourishment of our mind and soul.

I do not want to give the impression that I don’t lose my temper, get frustrated with the way a day unfolds, or frankly know I didn’t just have my best moment. I am human! In fact, you can ask my wife how human I am. :) However, there has been a renewed consciousness and confidence in who I am and who God wants me to become. Being physically healthy, gave me the nudge I needed to get back to my roots of who I was. It helped me remember that most of the things that are taking up my mental capacity are not worth the space. And most importantly, God has provided me countless blessings that I take for granted everyday. Focus on those rather than everything else.

I think one of the big things that differentiates P90x from other workout regimes is really Tony himself. He isn’t telling you this is a quick fix. He isn’t here to tell you to use this contraption for 5 minutes a day and you’ll feel better. What he does tell you is that it is hard work. He tells you that giving your best is always good enough. He tells you be in the present moment and forget all the garbage of yesterday. Although his nuggets can come across as slightly corny, if you really let yourself listen and open up to it, there is wisdom in there.

So, what are the things that dominate our days that frankly aren’t that important? Checking Facebook every 5 minutes (I’m guilty). Looking aimlessly around the internet to pass the time? Watching too much TV? Once we change our sedentary lifestyles and become active again, we start a huge process of reprioritizing our lives. We begin steps to making a difference. For if we are not personally healthy in our 4 pillars, it is hard to make ourselves available to others and impact them in a positive way.

I will be blogging much more on specific aspects of my spiritual journey and things that inspire me. I am putting myself out there and frankly writing about things I never intended when I started this blog. But we are here to help each other progress in our life journey. And unless we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we will never truly enjoy living life to its fullest.

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