I got back on the treadmill today, and boy, it was rough. I mean, super rough! (Not tough. It was rough!) Five years ago, I ran ten kilometres in under 48 minutes. Today, I was lucky to scale three in thirty.
As I trudged, red face, blobs of sweat plopping onto the treadmill, legs aching, willing myself to get through the requisite minimum thirty minutes, I began remembering that super slim, toned 45-year-old I was. It was within my mind's reach. It was so close, I wanted to slap her! Her weight had barely changed in the preceding 25 years. She loved clothes.
And, I began to search for blame.
I give myself full credit for that! I didn’t even try to look for blame. It came totally naturally! Totes nat! One second, I am listening to Lady GaGa. Next minute, I am relentlessly beating myself up. And in one small leap, I had a list of culprits to play with.
It was Bali. It was the heat. The rain. The humidity. It was illness; chronic fatigue at the end of 2011, to a dog bite and surgery, broken ankle and dengue fever. It was lack of time, lack of happiness, lack of …
Whoa! Stop right there! Lack?! Yes, sister, you are darned right there. But it was lack of only one thing. But it was not the weather, injury or illness.
It was lack of discipline. No need to mince words.
Lack. Of. Discipline. (The beat up bounced up and I was by now, clobbering myself.)
Now, I’ve been watching quite a bit of Hillary Clinton lately, and admiring her commitment to herself and her values. Like or loathe her, most admire her discipline and self-control.
It occurred to me, as sweat dripped into my eyes and the treadmill came to a slow stop: Discipline comes from one source, one that I teach, covet, aim for on a daily basis. And that is from vision. Without vision, you can’t have discipline.
Discipline requires an image in your mind. It’s not just about committing to doing something each day, hedging step by step to a goal.
It’s holding that result so clearly in your mind, that to miss any of those steps would not make sense. It’s believing in the end result so strongly, that the actions needed to get there are almost on auto-pilot. The voice in your head that gives you an excuse to break the cycle is the one that you are in control of; the same one you can switch off at any time you like, and change the conversation.
And, here’s the enlightening moment.
Vision comes from creativity. So often, when we are feeling stuck in our lives, on the treadmill, we have lost touch with our creative spirit. We all have it inside. We are all creative beings. If you can imagine your next holiday, you can also imagine your fitness and good health. You can imagine writing that book, creating that piece of art, finishing that marathon. It is only when we are blocked creatively, that the fuzzy vision begins. We start making excuses, until quickly enough, we stop making the little steps that edge us toward what we want.
Creativity is the source of all our vision, no matter what the topic is. Accounting, marketing, writing, painting, gardening, figuring out how to fix the washing machine. Creative people lead fuller lives. They get more done, and have fun (most of the time!) doing so. They are the achievers. The ones you admire for getting up each day and barrelling through the knockers. And one day, they have won an award, climbed a mountain, got the business you admire or even have their own television show, and you wonder…how on earth did they suddenly swing that success?!
Know this. They didn't get there by luck. They got there by tuning into the frequency that makes them happy. And, they drowned quite a few of you out on the way. They got there, because they have vision. And vision can only come from creativity. They also know how to balance the jungle, tread the stones, heed the need for silence.
Creative people have oodles of vision, but by the same token, they also need downtime. For me, it is being still, away from people, saying nothing. It’s when I recharge my energy that sometimes dissipates when I let energy-thieves sneak into my life. And sometimes, other things get in the way and we forget that the source of all our creativity needs nurturing.
As I finished my first run in a long time, I clearly saw that 45-year-old woman. Running was her meditation, and somehow, other stuff had got in the way of that vision. And, that’s okay. The beauty of creativity, is that it also helps you seek out “ah-ha” moments, and take one hundred per cent responsibility for yourself.
It’s all part of the journey.
Embrace creativity in all you do. Tap into it. Love it. Accept it for the rollercoaster ride that it sometimes is! And know that next time you are beating yourself up for putting on weight or not going on that walk, or finishing that book or writing that blog, it has nothing to do with being weak. It has everything to do with how you allow creativity to seep into every area of your life.
Once that happens, vision has a knock-on-head effect, and the goals and things you want for yourself are just one image away.
That’s a hell of a lot more gentle than giving yourself a lecture!