Since I began this “work,” my intention has always been to bring out the very best in people. Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn from my experiences over the years that some people are simply not yet ready to access their “best selves.” Frequently we turn out to be our own worst enemy and find a way to sabotage our success even when it’s right there within our reach. It takes some work to change the way we operate, both mentally and physically, but I promise you, it’s well worth the investment of our time and energy.
My first words of advice are to “start simple” and build from the ground up. There’s no way to build any structure from the 3rd floor up so take the time on the ground to set your foundation. Once you have a solid base to work from, THEN you can begin to look upward.
Second words of advice….Keep yourself from over-committing/over-promising and you’ll greatly increase the odds of your success. Whether your goal is to begin eating more healthy or exercising regularly, you want to get yourself into a routine that establishes some consistency. Consistency is going to be the real key to your long-term success. There’s no need to make it an “all or nothing approach.” Instead try to make it a gradual progression toward YOUR vision of ideal health and wellness.
Last week I began teaching an AM Yoga Class out on the Rec. yard right after breakfast. Generally, at that time of the morning it’s still quiet up there and there aren’t many other men around. I’ve convinced most of the men to take off their shoes so they can curl their toes down into the grass and actually feel the ground beneath them. We’ll spend about 30 minutes gradually warming up our bodies as we face the rising sun, and then I try to set a positive intention so everyone can begin their day in a very peaceful way.
I used to begin every day in a similar way on my own, but at some point I fell out of that routine. This Yoga class allowed me to get back into that routine. Now I’m able to walk away each morning feeling more healthy and balanced than I ever did prior to my incarceration. I’m sure that sounds a bit crazy, but it’s true. The unfortunate reality for so many of us is that this term of incarceration was the only way for us to reclaim our health and wellness. This time can is an opportunity for us to dig deep within ourselves and access our best selves, IF we so choose.
If you haven’t begun to take those initial steps toward reclaiming your OPTIMAL mental/physical health and well-being then I encourage you to get started with something simple tomorrow. Head outside, take off your shoes, and curl up your toes in the morning grass and you watch the sun ascend into the sky…no Yoga poses are necessary. Simply enjoy that little bit of freedom you feel in the moment and use it to build toward something a little greater each day. You’ve got everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose. So what’s stopping you?