… And Learning to Fly InsteadBy Blamoh Twegbe, contributing blogger
“I am ridin’ high, I don’t want to come down, Hope my wings don’t fail me now, and if I can touch the sky, I’d risk to fall just to know how it feels to fly.” — Alicia Keys, via How It Feels to Fly
Every year on my birthday, as I blow out my candles, I make a wish and I set a goal for myself for the year. I make it something challenging, something I’d NEVER do, or something that SCARES me! Last year, as I turned a fabulous 34 years old, my resolution was to complete a four-week Boot Camp! Since I am not a morning person or extremely fit, I thought this would be the PERFECT challenge to jump-start my workout regimen and allow me to get more disciplined with my fitness goals. Since September of 2011, I’ve lost over 80 pounds & have worked out more consistently than I ever have in my adult life; however, Boot Camp was something I’d never contemplated doing nor had any desire to do. Honestly, I’d witnessed those “fanatics” at 6am jogging around Lake Merritt or running full speed up flights of stairs and had thought that it just wasn’t for me.
My ideas around fitness go way back. When I was in grade school, I was the overweight kid who dreaded P.E. and everything that went along with it: the timed 1-mile run, the obstacle courses, the 200-yard dash, the yearly physical fitness evaluations. Running, to me, equaled torture and conjured up the greatest anxiety and fears I think I’ve ever experienced in my life—more than piano recitals or giving speeches in class! This type of strenuous physical activity scared me TO DEATH.
Do it afraid.
With that being said, I decided to challenge this unrealistic fear I had of boot camp-type fitness and JUST DO IT! I mean, what was I REALLY worried about? What did I really have to fear? What’s the worst that could happen? Well, maybe I won’t be able to run the entire time or do as many reps as the chiseled lady on the mat next to mine. Or maybe I’ll set my alarm and push snooze too many times and get to class late and be embarrassed. I decide to instead consider what is the best thing that could happen was. I could prove to myself that I CAN get stronger and push my physical limits! I could totally take a chance at creating the healthy and toned body I want. I could actually SURPRISE myself and run faster & do more crunches, more burpees, or hold a plank longer than I thought I could! I realized that positives of the situation DEFINITELY outweighed the possibilities I was afraid of. I was chose not to let fear hold me back.
Three days a week for four weeks, at 6am, I arrived at the gym and pushed my body to the fullest for an hour before cleaning up and going to work. Those days were LONG, I tell you, and I was exhausted by the end of the day, but I was secretly flying. I had made the leap and was attempting something I never thought I could do. Each day after my bootcamp session, I would pray: “Thank you for guiding me on this journey. I am grateful for the change. I am learning. I am growing. I feel FREE. I am STRONG now. “
Showing up for the challenge to love myself in a new and crazy way has changed everything. I’ve learned to embrace my new body! I actually ENJOY working out and look forward to my daily workouts now. Who would have imagined that setting ONE goal & having one WISH could allow me to discover this whole new world of fitness?! I am amazed every day by my discipline and determination to be the best ME I can be. I’m so grateful that I didn’t allow my fear and anxiety from the past and of the unknown prevent me from growing. Sometimes you have to trust your instincts, open your heart, hold on to your faith and take a leap.
So what if you fall flat? You will recover, rebound & be all the stronger. What matters is that you actually TAKE THE RISK and allow yourself a chance for transformation. Most of the time, taking the “safe route” is the more painful one! Burying your dreams and aspirations in a box and dimming your inner light is the opposite of loving yourself—why wouldn’t you want to love yourself COMPLETELY? As the author and coach Karlyn Percil said, “The more you practice self-love, the closer you will get to your purpose in life.” You can pray, trust, hope, and believe that whatever career you want to pursue, whomever you choose to love, wherever you want to live, whatever goal you wish to attain can BE if you just take a chance, follow your heart, & make the leap.
I mean, why not throw fear out the window & apply for that senior management position—I bet you’ll be thankful you tried – you may even get that promotion! Why not say ‘I love you’ to the one person you’ve been dying to say it to? Or why not really take a chance & tweet your very public crush Cory Booker every hour on the hour until he responds?! What’s the worst that can happen? Maybe he blocks you? OK, that would suck. But what if he ACTUALLY replies back to you? How AWESOME would that be?!!
I’m being silly (but actually, I’m not. I LOVE Cory Booker!), but you get my point. Your desire to break-through MUST be stronger than your fear. Imagine the MAGNIFICENT things that could happen if you took all the energy wrapped up into feeding your fears and redirected that energy into pursuing your heart’s desires? What a GLORIOUS life-shift that would create! You can reclaim your spirit & create your own happiness. When you make courageous decisions, the Universe supports you & MAGICAL things begin to happen in your life.
Karlyn Percil says, “On the other side of fear is freedom. Often the only way from fear
to freedom is an act of sheer courage. Courage is doing the hard thing, WITH fear, and doing it anyway.”
Yet you MUST have the vision in order to create it. Speak your dreams out loud and don’t give up! Imagine what is truly possible—breathe in the possibilities. Persist and push past your comfort zone because when you are comfortable, you are not growing. Learn to embrace the fear: feel it, acknowledge it. Bulldoze through those feelings—a breakthrough is on the other side. Envision the life you want, embrace the dream you desire and make it happen. So you’re fearful—it’s ok! That means that you CARE and it means something to you. TRUST yourself and have the courage to break that barrier? The only way to get through hard things is to go (and GROW) through them. And pushing through fear IS freedom.
Nothing feels better than seeing the fulfillment of all your heart’s desires by creating the life you deserve.
And you deserve so much.