I like wagon rides. We go to the farm, get on, sit back and enjoy the ride with the rest of the gang. It’s a lovely distraction from life and a great opportunity to relax, be part of a group and look out at the scenery.
On the wagon…
In the diet and fitness world, wagons can be dangerous to climb onto. The inability to direct where you’re going is the first danger. When that fork in the road occurs, you have to either sit there and go along with it, or jump off and go your own way.
Sitting there and going along with it is very disempowering. But it’s easy to do. You don’t want to miss out on what the crowd is doing. Fitting in and belonging is part of the human condition. So you carry on, but a piece of you is always knowing that this isn’t right for you.
Jumping off to go your own way can start off feeling exciting and empowering. But then you are out there on your own. When you run into another fork, or a log crossing the path, you have to face it by yourself. Then doubt can creep in. “Was this the right thing to do? Maybe I should’ve just stayed on the wagon.” Feeling like a failure, for not staying on the wagon and not being able to make it on your own, you go back to the path and wait. Wait for the next wagon to arrive to rescue you.
I say, get on the horse instead…
By choosing to get on the horse, you are choosing to direct your own way. To be responsible for how things move forward.
Choosing to be on your own horse is not just about control. It’s about building a relationship. It’s one of trust, one of respect and one of honour. The responsibility lies in knowing that maybe today isn’t the day to go hard – maybe it’s too hot out, maybe there was no sleep, maybe there is an injury or illness that needs attention. It’s about seeing the reality of today and modifying the plan to adapt to the circumstances instead of forcing it. If today’s reality isn’t honoured, it leads to burn out, injury, and a loss of respect, lack of trust.
Here’s a fact – you will fall off the horse. How long you take to climb back on is up to you. Most horses won’t let you back on until you get yourself together. If you’re freaking out they will ensure that you centre yourself before you get back. They have to trust you. So the faster you deal with whatever it is that knocked you down, the faster you’ll get to move again.
It really isn’t about how often you fall off. It’s all about how fast you get back to it. Once you are back up there, then you face the decisions of how it’s all going to go. Are you going to get back on with extreme caution? Are you going to focus on trying not to fall off again? That’s no good. If you’re not falling, you’re not learning.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s OK to just sit up there and walk sometimes, to just take it easy and enjoy the scenery. But you (and the horse) will get bored and stop developing your skills if you don’t run, jump, and push it a little bit.
Just as true, is that you cannot keep a break-neck pace (like those of dieting and exercise programs) without injury. It’s not sustainable and it will lead to you needing to take a long recovery time. Take your time. Learn the fundamentals and know that you won’t go out there and ride like a pro out of the gate. You need to learn a skill, master it, and then move on to building the next piece of your repertoire.
Your body has put up with a lot from you over the years. Take the time to build the relationship. Spend time with yourself appreciating all that it’s endured and thank it for not giving up on you.
The world is not black and white. You are not succeeding or failing. You are not on the wagon or off. You are living. Learn to appreciate the vast array of grey.
Until next time,
Live Life. Love Food. Be Free.