Saturday, January 19, 2008

Let Your Mortality Serve As Motivation

Guys, I have something a bit personal to share with you today. I got a call from my mom yesterday, and she told me that my Auntie had finally passed on after a four year long battle with cancer. Since my mom had been to see her the last couple of weekends, I knew that she was literally on her death bed, so the news wasn't that shocking to me. However, thinking back from the time that she was first given 4 months to live, more than four years ago, until she finally died on this past Thursday, compelled me to share something with you, but I ask that you bear with me as I make my point.

My Auntie was a strong and proud woman who taught me many things, especially the family gardening secrets that she learned from my great-grandma. So, my avid love for gardening or just growing plants in general was definitely nurtured by her. She also constantly encouraged me as I worked and struggled my way through my Masters and PhD programs by allowing me to rent out her basement. I was experiencing really tough times as a poor, hungry, and jobless grad student, and I would have been homeless if it weren't for her taking me in.

Nevertheless, one thing that I observed from afar these past four years is my Auntie chasing after one treatment to the next in an attempt to "beat" her disease. While her warrior spirit was admirable, I can't help but shake my head because she spent the last four years of her life constantly in pain from one experimental chemo treatment to the next. There was one treatment where they had to put her hands and feet in cold water because of the heat generated by the chemicals they were pumping into her! Fellas, the truth is that my Auntie was, like many of us, afraid to die, and this fear caused her to miss out on possibly the most precious time of her life: her last years.

So, what in the world does this have to do with my weight loss blog? In a word, it has everything to do with not only weight loss, which is only a by product of our real goal here--taking control of You! Yes, I've read many books on nutrition and exercise that have been extremely valuable on my journey; however, there was one book that crystallized everything for me. After reading Dr. Wayne Dyer's Your Erroneous Zones, I had a new perspective on life. Yes, I'm talking about the same balding guy that seems to be on PBS 24/7 talking about his latest books or CDs. Honestly, I can't vouch for any of his other books or products since I haven't read or purchased them. Your Erroneous Zones was all that I needed at that point of my life, and reading it literally changed my life because it caused me to change my way of thinking.

I strongly encourage you guys to read this book, which was first published the year I was born, because it helped me to get over the fact that we are all going to die one day, and that fearing it was absurd. Why fear the inevitable? Yes, I know that many of us fear the unknown or the unexpected, but that doesn't keep those things at bay or even eliminate them, does it? Of course it doesn't because if it did, my Auntie would still be alive. We can will ourselves to live longer than the "doctors" have given us, but in the end our mortality wins out. So, is this something that we should cower in the face of or grit our teeth over? Hell no!

You use it at motivation to have the life that You want to live in the body that You want to have. People often ask me why I have set so many goals and challenges for myself. Well, it's actually quite simple. I realize that this is the only life that I will consciously live in the body I currently have. Now, there are hundreds of beliefs about what happens after we die, which is fine for explaining what happens after we stop breathing. But, what about all the years we have in between our first and last breath? Are we simply going to live a mundane life of unfulfilled dreams and aspirations, waiting for that dreadful day when we die?


I can't speak for you, but I believe like one of my fitness idols, Jack LaLanne. In an interview about his longevity, the interviewer asked Jack does he think about dying, and he scoffed at the question and told her that, "I'll think about dying when I'm dead!". Now, this is exactly the type of attitude about living life that I'm getting at guys.

For me, I'm going to live my life to the fullest, aggressively (thanks Mike), and without fear of dying. My life's goal is to complete as many challenges and goals that I set for myself and to live my life without regret of what I should have done or what I could have done. I think that a verse from Dave Matthew's song Lie In Our Graves sums it up best:

I can't believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering if we had spent our living days well
I can't believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering what we might've been
I can't believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering if we had spent our living days well
I can't believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering what we might've been
Is this the person you want to be? Lying on your death bed, wondering about all the things you said you wanted to do, but never did. Talking about all the accomplishments you decided not to pursue because you short-changed your own abilities. Are you really going to live your life wondering what you might have been if you had stood up and taken charge of your destiny?

Yes, I blog about weight loss and my journey to getting lean and ripped; however, these things are secondary to my goal of living a full, satisfying, and successful life, which I define for myself. I think this gets lost in all of the before and after pictures, debates about counting calories, losing weight as a hobby, etc that I blog about. Nevertheless, if you are simply losing weight for cosmetic or narcissistic reasons and haven't closely analyzed how this is part of you taking control of your life, then you're sadly missing out on the bigger picture.

* * *

As I plant my traditional and hydroponic gardens this summer, I'll think about my Auntie and the times that we've spent together. However, I'm going to remember my Auntie as she was before the last four years of her life because this is when she was focused more on living instead of focusing on trying not to die.

4 comments:

Nic said...

Hello! Just started my own blog. I'm going to add your link on my page.

Mr. LowBodyFat said...

Nic, thanks for adding my blog. Take care. Muata

billy said...

Wow, I just saw your blog, what an amazing transformation! You have accomplished quite a feat here.

Mr. LowBodyFat said...

Billy thanks for the compliment bro. Hey, you're transformation ain't too shabby either!