On Strength Training and a Different Kind of Renewable Energy

A while back, I Tweeted, “To all those people who would rather rip on something than celebrate it – I hope your days get better so optimism finds room to shine,” a friend replied, “my favorite Pollyanna ;->.”

A week or so after this, after I told a different friend about how physically destroyed I was feeling after spending an hour with my son jumping on a trampoline, he said, “Well, you’ll know how fit you are by how quickly you recover.”

And after my most recent post, I received an email from yet another friend congratulating me on “living such a great life” and commenting that my reaction to yoga was nothing short of a miracle.

It’s dawned on me that all of these seemingly disparate instances have something in common. Combined, these interactions are a lesson in energy and optimism and the work it takes to sustain both.

As I’ve written before, I need to work very hard to stay positive. Just as we build muscles by working out, I have to build my optimism (gratitude, etc.) “muscles” by practicing. I have to do things that showcase the good in the world. I have to surround myself (as much as possible) with people who are positive, grateful and passionate. If I don’t – my optimism atrophies and frankly, I go dark.

I’m not superhuman, though. I’m not actually a Pollyanna. I do have those moments and days when I can’t find the gratitude or the silver lining. It sucks. These are the days when I find myself drawn to negative thoughts or worse…I find myself judgmental and dreading the happiness/good fortune of others. These are the days when I might “unsubscribe” to someone on Facebook, simply because their optimism annoys me. Worse yet…These are the days when I doubt myself. When I doubt everything about myself. Even the things that I know to be good and true.

But like my friend said about my physical fitness after I destroyed myself on the trampoline, I have to pay close attention to my spiritual fitness, as well. I take pride in my ability to recognize the dark moments, allow them their space and then bounce back to a place of optimism, gratitude and love. I know it’s hard to sustain this energy – especially in the face of the constant noise created by naysayers.

For the most part, renewable energy refers to the power we generate from the sun, wind and water. But for me, it’s about the power I’m able to draw from feeling grateful, optimistic and non-judgmental. It comes from admitting mistakes. It comes from believing in myself and working hard to appreciate and showcase my true, authentic self.

However, just as I sometimes leave the lights on in the house, I’m not always perfect. I waste energy. I make mistakes. And, while leaving the lights on leads to a higher energy bill, darkness results in lower (personal) energy. And, frankly, I don’t like feeling low. I don’t like myself when I’m low.

So, I work out my spiritual muscles and I try to not only stay positive and grateful, but I do it as publicly as I can. It’s just part of who I am. And every time I do…I feel renewed.

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  1. […] I think I feel guilty when I feel happy. Like maybe I don’t really deserve it. If I tell anyone that things are going really well (as they are), I feel like I’m bragging. Showing off. I feel like a Facebook wall post. Like the Polyanna that I’ve been accused of being. […]



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