Elvis Presley, at the height of his fame, once said, “The Lord can give, and the Lord can take away. I might be herding sheep next year.”
And it’s true that we never know what life will hand us. All we can do is appreciate what we have now and handle inevitable change with flexibility, strength and compassion. Let’s remind ourselves about these important skills briefly:
Appreciation. If you’re actually working out, then you’ve already got a body you can get off the couch, so you’re one step ahead of many. Think of the additional wonders: the small but critical tasks your body does every day, the people you’re honored to know, the love you’ve experienced in your lifetime so far.
Flexibility. Our muscles need to stretch and so do we. A better word for it might be resilience, the thing that allows us to adapt and continue moving forward despite setbacks. Hurt your ankle? Work your arms. Things not going as planned? Why was the plan so important in the first place, and is there learning to be had from going off the script?
Strength. And sometimes, of course, we just have to flex what we’ve got and power through. If you’ve pushed before—either in a workout or a dark time—you know it’s hard, but you also know you have it in you. As a trainer I’ve found that most people underestimate their strength.
Compassion. Even at your worst you’re worthy of love and understanding. As is everyone. If we got off the exercise bandwagon for a bit/lost our temper/ate a pint of ice cream late one night, it doesn’t mean we’re failures; it means we’re human. Remember humanity, and its value and goodness even in less-than-good moments.
So, open those flexible, and strong arms a little wider. If it helps, imagine Elvis, in sparkling pants, herding sheep–as you shepherd your own life with the courage to meet whatever comes.