Just over a year ago, I finally decided to do something about my need to move. I knew I needed some form of physical activity, something that I could enjoy and sustain. So I joined a gym and started taking various classes and lifting a few weights. Over time, I changed some classes for others, tweaking until I found the right combination of fun and fitness for me. During this time, I also made some dietary changes, and in the end, I lost 2 sizes and about 35 pounds. And for awhile, this was enough.
One of the classes that I have continued to take is a group cycle class. When I first started, my goal was to finish the workout without dying. Or at least, without feeling like I was dying. And then at some point, I started to challenge myself a little. I added on more resistance. A little here; a little there. Eventually, I even started to face my old enemy, the Sprint.
I have never been fast, and when I was in middle school and high school, I was basically coerced into playing basketball. I’m reasonably tall, but that did not make me a good player. Worse, practice meant lots of running. Worse still, it meant lots of sprinting. Dear God, you want me to run how fast and for how long? So it came as a surprise to myself that I would actually want to challenge myself to sprint as hard and as fast as I could during this class.
Building strength can be quite addictive. It’s certainly true that obsessive personalities are drawn to the gym. It is certainly something that control freaks can control. No doubt that is part of what’s going on for me, as I am (still) a recovering control freak…
But there’s more going on than that for me. After a brief absence, my Spirit Father has returned to remind me of the warrior I have been (in previous lives) and the warrior I must be now.
Last week, I went white-water rafting with a friend and his son. I had never been before. During the pre-rafting speech, I began to pray that I wouldn’t end up on the front page of the local paper. Ha ha. Please just keep me in the boat, I asked the angels.
The actual rafting part was not too difficult, and I was glad that I was in reasonably good shape. Not long into the trip, however, we stopped and walked along the shore past a particularly nasty bit of falls. Once safely around, we were given a choice: either jump off of an 18-foot cliff into the middle of the river and swim to the raft, or walk down the trail to the river and simply walk to the raft from there. Given my fear of heights and the swiftness and coldness of the river, along with my memories of news stories in which people died in Pacific Northwest rivers, you would think that I would scurry myself along the easy path and simply walk to the boat. And a year ago, I probably would have done exactly that. But this year was different. I felt my Spirit Father with me. You are a warrior.
I didn’t hesitate too long. I simply jumped. Once in the air, I thought, Well, I’m committed. Splash, into the icy river, and then I had to immediately start swimming or miss the raft. And before I knew it, I was safe in the boat—and incredibly proud of myself.
A little further down was a waterfall that we were not going to walk around. We were going over it, which meant the raft would be submerged briefly. If you were likely to fall out of the boat, this was the time it would probably happen. It was optional, but I chose to face it, albeit with some trepidation. As I paddled toward that fall, I remembered doing very similar things in my long past. You are a warrior, he whispered.
I grew up with a great deal of trepidation about my physical body. I always played it safe and was never much of a risk-taker in that regard. So it is interesting to me now that I am pushing myself physically, and I know that it is part of a larger spiritual change as well. I am a warrior, but I do not make war.
The warriors of the future are very different from the warriors of the past. It is no longer about inflicting damage or death, of control or triumph. A warrior in the new world is a protector, a peace-maker, a provider. A warrior is characterized by strength through peace and love. A warrior understands that he or she is not separate, and that the entirety of Earth and the Universe is One Being. A warrior is still brave; a warrior still acts when required. But the expression of these things is changing. A warrior trusts that when he or she is called upon to jump from an 18-foot cliff (literally or figuratively), that the Universe is there to support them. A warrior is an enlightened being and a student of Life.
The great Mystery Schools of our past always included physical tasks that had to be completed. The purpose of these tasks was to help us overcome our fears. When you can overcome your fears, you are truly a spiritual warrior, and you can accomplish great things. I believe that this is a major part of this transformation in myself.
I don’t honestly know where this new direction is going to take me, but my Spirit is calling me to change, and the Universe is instructing me in this change, and it is good. It is always good.