Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

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by TI CONKLE

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

One can have access to diet templates and the best of coaching, a full membership at the finest of training facilities, and the support of friends and family, and still fail at the margins of experience.
I have a confession to make: something’s often gotten the best of me. As a result, for years on end… I would eat my feelings. All of them. As an athlete, as a mountaineer, as a cyclist, as a mother of a daughter, I know better. That wasn’t enough. It turns out, willpower and won’t-power aren’t even a significant part of the equation unless you deal with the underlying issues that drive you.

One can have access to diet templates and the best of coaching, a full membership at the finest of training facilities, and the support of friends and family, and still fail at the margins of experience. Experience in addressing that which drives us.

It wasn’t until I sat down with myself and asked, “What do I really, actually want right now?” and then listened for the brokenhearted response, that change could begin to happen. What I wanted was a hug. Reassurance. Someone to tell me that I was enough. That my best efforts as a struggling single mom, a stressed out investigator, a determined athlete and tenaciously open-hearted warrior… were understood. What I wanted was to be loved. Accepted for exactly who I am. Celebrated, not tolerated. What I wanted was to believe in myself again. To find the confidence I lost somewhere along the broken road that has been the past three decades. What I wanted was to surface. To breach. To inhale. To live again. What I wanted was to know who I am. To come home to myself.

What I reached for instinctively was carbohydrates — preferably in bread, pasta, excellent wine, microbrew beer and single malt Scotch. The result? Heavy heart, heavy stomach, heavy feet. I had become the queen of distraction: throwing all available resources at filling quiet time with activity, chasing relationship, numbing… always numbing. It occurred to me that there is not enough pizza or beer or wine or Scotch or drugs in all of the world to numb the pain of one who longs to wake up. To live.

I changed my mind. I began to slow down, to insist on asking myself what I truly, really needed. Every day. Several times each day. It turns out, I need a lot.

Nowhere do I find the need to saturate my senses with an overabundance of carbohydrates for the purposes of numbing the pain of loneliness, loss.
I need intense training sessions that turn my body inside out. I need to lift heavy weights and challenge my own power to weight ratio. I need to move. I need to climb. I need to laugh. I need hugs and affection and warmth and laughter and inside jokes and silliness. I need emotional connection with other mindful human beings. I need good conversation on every possible topic. I need to be fascinated, amazed, in awe. I need to express my thoughts, articulate hopes and dreams and ideas. I need to see that light turn on in the eyes of the person I’m talking to. I need mountains and open spaces and fresh air and alone time. I need to hear the echo of a thousand wild geese migrating. I need sunlight — oh, how I need sunlight.

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