Through my readings (and my own experiences) I’ve discovered that life just gets too hard and happiness levels plummet when you have to make all the mistakes yourself or if you have to experience everything yourself before you gain wisdom. It’s much more efficient to learn from everyone else.
You can learn plenty from a friend, mum or dad, your neighbour and maybe even your cat! For instance, I’ve learned from my cat, Charley, that it’s always good idea to take time out to rest and meditate everyday:
I’ve also learned something really interesting from Oscar-winning actress, and ’80s home video exercise queen, Jane Fonda (that hair, those leg warmers!!!).
Back when I used to do Jane Fonda workouts at home (yes, I admit I followed Jane’s videos with much enthusiasm!), something she said in one of her videos really stuck with me: “It’s really important to have strength, stamina and flexibility.”
Jane was talking about exercise of course but I’ve always felt that it applies to life too.
When you think about it, if you have enough strength of character to pick yourself up and dust yourself off no matter what happens, stamina to stay on track with your goals when you feel like giving up and flexibility to make changes in your life when what you’re currently doing isn’t really making you happy, you’ll be able to handle anything that life happens to hurl in your direction. Plus, you’ll probably feel quite pleased with yourself for being so darned clever at gracefully dealing with problems that would floor a lessen being!
There’s just one little problem with Jane’s illuminating advice. How the heck do you build strength, stamina and flexibility? Jane, of course, recommends an exercise regime that includes weight lifting (strength), aerobic moves (stamina) and yoga (flexibility). Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply outside the gym so I’ve had to fumble about devising my own plan on how to improve on each one.
For me, strength comes from my spiritual beliefs. I’m continuously building my stamina – essentially cultivating patience – by practicising meditation. As for flexibility, well I have to admit that I can be a tad rigid (read: stick in the mud). So I force myself to try new things every once in a while (eat a restaurant I’ve never been to, try kickboxing even though I don’t think I’ll like it) to stay pliant and kick up my ability to adjust to new and/or unforeseen circumstance.
All in all, I’ve found Jane’s advice is sound (in the gym and out of it) but it’s hard work. Now, if only there was a strength-stamina-flexibility pill I could take…..
Jane Fonda pic credit http://www.mindbodygreen.com