I have been an avid gym junkie for almost 22 years (with a few detours along the way) and I am proud to say I have been 80% on track for the duration of this journey. During that time I have trained as a martial artist, aerobic instructor, Olympic Weightlifter, bodybuilder, power lifter, speed and agility coach. I studied Chi Gong, Touch for Health, became a chartered herbalist, trained as a bio-kinesologist, and learned how to do acupressure. I was certified through three different personal training organizations, studied further and became a medical exercise specialist and Medical Exercise Program Director for 14 years, owning my own facility, and had some of my ideas studied and published at a local university. I have read over 600 books on personal development, psychology and neural plasticity, studied NLP for five years and have and created three breakthrough programs and technologies “Factor 3 Fitness”, “Cog/Kinetics” and the “ I AM Project”.
I wrote for a local paper as a fitness columnist for eight years and have written over 80 articles in my blog on the topics of philosophy, spirituality and fitness. I recent years I have competed and taken home 5 trophies in natural bodybuilding in three years and at the age of 50 I had never felt better. So why the long-winded bio you may ask? As you can gather, I am guy who likes to know how things work, am vastly curious about the world around me and everything in it.
The original driver was a sense of worthlessness as I stood on the edge of my life at the age of 28 realizing I had not accomplished anything, no money in the bank, no health, no education and no perceivable future on the horizon. It was the loneliest and most terrifying moments in my life, the sudden awareness that I had not really contributed to the world around me in anyway shape or form, and that if I disappeared off the planet my absence would not have been noticed, because my life up to that point didn’t make a difference. It was a mad dash to be someone, to have a career, to have health, to have financial stability, and the drive to be significant pushed me hard. I loved the newfound drive for knowledge, and took every opportunity to learn then quickly share what I had learned. My fitness level increased dramatically and I soon found myself getting stronger, bigger and faster, and I was hooked. There was a downside to all of these new successes and achievements however, and it was the sense that it wasn’t or couldn’t ever be enough. I couldn’t be smart enough, I couldn’t be big enough, fit enough and I couldn’t have enough money. It took me many, many years to realize that what I was after was a feeling, a feeling of being enough, a feeling of acceptance, and a feeling that who I was and what I did mattered. The truth of the matter is that we can do many great things that help many people, but do it for the wrong reasons.
We can achieve great wealth, but still be miserable. We can develop a genius level intelligence, but still not feel smart enough. The illuminating moment in my life can in two stages, the first one as a trainer and realizing that the most important thing we can do in training is to first develop in our clients a heighten sense of body awareness, then from that place develop their core powerfully so that everything we throw at them in the form of exercise will be centered to their core at all times. This process takes time and persistence but at the end of the day we get a client who is strong but flexible, centered and agile, and who can endure more stress than the average person without getting hurt because they have such a strong core. The second realization was, with the help of an amazing coach, Beth Hanishewski, that our mental, emotional and spiritual paths were governed by the same rules.
We look at the vastness of the universe and wonder at the complexity of it all, but underneath it is a beautiful simple truth that underpins it all. From the atom, to the molecule, to the inorganic element and organic tissue, all of it works and revolves on an axis, a fixed point in space and time that allows it to move easily and gracefully in its dance of life, synergistically in tune with all other living things. So too is the need to have or develop a spiritual core, a place where we can come from that is guided by our true essence, our true longing and purpose for our time here on this planet. Without a spiritual core we are cast around our life like a leaf in the wind, aimlessly driven by circumstances and happenstance, always the victim and never the hero of our own story. Like the physical core, our spiritual center must be consciously connected to our daily task.
The herculean effort I had put in “trying” to be somebody of worth, somebody of value wasn’t necessarily wasted, but I could of “decided” right where I stood and had been a man of value, been a man of worth, simply by saying “yes” to my higher self, and the journey over these past twenty some years may have been a bit more eloquent and a lot less stressful. Isn’t that why we are called a human “being” rather than a human “doing”? So decide today, and every day, who you will be, what will be your spiritual center as you move through your day, and you may find that the universe that you once found dark and foreboding will begin to open up to you and show you her secrets, as now you both dance the same dance.
C. David Gilks Your Fellow Traveler
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