*I started writing this post weeks ago. Then I sat on it. I don’t know why. Resistance is a nasty little bugger. But this message helped me in my life, maybe it will help someone else, and it’s not my place to hold that back.
Seven or so years ago, I had a pretty rough moment on this journey of mine. A relatively rough falling out began taking place between myself and a very dear friend of mine. More like a father figure, if we’re being honest. As the story always seems to go, difference in opinion created a wedge between the two of us, and by the time either of us really realized it, it was too late. Now at the time I was in my early twenties. Wasn’t making much money, had dropped out of school, and quit previous jobs to run the gym full time. Add those facts to growing up in a single family household, with no father, and the situation hit me pretty hard.
During the day, things weren’t so bad. I kept busy at the gym doing what I love, I had an amazing girlfriend (now my wife), and a ton of friends. At night is when it hit me the hardest. As I’d lay there, I’d begin to analyze how things got so fucked up, what did I do wrong. I’d go back and forth between, “man I must have messed up” to “nah it’s definitely his fault, how fucking dare he!” From there I’d start thinking of the future. What if the gym tanks. What if Kim and I don’t last. Then I’d dive down the rabbit hole of what is the meaning of life, and holy fuck I’m going to die one day. Seriously. The thoughts would just keep coming. I’d eventually fall asleep after a few hours of laying their freaking out, wake up a few hours later, be fine, go about my day, and then at night, do it all again.
One day, I was talking with my grandmother (take a second and picture a 4’10” adorable old Italian lady). Every conversation, no matter what, she will bring up two things: 1) Are you eating enough? 2) Did you find a church yet? You see, I grew up in a christian family. I attended church almost every Sunday and Wednesday for the first 18 years of my life. So naturally, when I moved away, my grandmother wanted to make sure I ate well, and I found a church. That conversation on that day reminded me that I used to pray every night growing up.
Now, I don’t know what a “model christian” is considered these days, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be the first example people would use. However, I know that in the grand scheme of the world, I don’t mean shit, and I believe there’s some type of “higher power” at hand. Whether you think that’s some form of a God, mother earth, or some weird ass alien, I don’t care. For me, prayer made sense. It was something I could relate to. I figured, it’s got to be better than laying in bed imagining ways my life will fall apart.
So I started that night with the simple prayer that I remember my grandmother saying with us as kids. Thanking the Lord for family friends etc. Asking God to help me sleep and knock these damn thoughts out of my head. It worked… a little. So, I kept doing it. Every night before bed, I prayed. I continued doing this for years. Every night, my head would hit the pillow, and I’d pray. Over the years, I got more focused on it and I started noticing the conversation evolved, especially as my life changed, but it always follows the same structure.
- Thank God for everything in my life, both good and bad. For all the great things I have experienced, and even more for the pain I’ve had in my life. Those moments created the person I am today, and I wouldn’t dare change them.
- Ask God for forgiveness for all the dumb shit I did that day and for help fixing them in the future. I’m not perfect, and I never will be. But I respect that you have to recognize your short comings to fix them.
- Ask for help to do the best I can for others and actually make a positive impact on the world.
- Pray for family and friends, their protection, well being, success, etc..
- Forgiving the people that have shown anger or slighted me, asking what part I played in causing that angst towards me, and wishing them success and peace in their lives.
- Thanking God for allowing me the day he did because I know it could very well be my last.
Each and every night I did this. Now I don’t write this article to bible beat or tell you to do what I do. Actually, I think the most important part is simply to take that time each day and actually be thankful for the things you have, admit your faults and ask forgiveness, remind yourself that it’s not always about you and helping others is usually the fast track to personal happiness (plus it makes you less of an @$$), think positive thoughts on family and friends, show love to your “enemies” instead of drowning yourself in anger, and come face to face with mortality.
These thoughts helped me in a very hard time, and they are a huge reason I live such a blessed and happy life. They keep me grounded.
So whether it’s prayer, meditation, or just some internal dialogue, I encourage you to take a look at these little areas of your life. If you’re facing a struggle or hardship, maybe this will help to guide you through it.
Or maybe, you lost credibility in the self defense and fitness instructor, because this is “too deep” for you. Your call.
Train hard, stay safe, one love
*photo credit to Butch from Next Level Training/SIRT