A gift to your future self – 7 habits

    So I’ve recently been reading the 7 Habits by the wonderful Dr. Covey. One of the things he suggests in the book is that you read the book with an eye towards teaching the concepts to others.

So I thought one way to make that really hit home for me is to write a few blog posts about my reflections on the concepts he presents in relation to finding balance in both body and mind. 

    One of the concepts he introduces early on is the idea of finding a balance between P, which stands for production and PC, which stand for production capability. It’s kind of like making coffee:  Coffee is the product, while the Coffee Maker is the production capacity. The goal is to find a balance between these two, so that we produce the best product, while keeping our capacity at a sustainable level. 

    Often when we exercise we have a hard time striking the balance between the two, because they are both very intimate to us.

When we seek balance through fitness, our bodies are both the P and the PC in this equation. We use our body, to improve our body. Of course there is something very poetic about that as well.

In one way, it’s very easy to maintain this balance, because the more effort we put into our body, the P, the more we build our fitness, the PC, which lets us put more effort into P. 

The problem comes when we separate ourselves from our bodies. When we make our bodies the problem. 

No matter what your fitness level, your body is a product of 2 things:
1.Your karmic patterns.
2. Your mind. 

    Let’s take a quick look at the first.

Your body is a very clear example of karma. Karma can be very complicated, but fundamentally it’s just cause and effect. You body is the result of a combination of causes.

Things like heart disease are caused by family history (genetic cause), how active you were growing up (past cause), and what your diet is life (nutrition cause). This isn’t supposed to make you critical of your actions.

Instead thinking this way encourages us to notice,  ‘oh my body is a combination of factors some of which I can control, some of which I can’t. This also means that your future body will be a result of current causes and conditions.

I’m never going to be 6ft tall no matter how fit I get, but depending on what I do today I can change how fit I am in the future. What I do today is a gift to my future self. What gift do I want to give? 

    The second factor is your mind. Not only is our body image largely determined by our mind, but also our actual body represents the way in which our mind turns.

Karma starts with a single thought, which then turns into repeated thoughts or actions or both. Those thoughts and actions turn into patterns, but it is all dependent on that original thought.

When we bring more awareness to our minds we make it possible to see our thoughts and step in between them and the things that come afterwards. 

    Awareness it the key to transforming our way of thinking. By acknowledging that our current body is the result of past factors and past states of mind, it becomes clear how important it is to have a compassionate attitude and approach to our fitness journey.

If we make our body the enemy to achieve fitness, we are focusing on the P but not the PC. We are focusing on the effects, but not the causes of our future self.

Fitness must start with a gratitude for the body we have now. Your body is the vehicle that will take you where you want to go. If you treat it with honor and respect you will be giving your future self a body that has been honored and respected.

If you treat it with disdain and criticism, you give your future self a body that has been criticized. Which body do you want to give yourself? 

    Take sometime at the end of the day or before you workout to reflect on all the good things your body has done for you. Reflect on how it’s carried you along, digested your food, helped you do work, and all the other things you can do because you have a body.

Then take some time to think about and write down the gifts you want to give your future self. More ease, more confidence, a half marathon finish, appreciation, whatever it is remember that your future self is relying on this very body, this very mind, to help it manifest.

Your body and your mind are your companions, your teammates on the path to a balanced life. 


The Practice of Reflection: 33 one sentence journals.

I’ve taken up the practice of writing a twice a day 1 sentence journal. I learned this from the lovely Zen Habits Blog which I would highly recommend to others. It’s a great way to start the practice of reflection. Reflecting on all these sentences I realized a couple of things.

1. That life is filled with a mix of somewhat profound discovery and mundane beauty, and that this mix is what makes life both bearable and satisfying.

  1. Life seeks to teach us lessons by repetition and reflection helps us remember what we are trying to learn or unlearn as the case may be.

Try writing a one sentence journal this week. Do it at the same time everyday. Don’t worry if what you write isn’t profound. It’s not about being poetic but just being really honest with where your at. Confession even to yourself is a very powerful act.

Thanks for reading and be well.

Gentoku dharmatrainer.com

Here are first 33 journals:

The work of purifying the heart isn’t all fuzzy warm hugs, sometimes it’s acknowledging and drawing out the barbs from your own heart.

The next time a cute girl sits down next to me on the bus, I’m going to say hello.

When I see pictures of us I realize I wish I had appreciated more how much you loved me and I wonder if anyone will ever love me like that again.

A true friend tells you the truth in a way that even when it hurts nourishes you.

Filling out a job history is like taking a trip down memory lane, with my brain going you really did alot of cool random things dude.

The night before the big race, tension, fear, excitement, and the intention to share the merit of my effort to serve wisdom and compassion.

I didn’t cry when I finished my triathlon, but when my sister said I was her hero for doing it … tears.

There’s a kind of sweet tired feeling that overtakes the body; this satisfaction of being thoroughly used by life.

A day after my first tri a question arises, “What shall I do next another Olympic or a sprint?”

Cool soft milk poured into a bowl of sugar filled crunchy cereal, makes me feel just like a kid again.

To engage another in the exchange of honest reflection, helps me to grow and is always worth the risks.

Being in a choir again reminds me of the simple joy of first learning to sing.

Sometimes the best plan is to have no agenda, but to be present and available for whatever might arise.

It’s good to remember that looking for work puts people in a very vulnerable and tender place, where defensiveness and justification are their armor.

Everytime I question whether I should exercise or meditate, I should remember that both give me a calm and space that soothes my heart.

It’s satisfying to see myself making progress on letting things go to move onto what is next and it’s effect on my punctuality.

There are few things as satisfying as being to be there for my friends, especially the ones that are always there for me.

There is something about some fundraising campaigns that really makes me question the integrity of their techniques.

Two days two job offers apparently I’m very professionally appealing. Who knew?

I now have my own website, YAY!

Bringing my teacher coffee is the simplest way I can express a gratitude and appreciation for the intimacy of his teaching.

Good conversation is its own reward.

It’s very satisfying to be excited about promoting something I care about that I also want to do for a living.

I enjoy helping friends push their boundaries, but I am dedicated to focusing on empathy before information.

First day at the new job, excitement, boredom, stress, satisfaction, it feels good to be working.

Working often makes a long day.

It’s hard to go to go to sleep when you feel lonely.

Working outside even when tiring is very pleasant.

To listen deeply even if you don’t agree is so powerful and nearly always opens my heart.

Sometimes it’s very hard to know who exactly is your friend.

Lateness cascades into lateness cascades into a pressure in my head, therefor timeliness very often leads to more peace.

I love riding my bike through the city at night, because there is something so alive about it.

The new little camaraderies that develop at any job are a sweet ripe fruit that delight the mind and heart.

It’s good to feel engaged and involved in an area I feel confident and competent and know I can be relied upon.

I notice I often have a tendency to ask others more questions than I answer and perhaps this is because I’m reluctant to reveal how vulnerable I can really be.