On the vision.
We live in an “insta-world” in many respects, from online meeting formats to apps for ordering coffee so we can shave a few seconds off our morning java run. Insta-life, however, was not always the case.
At one point in our not-too-distant history, communication was considered “fast” if piece of mail took a mere TEN DAYS to travel from sender to recipient.
Back in 1971, computer engineer Ray Tomlinson brought communication onto the electronic platform. (Fun fact: Tomlinson may be best remembered for being the guy who gave us the @ symbol in email addresses.) But with email, you still have to wait for the recipient to open your email, read it, and respond.
On December 3, 1992, the very first text message was sent, and we’ve been more or less staring at our phones ever since, pounding out messages with our thumbs and impatiently waiting for an instantaneous reply.
But despite our frenetic communication in this modern era, some things (arguably, perhaps, all beautiful things) simply cannot be rushed.
Sculpting beautiful art out of iron or rock takes time. The artist has to have the right tools, sufficient experience, and top quality materials in order to create something beautiful and enduring.
But first – even with vast experience, and all the requisite tools and materials at their disposal – first of all, the artist must have a clear vision. One cannot create what one cannot envision. And that vision, clear and in great detail, must exist first.
We train our horses starting where they actually are but, at the same time, we see in our mind’s eye where they could be – how they will develop mentally and physically to become the performance partner we so desire. Correct training, like great artwork, takes a dedicated investment of time and effort and skill and patience.
Fitness, my friends, works the very same way. I began this weight-loss journey out of fear and misery. I was afraid I would never be in good enough shape to ride my young mustang. I was miserable with my weight and flabbiness. My actual self did not align at all with the real me that I know still lives underneath all the extra pounds.
Who I am is an active, vibrant, vivacious woman with a good bit of riding skill that’s been hampered by a lack of confidence as the pounds crept on over the past two decades. That is my vision, and, at some level – just like a sculpture that has yet to emerge from the raw materials that comprise it – that is my reality.
Who I appear to be is a still-overweight-but-less-obese-than-she-has-been athlete in training. Artwork in process. Fitness in progress.
My lack of any recent progress in the weigh-loss department has been due to the fact that my vision was not yet complete. Initially, as I began this journey, I saw myself getting “back down” to a reasonable weight. Once I hit the “twenty pounds gone” mark, my entire psyche took a break as my internal self-talk changed from, “You are hopelessly obese!” to “You weigh less now than you did ten years ago – yay, you!”
Progress is good. Positive self-talk is good. But my progress slowed because my vision was incomplete. It has been so many years since I was “thin” I’ve almost forgotten what that looks like. Reviewing photographs of my younger, “thin” self is almost like looking at a stranger. “That was me?” I ask myself, incredulous that I once loathed myself for being a mere five pounds overweight.
I know now that, five pounds or fifty pounds, the weight was never the problem. It was – and is – the self-loathing that must be healed.
I am having to learn to reimagine my own potential. My potential to actually lose sixty pounds, get fit, and be the slim, petite, 5’2” rider that is fighting to emerge, just like a sculpture, from the raw materials of my life’s history.
That vision is not some irrational desire to “be young again” or be some recycled version of my younger self. My vision is to become my best self at this point in my life.
I envision a wise Esther regarding consistent food choices. I envision a strong Esther regarding self-care and fitness. I envision a carefree Esther regarding riding my beautiful mustang.
I am developing and focusing on that vision. I am starting to see that Esther taking shape in my mind’s eye, and she is a magnificent work of art, indeed – fit, fun, confident, and caring. Once my vision is clear, the “sculpting” is merely a matter of removing anything that doesn’t belong to the underlying work of art – carefully chipping away, bit by bit, all the negative self-talk, the past hurts, mistakes, and other “negatives” that try to weigh me down by telling me I am unworthy or incapable of achieving my ultimate dream of being my best self – until the final, beautiful me emerges.
What is your vision? Can you see it clearly? Can you refocus on it consistently every day so you are inspired to make wise choices for today regarding food, fitness, and self-care? I encourage you to invest the time to find your vision with laser-sharp focus and detail.
Our vision is our destination. Once our destination is defined, the journey becomes possible. One step at a time.