By Matthew Piling
A few years ago, my wife and I decided to go to Hawaii to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. It was to be our first real trip as a couple since having kids. Sure, we had been on short jaunts, but nothing that involved getting on a plane and leaving the kids with others for a significant period of time. Needless to say, we were both excited.
In preparation for copious amounts of beach time, we both decided to trim up and get in better shape. I was in my early forties and it showed. While I had plenty of excuses for how I had gotten so out of shape, I no longer wanted to be in harmony with my dad-bod physique. I had successfully lost weight before, but it had always been drudgery. Somehow, this time felt different. I wasn’t just trying to lose weight because I had to or because it was the right thing to do. I was preparing myself for a trip that excited me. And that excitement fueled me. I successfully lost 50 pounds in a 6 month period, trimmed up, and looked and felt better than I ever had in my adult life. I loved my new way of being. Healthier habits were in place and I knew that I would look and feel even better for our 30th anniversary than I now did for our 20th because of the path I had set myself on.
We had a wonderful trip and created lots of memories. Then we came home and things came crashing down around me. While we were gone, something had gone wrong in my department at work. Whether it was my fault or not, I was pulled aside and told that my job depended on me coming up with quick resolution to the problem. The pressure immediately mounted. Band-aid solutions were implemented to stop the bleeding, but the underlying issue would take months to actually fix. Long days at the office became my new way of life. Before I even realized it, my new healthy habits were all put on hold. I told myself that this would be temporary, that I would do what I needed to in order to maintain the health gains that I had made over the past several months, and that I would get back on path as quickly as possible. But, the growing stress and lack of continued habit took their toll. In a matter of fewer months than it had taken to lose 50 pounds, I had gained every pound back. Lingering hope told me that, because I had lost weight and trimmed up so effectively, I would easily do it again as soon as my schedule allowed.
I don’t know if the problem at work was ever really solved or not. They let me go before we got to that point. All of the sudden, I had all of the time in the world to get back in shape. But, I didn’t.
Looking back at this situation, it is easy to believe that it was the discontinuation of healthy habits that caused my regression. I mean, if I’m not doing anything to ‘transmute’ my body into something healthier, entropy dictates that it will become less healthy, right? Looking back over a much larger swath of my life, however, has helped me determine that lack of exercise isn’t the culprit. Lack of focus is. It isn’t crunches, push ups, or laps around the track that ‘transmute’ our body into what we want. It is our vision of what we want to become (clearly seeing our rabbit), properly applied according to patterns of Rare Faith, that transmutes us. There are plenty of periods in my life where I have followed exercise and diet regimens but haven’t achieved meaningful results. But, when I was excited about how it was going to feel to be on the beach in Hawaii, looking the way that I planned to look, the results came much more easily. Of course the crunches, push ups, and laps around the track are a crucial part in becoming and staying healthy. But, without the proper focus, they are just meaningless motions.
Vision, properly held, will always trump habits properly executed. Thoughts are things. When we send the right thoughts out into the universe, their vibration attracts the needed elements and conditions to complete our goals. But, that is not enough. Transmutation—the idea that something is either coming into form or falling out of it—requires some sort of ‘form’ to happen. Vision creates the form—the spiritual container or shell in which the physical reality will be assembled. Without vision, the people perish, even if actions are being taken, not because those actions don’t attract elements of success, but because, without vision, there is no form or container in which to put those elements.
Leslie often references the idea of an acorn receiving all that it needs for its growth into an oak tree without having to go out and gather anything on its own. But, some acorns don’t grow, even when provided every needed thing. Apparently, some acorns just want to be acorns. It is only the acorn that sees that its true identity is that of an oak tree, and not just an acorn, that will properly capitalize on all of the resources gathered to it. As we learn to focus on what we are meant to become and not just what we currently are, we will realize that everything that we need has already been prepared and provided and that our transmutation is inevitable, so long as that is where our focus lies.
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