Two monks were walking down a forest pathway running parallel to a flowing river. One of the monks was young and, in fact, had just taken his vows for the first time. The other monk was much older and had just renewed his vows for too many years to remember. One particular vow they had taken specified not to speak to or interact with a women in any manner for the next three days.
A few hours of complete silence and a loud shrieking sound could be heard coming from just up ahead. Without hesitation both monks rushed off in the direction of the commotion. They came upon a young mother attempting to wade across a narrow section of the river. It became quickly apparent she had become bogged down in the soft silt and was having difficulty freeing herself with her child in her arms.
Instantly, the older monk waded out to the distressed mother and lifted her and the child into his arms, swiftly carrying them both to the other side. After gently setting them down, the young woman grabbed the monk’s hand, put her head to it and then her lips, and with tearful eyes kissed the monk’s hand. She then looked up into his soft eyes and expressed her thanks as he responded in kind, “You’re welcome.”
The monk then waded back across the river and without word the two monks continued on their stroll. After several hours of silence the young monk spoke with trepidation in his voice, “Sifu, may I ask you a question?” “Yes, what is on your mind?” “We have both just taken our sacred vows of which speaking to or interacting with a woman is forbidden. How could you break them so easily?” The older monk looked deeply into the younger monk’s eager and curious eyes and responded, “When I set the woman down on the bank of the river, I left her there. You obviously have not.”
The path of progress in any area of life — not just fitness — is not easily traversed if we are consistently looking behind us for the answers. Knowing what we want to achieve helps us establish a starting point but there are many more factors to consider.
1) What is my primary goal?
2) How much reasonable time should be allowed?
3) Have I set intermediary achievements marking my progress?
4) Do I possess the knowledge to get the results I want unassisted?
5) Am I willing to do what it takes to realize this and see it through?
Try and picture your path to progress just as that, a path, not a peak. I like to think of life as I do the large moving escalators in the airports. When I was young I imagined I wasn’t much different from most youth when it came to attempting to run against the escalators in our local shopping mall. Of course, most of us were able to conclude that feat pretty quickly because the distance required to do so was short.
The escalator of life, however, isn’t a short one and it travels against us at a steady pace. During troubled times, that pace seems to increase in speed causing us to work harder just to keep up with it. Other times the pace seems to slow, affording us the opportunity to gain momentum.
If we can set our goals to match a pace that is slightly quicker than the pace of life moving against us, we can make consistent movement forward. When we push too hard too fast we get tired and need to rest. We may think we are standing still and that is when life reminds us it is still moving whether we choose to or not. We within the health, fitness, and wellness community of Idyllwild look forward to assisting you on the path to your progress.
We are very interested in your thoughts and questions. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.