- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Back From Vacation
I have returned from my trip to Alabama. I had a wonderful time, and now have new friends. I met the nicest group of people that I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Having never been to Alabama before, I didn't know what to expect, but I was greeted with hospitality and warmth.
I came away with the impression that Southern People are gracious and respectful. Manners and values seemed high on their list of priorities. It was very refreshing and charming to have had this experience.
Unfortunately, traveling there was not so charming. Flying has become a grueling experience. Just a few decades ago, flying was fun and exciting to do. Now it is like herding cattle into feed lots. People are not always treated with respect by the airlines, and the security people treat everyone as if they are a terrorist.
I understand the reasons why, but I also believe that some of the people employed by these security companies abuse their position of power by being rude and disrespectful to the public. I had several experiences of rudeness and disrespect that were completely unwarranted.
On my flight back, I was forced to sit next to a passenger that was too big for his seat, and consequently spilled over into mine for nearly five hours. I was annoyed and found myself wanting to say something to this man about his unhealthy, overweight, situation.
Through all of the negative experiences with the travel part of my trip I always had the choice to feel one way or the other. I could choose to be agitated, frustrated, and angry, because certainly I was justified. Or I could choose to find compassion, patience, and kindness, so that I could feel better about this experience.
It wasn't easy to choose the latter. I had to keep focused on those positive emotions. I had to keep bringing myself back to them to keep myself from falling right back into the feelings that would have made me feel bad. It was an exercise for me in all that I teach you.
Notice I said exercise. It is an exercise in choosing your thoughts and emotions. I am always working on being more compassionate, kind, and patient. Some days I am better with it than other days, but I am always trying. Being aware of it is the biggest step, then it becomes easier and more normal the more you practice choosing how you want to react and feel about situations.
I felt that I had succeeded in controlling my thoughts and emotions by not reacting to my negative feelings by being rude and impatient.
I never said anything to the man sitting next to me. I chose to be compassionate about him instead. I did not take it personally when people treated me rudely. I chose to feel neutral about it.
I made it back safe and sound and was grateful for my experience in Birmingham. I look forward to returning and seeing all of my new friends. It was a terrific time and my friends wedding was lovely. I am glad that I was able to share her special day with her and her family and friends.
So when you find yourself in a situation that is challenging, remember that it is always a choice in how you react. Ask yourself, "What thoughts and behavior will benefit me the most?", then choose!