What brings you to the point to make a decision to quit the very place that offered, supported and displayed past achievements, a present job, the hope of a future career and a place where you could practice and teach “the right formula” that had given you some measure of personal success, security, comfort and control?
By all external accounts, I had found the formula that I could plug myself into and achieve results. I did it for 15 years. In fact, I had just achieved the best results of my life at 40. I had a six-pack. I was stronger than I had ever been (just ask the guys in my gym). Most importantly, fifteen years of doing the same formula proved that my formula worked. At least, that’s what it looked like on the outside but what I felt, thought and knew was a very different story
At this point in my life, I had been privy to a growing and humbling undoing. Over the last decade, I had been forced to look at myself, who I was, what I was doing and what were the results, It was during this time that I began to see that at the deepest level, I had given myself over to culture, consumerism, religion, family, friends, coaches, sports, men, industries, celebrities, an obscene number of people and even my own self to tell me who I was my entire life.
As a result of this truth coming to light, I had begun to be set free from man-made systems, rules, constructs, definitions and language that had reduced my heart, mind, spirit and body to nothing more than a result that measured a level of perceived obedience. In fact, prior to this physical confrontation, I had become painfully aware that everything I thought, felt, did and believed was put into the If/ Then formula. If I did xyz, Then I would get the desired result.
The If/Then formula was the formula for my body like it had been the formula for my spirit, heart, mind and relationships. Needless to say, it was my formula of living and I took it everywhere, it was my precious. It seemed to work for me because I had learned how to manipulate myself to fit into the formula anytime, anyplace and for anybody. From the outside at a very superficial level, it looked like the formula was achieving good results.
Unfortunately, I was not smart enough to realize that when you reduce yourself to fit into a formula to get results, then you should not be surprised when your formula works like a formula and you become a variable. By constantly manipulating myself to fit into a formula to get the desired results, (which was an effort to control my life, myself and other’s response to me), the equal and opposite reaction that occurred was that I participated in reducing myself to a non-person. In other words, I became just an object, a variable. Looking back, it was easy to see that throughout my whole life I had been reduced to how well I could just do it. (How well could I play a sport, get good grades, obey, be good, be pretty, be polite, be a wife, be a mom, be a christian, keep a clean house, work, get it done AND not feel, not think and not be human but JUST DO the formula.)
Whether or not you realize it, the formula is attractive because the formula promises control. We are told that if we do the formula, then we can avoid pain, mistakes, sadness, loneliness, weaknesses, guilt, shame and fear. But the formula fails to list this disclaimer, which is Newton’s third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
I don’t know how in the heck it happened but I do know that it happened and in one fell swoop, I got all the results that I had been accumulating from many years of formula living life. As a result I got the results and all the pain, sadness, loneliness, mistakes, guilt, shame, fear and weaknesses that I was ignoring, denying and pushing down ERUPTED. I don’t why I was surprised, I had help cause this result! Trust me it was not pretty because truth never is pretty but TRUTH IS BEAUTIFUL
Anyway, the ugly truth came crashing into my formula living life like a freaking tsunami and it smashed all my formulas and results to bits and I drowned, that is my false-self drowned. When the water finally receded, I saw that I had been living a lie because I had believed so many lies including:
1) Doing a formula is living.
2) That formulas can tell you who you are, how to feel, what to think and what to do.
3) That formulas can save you.
4) That formulas can get you love, joy, peace, patience, hope, goodness and build trust.
5) That you can reduce yourself to fit into a formula.
Because of the tsunami of results that I did not see coming, I was forced to be honest and I was set free from being just a body, from formula living, from being told I was a winner or loser based on my results and from being told to do better and try harder. Most importantly, I was freed to be human and to live how I was naturally designed-weak, sensitive, fragile, vulnerable, transparent, desperate and dependent on someone bigger than a formula to tell me who I was and I how I designed to be a giver and receiver of love and all the beautiful things that grow out of love.
Initially, I did not realize all that I had been set free from but in loving myself for who I was (without results), I began to discover my true-self, my true feelings, how to use my brain and how to live (take risk, make mistakes, look messy, admit mistakes, be honest about my weaknesses and not pretend I was in control). The equal and opposite reaction of living loved and free was that the guilt, pain, shame, fear, loneliness and sadness that I had used a formula to control had a place to go to be heard and be responded to with truth- not a formula.
Through this process, I have learned many things. I have learned that when we try to avoid pain, loneliness, shame, guilt and fear we also avoid the people and places we need to experience things like love, joy, hope and the fruits of love like peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Likewise, by living in a formula, we LOSE the very things that we need to live the way we are designed, and we will ultimately Lose ourselves when all of life is lived to WIN or to get a result.
It’s funny, how my gym formula was the last go. I had successfully manipulated and controlled my body for years to look a certain way but the equal and opposite reaction of being physically fit was that I was physically disconnected and divided- in other words… broken. Fifteen years in the gym on a daily basis had brought me to the point that I said out loud to myself, “If being in shape feels like this, then I don’t want to do it anymore.” Perhaps, it was this confession that created the space for me to see that the gym was still something that I thought I could use to remain in control of myself but it turned out that it was actually a system of rules that I had l given myself over to and it controlled me. Even worse, it had become a prison.
Thanks to some painful results, I was brought to a point where truth could not be denied. The formula had failed and I physically hurt so bad that I was forced to start asking questions. These questions led me deep within myself to discover why I was still killing myself in the gym. These questions brought me to a deeper truth that I was doing a formula to get value, acceptance, approval-aka love. This truth led me to another truth and to what I feel is one of the main truths of life, which is “No matter what you look like, act like or do, you cannot earn love.” Even though I knew who I was and had been set free spiritually and I knew God loved me for me, somewhere in me I still believed there was something I could do to earn another person’s love. I do think at the root of everything that we DO is either a reflection of being loved or is a means to to get love- even workouts, diets and programs.
Anyway, truth always leads to more truth and the truth of what I was doing and why I was doing it led to the ultimate truth-YOU DON’T EARN LOVE. YOU CANNOT GET LOVE. LOVE IS A GIFT. IT CANNOT BE EARNED. IT CAN ONLY BE GIVEN AND RECEIVED.
YEP- that truth hit me when I was at the gym and I literally walked out and walked into more freedom to ask some more questions about exercise, food, design and whole person health. VIVE Alchemy is the truth of what I learned after I realized I was loved for exactly who I was and not for what I do or look like. This truth led to more questions that led to more learning about human design and to the truths of how we are designed to nourish ourselves with gifts like food and exercise and not use them as a means to an end to get a result. The results of me Giving up being a result is right before you. It is called VIVE Alchemy.
So, today I invite you to GIVE UP living for results, GIVE UP reducing yourself to fit into a formula, GIVE UP being told you are a winner or a loser based on your performance, GIVE UP winning and losing, because winning requires LOSING parts of yourself that cannot fit into a formula. I have “won” trophies and have had good results but nothing compares to the results I have received when I GAVE UP doing a formula and started living.
VIVE Alchemy is an invitation and a place where you can GIVE UP and discover that you can actually have the best results when you quit trying to get results and you live to nourish your heart, mind, body and spirit with the things they are designed to Be Whole just because you love yourself a whole bunch.