Work Outs Work Out

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A little more than 2 weeks ago, I was working out every day. I had more energy, I was more positive, I slept better – then in-laws and a bout of the flu stopped me dead in my tracks. Then I ran out of my meds. So for two weeks, I was sick mentally and physically. Now, I’m back on track.

And It Hurts

I am literally so sore. My legs always get sore, but my upper body has decided to get sore this time, too. See, I added strength training. I am a fat, weak person. I like cardio and it helps a lot, but it really doesn’t help me build a lot of muscle. That’s why I added strength training to the regimen. Because someday, I really do want to carry my wife across the threshold. (You gotta have big dreams, people.)

But it huuuuuurts. And my inner, weak-willed, lazy self is whining about it. Lots and lots of whining. Going up and down the stairs has elicited whimpers of protest. My cooldown (unfinished because of bratty cats clawing computers) was a pitiful ritual.

And I Just Want To Work Out More

Literally, I’m thinking I might just do a calm strength workout and then do my cooldown. It just sounds really relaxing to me right now. And it definitely sounds a lot better than sitting down binge-watching The Simpsons until I’m finally sleepy.

But that got me thinking: what other kids of workouts am I missing out on? And I’m not talking about physical workouts (though I would love to have a good yoga workout). I’m talking about mental and spiritual and social workouts. The important stuff. The stuff that makes you a well-rounded person.

Well-Rounded (But In Shape)

I’m a round person, roughly the equivalent of a pear with legs. And I have been known to say that I am in shape because round is a shape. But round can be a state of mind, too. Most of the time, I have to admit that I’m not in a round state of mind. Without some basic things to help, I am nothing more than a flabby brain and soul. Things like meds and exercise and sleep are all necessary to keeping me human.

But there is one thing that I have been lacking, like a vitamin you just don’t get much of: spiritual exercise. Last time I discussed spiritual matters, I was disavowing religion and expressed an interest in Buddhism. I’ve done some research since then and I found a few Buddhist centers, but they all charge a lot of money to take classes and learn in person. I can’t afford that. Honestly, it made the ‘optional’ tithing of Catholic churches sound a lot better.

Then I had a conversation at the library today. A couple of gentlemen and myself started talking (housing prices, moving back to Brisbane, American politics, the relative stupidity of both Americans and Aussies) and somehow Buddhism came out, appropriately because I had just checked out a book on meditation.

One man, a world traveler, said he had been to Thailand this year where they were all Buddhists. He noted that they treated their animals like crap, very cruelly from what he said. His conclusion was they could be as Buddhist as they wanted, but in the end it was like all religions. Religion, from what he said, was simply ineffective at making people better, no matter what it said it wanted to achieve in their lives.

Hypocrisy

When I got back to blogging, I told y’all that I felt a little hypocritical for disavowing the religion I knew and going on to discover Buddhism. At the time I felt like I was just trading one religion for another. But the conversation in the library today has changed my perspective. My hypocrisy is not simply the change of religions. It’s that I somehow thought that changing religion would be enough to make me a better, happier person.

Buddhism is not a cure-all for what ails me. You can be a buddhist and still be a terrible person. Not all buddhists are the Dalai Lama. I could go full-on buddhist and still suck at life.

Physical workouts, mental exercises, and spiritual stretches – that’s a way to be a well-rounded person. But none of it will work if you don’t workout right. In fact, you could be doing more harm than good. So sure, I’m going to study up on Buddhism. But I can’t expect it to just fix everything. That would be like buying a set of weights and expecting to wake up the next morning looking like a bodybuilder.

It’s still gonna suck. And I’ll probably whine a lot through the process. But it’ll be worth it. Because round is a shape I want to be in.

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