The Climb. It’s a Sport. Health & Mind.

Metaphorically speaking, of course.  Actually, I do exhibit the physical signs of having done a great climb, but not from climbing.  Still recovering from a few weeks ago when the house was being repaired and, on top of it, getting a swollen right eye and ear at the Radisson Inn where I was hiding out. Result?  For the last 3 weeks, especially the last 2, I’ve been fatigued to the point of getting winded just speaking or putting on a jacket.  So in that sense, it’s like I’m expending energy like a climber.

Also, 2 days after the hotel incident (on which day mom had a separate, but even more worrisome ER food poisoning scare), I took another health hit taking my sister and mom to the beach for my sister’s Birthday. Then, the weather followed up with a heat wave that delivered the decisive blow.  It really was like my health had fell a lot and have been too exhausted to start making the long climb back up.

I’ll be honest.  Last Sunday when I wrote this post, I was feeling very distraught and in a dark place, and I suppose you can tell by the tone and the way I wrote it.  My attitude was not right, and watching Elder Bednar’s CES talk, which link I included, turned my mindset around 180 degrees.  I felt a million times better, though my physical conditions (my body as well as the environment) didn’t change.  The weather did change this past week, cooling down a ton and I immediately experienced a proportional improvement.  Though energy levels are basically non-existent and verbally saying “hello” is a a huge feat, I’ve gone from needing to sleep 18 hrs/day during the heat wave to sleeping just 6 hrs/day this week.

So why is this metaphorical climb a sport?

1.  Repetition.  My health is constantly up and down ever since my whole life.  You’d think I’d be used to it by now, and most of the time yes, I just live it without giving it much thought. However, there’s also times like last Sunday when I just got mentally tired of the cycle: recover over weeks and months, lose it in a few days.  Rinse. Repeat.

2.  Why did I get mentally tired though?  My mindset.  Even if most of the time I don’t think about it, I’m not always welcoming every day with positive energy.  In other words, it’s not a game I hate, but I’d rather not be playing it.  That, I suppose, is still negative energy that wears down on a mind and soul.  If it’s not positive, it’s negative.  When a top athlete loses their love for whichever sport they’re best at, their performance falters, their demeanors change.  Especially because it’s repetitious.  It can seem monotonous doing the same thing over and over without some driving force.

3.  Taking recovery as a sport means I’m looking for ways I can challenge and improve myself through each repetition.  And really, no two illnesses and recoveries are the same.  I can just hold on and try to make it through, which by itself I’d grow a lot (and have).  However, having a ferver for it, attention to detail and how things happen, is often what separates a bench player from a starter.  The difference from being along for the ride vs. taking control.  There are still tons in the environment, what other people do, that’s random and out of our control.  But I’d rather be an active force than along for the ride.

4.  So it’s the mindset.  We may only have partial control of our bodies and surroundings, and often it doesn’t even feel like we have any control.  But we have 100% control over our thoughts, feelings, choices, and actions.  Sometimes when people ask me how I’m doing, I’ll say “good” even if I don’t “feel” good.  My error with that is I was referring to how I was “feeling” physically.  And I rarely feel good physically.  But regardless, I’ve felt excitement and happiness even when I’m not physically well.  That’s what’s important to refer to about how I’m feeling.  That mental health I can control much better than what happens with my health.  So really, I can be feeling great and excellent all the time regardless of how the weather is or how my health is.

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