Somehow, it happened. I graduated law school. Graduation weekend happened so quickly—a blur of the ceremony (which was beautiful), the afterparty, the goodbye-brunches with friends as they embarked on new journeys. And then figuring out what my new schedule would look like as I study for the California bar exam (which, as many people love to point out, is currently considered the most difficult bar exam in the country—thank you for the reminder, everybody! Ha ha).
Of course fitness is part of my daily routine! Doing cardio first thing in the morning is my favorite way to begin the day. With the bar exam in mind, I started saving money last summer to purchase a bar-prep treadmill (complete with nerdy little computer desk), which I am currently walking on as I write this blog. I have high anxiety, and it helps me to be in motion when I’m confronted with a task that I’m afraid to tackle. I am definitely afraid of the bar exam. But after my last competition, in March, I realized that if I am able to remain calm and avoid listening to the frantic, frightened voice inside me (I call it the ego or the pain-body)—if I’m able to feel peaceful and calm, I am capable of anything. I mean anything. And so are you, if you’re reading this. Let me tell you how…
I didn’t write a blog after my competition in March, but I must tell you that it was an incredible, transformative experience, both physically and mentally. I decided in the beginning of contest prep that, this time, I would be kind to myself, always. Example: If the thought of going to the gym made me cry (yes, I’ve been there), then I would not go. If I needed to sleep in and do cardio later than planned, then I would sleep. I decided I would be steadfast in this decision to be kind to myself, every day. It was really challenging for me, and I’m sure many competitors can relate—it’s easy to fall into patterns of being so mean and judgmental toward yourself during competition prep. But I took a leap of faith and just trusted that this new way of treating myself was the right thing to do…
And it worked!
I took fifth place at my figure competition in March 2014. This qualifies me to compete at the national level and seek IFBB professional status (i.e. my “pro card”). It was an amazing experience, and the fact that my sister and brother and friends were there to celebrate was absolutely the best part.
(The picture of me with my sister, below, is actually my favorite photo from the entire event because she has always been a huge supporter of my competitions and helps me in more ways than I can describe. I love you Googlefritz!)
I always have the goal of earning my pro card in the back of my mind. It will never go away. But as I prepare to take the bar exam and begin my next chapter, now is not the right time to focus on competing. My body and mind were exhausted after competition prep. I needed a break. Additionally, I have never wanted my life to revolve around competing or fitness—I do not believe that it’s wise to invest your entire existence in a sport where your physical form—your body—counts for everything. This is because—surprise!—we’re all going to die (I mean this in the most positive way, ha ha), we’re all aging, our physical forms will disintegrate and there is no stopping that. I want to contribute to the world in ways beyond fitness, especially because being in good physical shape is, in my opinion, actually a reflection of what’s going on inside you. If you are kind and loving toward yourself, your physical form will reflect that. I can see it in my eyes in photos… when I feel peaceful and have been treating myself with love, my eyes are filled with light. For a couple of years, that light was absent, as I beat myself up constantly inside the gym and in my head with self-critical commentary.
I have big dreams for my life, and for the world, and if I am ever going to achieve them, I know I must stick to the same rule I followed during contest prep—kindness, always. I call it “a mighty kindness” from the poem “Zero Circle” by Rumi. A mighty kindness recognizes that every living thing on earth is connected, and that by being kind toward myself, it’s like dropping a rock in a pool of water… the ripples of love extend toward others and they feel it. I want to be a flame of kindness that can light the candles of others. That’s all I want to do during this lifetime.
Last thought—can we just talk about how much energy women (and some men) spend complaining about and criticizing their bodies? Think about the fact that that energy could be directed somewhere else—like reducing poverty, increasing equality, reducing suffering of all kinds… as I discussed above, you only get a finite amount of time in your body, on this planet. Do you really want to spend it staring sadly in the mirror at your cellulite? I am, of course, totally guilty of wasting so much time being self-critical and judgmental, but I’m working on it, I promise. I hope you are too. It helped me when I saw the photo below of a model for the Lululemon swimsuit line… “She looks like me,” I thought to myself, and I almost cried. Maybe the world is coming around, slowly but surely, to embrace a female figure that radiates health and strength.
I hope everybody reading this conducts an act of love toward yourself today. That could be eating breakfast when you usually just skip it, or going for a walk outside, or choosing the apple with peanut butter instead of the Doritos. Once you take one step in the direction of kindness, you can take another step, and another step, and your life could change in ways you never imagined. I’m not kidding. I have a J.D. after my name so you have to take me seriously now! (Just kidding)