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It’s taken me a long time to learn the importance of doing things for the soul, rather than only challenging the limits of the body or mind.

I’ve pushed myself. I’ve achieved. But I’ve also injured myself–and not just physically. Last year I exerted myself as an athlete harder than ever before. I succeeded, but I also crumbled beneath a heap of fried systems. The latter occurred because I didn’t listen.

Whenever I don’t listen, nature has a way of using a bigger stick to deliver the message. Fortunately, I heard nature’s heavier footsteps before she needed to bring out the 4×4 pole (again). I made changes, incorporated more food for the soul, and less strain on the body (and mind). It didn’t take long to start to see and feel the fruit of that discipline. But then it happened (again); I stopped listening (again). The body was breaking down because I was overly focused on proving myself, pushing myself, finishing the task because that’s what was laid out in the plan.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for doing the work. What I’m learning, however, is that part of the work is listening to and honouring the body, mind, and spirit.

Athlete, Tony Schiller, recommends “identifying yourself as a person who loves movement for the rest of your life. Celebrate your love of movement by doing events, setting goals.” He also suggests “taking time to recharge the battery–body, mind and spirit–in order to experience momentum later.”

As an outdoor adventurer, guide, and educator I teach the importance of thinking clearly, of evaluating situations, of training good decision making, instead of bulldozing ahead with ego or over-focus on the goal. We like to say, break before it’s too late.

And then it happened, I started to get injured (again). At first reflection, I chastised myself for not listening to my own instruction. But then I realised that this is exactly why I have a daily morning practice of meditation and yoga; it helps me recognise when I’m pushing too hard on the gas pedal. Even if I was already speeding, at least I noticed before I crashed.

So instead of feeling downtrodden for letting injury creep in (again), or sad for not recognising that I was repeating bad habits, I’m celebrating that I did see, that I made changes, and that I’ve rededicated myself to nurturing the spirit, mind, and therefore the body.

Today I had two solid (and fun) workouts. Neither of them were as long, or as hard, as were planned. But I listened, I honoured, and I’m healthy. Don’t get me wrong, hard work is necessary in order to achieve; I have to get rid of the excuses and get down to business. But that includes banishing the excuses that would keep me from nurturing mind and soul.