Wherever you go, there you are

by admin on December 10, 2008

I read today in the paper that Oprah was dismayed to admit that she has hit 200 pounds. Dear god. She reported that despite dropping to 160 several months ago, she has been struggling with her thyroid, developed an aversion to exercise and just started eating whatever she wanted, knowing that eventually it would catch up with her.

It’s funny how we sometimes think that when you have money (and who has more money than Oprah?!) you don’t have the same old regular problems that the rest of us have. I sometimes look at the movie stars and the people the media chases and think wistfully that they must not struggle with the same image issues as the rest of us. “They have access to the best personal trainers, best nutritionists and certainly enough money to buy great clothes and go on wonderful vacations to exotic locations,” I would think.

But at the end of the day, guess what? Money can’t buy you motivation. It can’t guarantee you lose weight. It can’t ensure you eat right every day. It can’t get you up off the couch to exercise. It can’t give you the confidence to make the right choices about what to do with your free time. And really, these are all the same core issues that we each deal with every day, regardless of how much money we have.

There’s a great book by the mind/body expert, Jon Kabat-Zinn called “Wherever you go, there you are.” It’s a comment on the fact that no matter how far you run, how far you try to hide, your issues will still be with you. I remember in the movie “Pretty Woman,” at the end, when Richard Gere’s character tries to tell Julia Roberts’ character that while he can’t really commit to her in a real way, he’ll take care of her, buy her a home, buy her clothes and see her whenever he can. “It’ll get you off the street,” he says to her. “That’s just geography,” she says back. She realizes that until she digs deep down and attacks the real issues inside her, it won’t matter where she lives, or what she wears, or how much money she has. Because “wherever she goes, there she’ll be.”

Oprah hopefully will realize the same thing and soon.

We all have these things inside us that we keep running up against time and time again. And the older we get, we wonder if we’ll ever break the patterns we’ve established. Patterns are like the concentric rings inside a tree; you cut a tree down and you see inside the concentric circles that tell the story of it’s life. But we always have the power to change and to make positive changes in our life.

I see people in my yoga classes all the time and when they take their first downward dog, I start to get a sense of who they are. Without words, I watch as they move through their practice. I get an idea of if they’re confident, if they’re tentative, if they’re strong, if they’re passive. I get an idea of their optimism, their ability to learn and be open-minded. And time and time again, I am amazed at the power of the human spirit to try, to make an effort, to continue to push oneself, despite challenge. And it gives me faith. That we all have it inside us to make positive changes and turn over a new leaf. And all it takes is that first step.

Be well.

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