One of my mother's favorite stories to tell about me is one that occurred when I was around four years of age. At the time, she was a single mother and there wasn't a whole lot of extra money to go around. We use to sometimes take weekend drives out in the country for entertainment. Sometimes we would take a picnic. Sometimes we'd take old bread and go feed the fish at Ledford Mill. On one such sunny Saturday afternoon, we took the fairly usual tour.
There was only one difference in this trip. There was an old abandoned farm house not too far from the mill. On this particular day, there was a for sale sign nailed into a tree in the front "yard". I hesitate to use the term yard without quotes because it was less like a yard and more like an overgrown field in front of a house. For whatever reason, my mother decided playing a prank on the sweet, young, innocent four year old gazing contently out the window was in order for the day. She slowed the car to a stop in front of the old abandoned house. Excitedly she exclaimed, "Look, Stephanie, it's for sale! Let's go look at it." I'm not even sure it initially registered with me what she was up to, so I dutifully followed unaware of the impending hijinks.
To say the house was rundown would be a pretty kind understatement of it's condition. It had likely been sitting there abandoned for at least a decade or two and was likely to have been in that spot since the very early 1900's. Walking up to that house seemed a bit daunting. It had all the classic symptoms of a structure in decay: peeling paint, broken windows, floorboards missing on the porch, steps up to the porch crumbling, etc. In my four year old little mind, this house would be the perfect home for some decrepit old witch. Looking back, squatters should have been my biggest concern!
I was a bit hesitant about approaching that house. However, my mother seemed so excited. She went up the steps of the porch and pushed open the front door. The door opened to one large room. The entire downstairs was a living area, dining area, and kitchen. I’m fairly certain there was no bathroom. I think there may have been a loft area upstairs but certainly not a full second floor. It was tiny. And the inside, well, it looked just as bad as the outside! There were cobwebs everywhere and decades of dust. It was truly a sad state of affairs for the little house.
My mother suddenly spins around and looks at me and says, “What do you think? Do you like it?” I didn’t know what to say. My four year old mind couldn’t process a single nice thing to say about that dump. I just stared at her, utterly confused. She smiled broadly, “It’s for sale. I think we should buy it.” Well, that was it, I knew she was crazy. How on earth could we possibly live here!? So, I tried to point out the obvious. “But, mom, there’s a big hole in the floor.” I pointed to the hole as if she might somehow not see it right there in the middle of the living room area. She just looked at me and said, “Oh, don’t worry about it! We can put a rug over that.” She was so confident this place was great and I just didn’t know what to make of it.
She could see the disapproving look still residing on my face. She was going to have to kick up the stakes a notch to get me to buy into this whole thing. That’s when the real trickery entered the game.
“Stephanie, if we lived here in the country, you could have a horse!” Well, that did it. Cruel as such an untrue promise is, I bought it hook, line, and sinker. A horse? Dang, are you kidding me? I guess I’d live most anywhere if it meant I could have a horse!!! So, I began to look around that old house with different eyes. I was trying to figure out a way we could make this work. With my finger stroking my chin and wild-eyed wonder in my eyes I said, “Well, with a little paint…”
So, why do I tell such a silly story tonight? What’s the point in all of this? What’s this got to do with DDPYOGA, getting healthy, etc.? Not a whole lot really except to say this: A lot of times we tend to think we can just put a little band aid on something and everything will be alright. We think we should go on a diet, get serious for a minute, eat some Lean Cuisines, exercise for a few days, and that will make up for years and years of abuse our weather worn bodies have taken. We’ll join the gym, we’ll hang out with Jenny, or weigh in with Weight Watchers. What we don’t do is take time for a full over-haul.
That house wasn’t going to make it with a simple coat of paint. My less than world wise naïve four year old mind might have been suckered for the promise of a pony, but that was then and this is now. If we truly want to change our lives, we’ve got to be willing to do a complete re-model. We’ve got to tear ourselves down, and rebuild from the foundation up. We have to retrain our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. You can’t truly achieve a fulfilling and healthy life with only one or even two of these for any great length of time.
I think that’s the reason the whole DDPYOGA program/lifestyle has had such an impact with me thus far while so many other things have failed. Although I have fallen this year, don’t get me wrong, I feel more confident and faithful than ever I am making real, life-long and powerful changes. I’m learning to eat right - I mean REALLY right; I’m learning more than ever how much my attitude/mental/spiritual health can affect my physical health; and I’m learning good exercise can be self-directed, at home, no matter “where” you are physically.
If I’m being totally honest, I guess I like the no BS approach of DDP, too. I believe him to be a compassionate man to a degree that probably no one in the general public could even know, but he’s also not about to just let you off the hook either. He’s gonna play it straight, and tell ya to quit making excuses. And, you know what? He’s right. It’s way past the time for many of us, myself included, to quit making excuses. No more I don’t have time, I don’t feel good, I’m too tired, and on and on ad nauseum. My life needs more than a simple coat of paint. I’m rebuilding my God given temple from the foundation up. Wanna come with me?
Oh, and mom, where's my pony?