Love My Body

I’ve always pushed my body hard. I interpreted “mind over matter” to mean that I could just ignore my body when it was hurting as long as my mind was strong enough to push on. I constantly pushed my limits and was amazed when I accomplished feats like backpacking 35 miles in one day or staying awake for 71 hours straight. I viewed my body as a tool, not as a part of me.

After meditating for some time it became difficult for me to work out anymore. I didn’t fully realize why until just recently. When I used to play sports I was driven to win. My competitive spirit would drive me to push my body. I thought I was doing my body a service by getting some good exercise but I was actually bringing a lot of negative mental energy into my body.

For a while, the only physical activities my body wanted to participate in were yoga and walking. In these activities I was gentle and kind to my body. I’m learning that all of the other athletic activities I used to do aren’t bad but my mindset when I did them was. I’m still working my way back into some more rigorous physical activity, but it’s becoming clear that to grow with dhamma and live a loving life I need to send more positive energy to my body. Rather than give up on sports, I need to give up beating myself up. I love being active so hopefully dhamma will help me learn how to be active in a positive way. Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

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