By Armando Vazquez
“The address of the holy and the enlightened is ‘here and now’. This is the address of happiness, the address of life, the address to your God. The Buddha (El Savio) said, ‘Life is accessible only in the present moment.’ Life with all its wonders is accessible right now. So we train, practice and work in coming back to the present moment through the day, a day at a time, a moment at a time. When you are sitting on your meditation position, you are established in the present moment. At that moment, you touch life deeply. During walking/running meditation, you do the same thing. Each step brings you back to your true home, the home of your spiritual ancestors-the present moment. It is in the present moment that life, peace, joy, happiness, and well-being are possible.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Like the ocean waves that never rest I don’t know where I got the all-consuming energy, dedication and desire to workout HARD in all my athletic endeavours. It has been with me all my life. I was just a little kid of about 6 or 7 years of age running up and down the hellish and foreboding desolate dump lomas de la Colonia Hidalgo on the outskirts of Tijuana. Once In America, I ran like a wild colt- the energy that I consumed was of course freedom. I always ran on the school yard, the ball fields, and streets of El Monte when we immigrated to the United States in the late 1950’s. I have been running ever since, closing in on my 70th birthday.
I never, ever, liked, much less enjoyed the blood, sweat, pain and tears that went along with “breaking down my body to build it back up again” as the jock mantra goes. Very early on I promised myself that my workout/run would be the hardest thing that I would face all day. Self-imposed pained discipline and no punking out ever! I never got “runner’s high”, it was always about breaking down walls of fear, pain and limitations imposed by the stubborn and undisciplined mind.
In fact as I write these notes I am recovering from a 10 mile run that took all the energy this 70 year old body could exert! But I did it. You can’t give advice and not do the work. So spring is right around the corner and I thought that it was a good time to share Armando seven(7) rule to running, Zumba or any exercise that will give the mandatory cardio workout that will add man happy in your life. Am I a doctor? No, I am just a man that has lived this beautiful healthy life, and I want to share my work code with you!
Shut the mind up and just do it!: Our/your mind can be your worst and most formidable enemy. Once controlled, however, it will be your great warrior friend capable of super magical powers that it will gladly reveal/bestow to you once you control you mind (shut up the 24/7 noise) that can sabotage any effort to get your workout program going. How do you control this very stubborn and formidable force? Simply put, consistency and repetition. When your mind says no, you tell it to shut up and get out and then workout, this will take weeks, maybe months but it will change ALL of your life!
- Keep it simple, stupid: Bling, gyms, the right equipment, and fashion (all that other silly superficial shit) has never lost any one a single once! Put on comfortable clothes that let you move freely, comfortable shoes (no blisters), find a safe and controlled running trail and get out and run. Your body will always dictate your pace. So do push it, but don’t be a slacker (reasonable pushing is good). You must run from 3 to 5 days per week come hell or high water.
- Stop for none while on the mission: Your mind will mess with you big time in the beginning. You will want to stop for water, to mess with the smartphone, your cap, your dog, your cat, your dad/mom/children, in a word everything. But you must stop for nothing’ except medical emergencies. Believe me if you stop in the beginning the mind will remember that and prompt you stop all of the time. I have singular rule: I stop for my mother, since see is gone, she is always with me and running with me. I stop for NO ONE!
- Turn your life over to your “high self”: it is in you! Believe that you work out is taking you to a real, magical and transformative stage in your life. Here is the magic: You and only you are in complete and total control! How powerful is that?
- When you smell a charlatan skunk run like hell: The trainers, the physical experts, the doctors, the well-meaning friends, the billion dollar “health” industry, will want to sell you all their powder, minerals, vitamins, junk, poison and everything in-between. Avoid it like the plague, it will never lose you a ounce or tighten you ass. They come and you run!
- Listen very closely to your body: Your body will tell you everything you need to know. You just have to develop a “new listening” relationship with your body. Your body is not your “yes alter-ego”. If you really talk and listen to your body it will tell you stuff you don’t want to hear, tough stuff. But you have to work out a new loving holistic relationship!
- Play it forward: Share your glow and your commitment to the workout and a healthier lifestyle.
- The time is NOW!: Do not procrastinate, remember the mind is always working, the sooner you get out there on the workout mission the quicker you control your mind, begin your personal and magical transformation and reveal your loveable higher self.
HERE ARE THE LAST MAGICAL SIGHT I WAS BLESSED WITH IN MY LATEST RUN IN THE ORCUTT HILLS
Armando Vazquez, M.Ed. is Executive Director of Acuna Art Gallery/Café on A, Executive Director for The KEYS Leadership Academy and Chairman of the Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health/coalition
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.