We were at the start of a job on an old pipe in an old column of a commercial office building on Lexington Avenue.
Keep in mind, this pipe was domestic cold water line. It was an old pipe and galvanized. The pipe was also placed in this column, sealed up, and untouched since the original construction, which was completed in 1927.
Aside from the usual difficulties of chopping through the concrete floor to open the shaft-way from the floor of the leak to the next pipe joint on the floor below, and aside from the extra strength it takes to spin a pipe wrench and remove the pipe; jobs like this need to be handled with a certain finesse.
Otherwise, the pipe can break in other part, which means more chopping through floors, more breaking through old walls, and more work, more stress, and just plain more of everything.
There are times when to exert energy and times to conserve it. There are times to work carefully and times when to give it everything we have.
This is what experience teaches us. The more we do the more we learn and the more we learn the more we look back at how we used to do things and shake our head.
My partner was a youngster. He was a new hire. Big and strong, good-looking and charismatic; he had the right attitude for the job. Safe to say, I knew he would fit in just fine.
He was strong for sure. Smart too. He had plumbing ability, which is important. However, he was new to the building and new to the routines. He was also new to the pipes and new to the ideas of when to lean in and when to tilt back. But he learned quickly.
After all was said and done, the valves were shut, the pipe was drained of water, and we were ready to go. This was the youngster’s first job in the building.
He placed the pipe wrench on the pipe with an extension (We call it a cheater, some people call it a persuader) which is just a pipe slid over the pipe wrench to gain more torque on the swing.
The youngster was worried.
Said it couldn’t go.
Said it wasn’t possible until I told him a secret.
“You just have to mean it.”
Dedication is everything.
You just have to mean it.
“Try again,” and the youngster did. He tried with all his might but with the
“You gotta mean it,” I said.
Fear is a funny thing. It takes away from our focus which takes away from the body’s ability to behave according to our actual strength. The youngster was worried about the pipe above. He was worried about the next thing that can go wrong. He was worried about other problems that took away from his ability to pull as hard as possible.
“You gotta mean it,” I said
There was simple ways to hold back the pipe above and keep it from moving, which we did.
We set up the wrench once more.
“This time, we have to mean it.” I said
And we did.
I was able to get a turn in. The pipe broke and we were able to back out an old 2” galvanized pipe that had been in place since 1927.
The youngster is stronger than me by far.
When I got the pipe to spin, he asked how.
Know what my answer was?
You just have to mean it . . .
But life is this way too.
I was losing weight and seeing the benefits of my efforts. It became so that my goals became less important than my efforts. I was drinking water, exercising, eating well, and holding myself accountable to a daily routine. There were no excuses or exceptions.
There was no, “Cheat days,” or negotiations on behalf of my old menu choices.
I did splurge, however, but I splurged differently. Instead of going back to old, default ideas and choosing foods based upon my old choices, I found new foods to enjoy.
I kept working. I kept moving.
And most of all, I kept improving
I just had to mean it.
Each day, I made sure to do something on behalf of my own personal wellness. I came to the understanding that my new lifestyle was specifically designed to meet my needs.
Although there were other programs available and other options to achieve my goals; I chose the one model which fit me best. I realized that life is not one-size fits all. I had to realize that my chemical makeup belonged to me and while I might have similarities with other people; I also have my own special uniqueness that needed to be honored
Rather than fit in with someone else’s program, I chose to find my own model. But I had to mean it
Rather than look at what I was eating, I chose to understand why I was eating. Was I eating in response to something?
Was I choosing foods based on gluttony with hopes to find the old comfort foods to fill me up and pacify something that was unsettling?
I chose to look at the foods I ate and the way they interacted with my body. As a result, I noticed that my body would bloat more when different meals. Although satisfied in one way regard, I was regretful in another.
Ever eat yourself into a food coma?
Belly is full, and you lay there, post satisfaction and feeling the results of over-eating. This is when regret settles in.
I hated this
When I chose to lose weight, I made a decision to feel healthy. I had to look at more than just my menu options. I had to look at my personal reward system, which is important. I had to look at the way I treated myself to understand why I felt the way I did. I had to learn about my mind, body, and soul.
I was not exercising regularly.
I ate poorly.
I felt lazy at times and overwhelmed in others. My level of anxiety was high. I felt shame and regret. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I struggled with the ideas of rejection and loneliness and focused my energy in that direction.
I focused on all the things that could go wrong. I was just like the youngster I worked with on that plumbing job. I tried to improve but to no avail.
Wellness is not a blanket or one-size fits thing. Neither is mindfulness. In order for me to find my path towards transformation, I had to direct my energy towards a real strategy.
I had to mean it . . .
I had to create a shift in my energy and switch my focus. Instead of nursing my symptoms, I chose to consider a solution to the base problems.
Once I addressed the base problems, I noticed the symptoms literally disappeared.
Just like the kid and the wrench; once we meant it, the pipe was able to turn. I noticed my thinking changed. My responses changed. I no longer reacted the way I would because I no longer felt the way I did.
This is the benefit of empowerment.
This is what happens when you mean it.
Our life is social, which means we interact with others. We also have opinions, ideas, different interpretations and varying perceptions, which we hold as fact, but in reality, there is only one truth. Any variation of that truth is no longer true. Now, it’s just an opinion.
foremost, it is important to dismantle the thought machine. Not everyone sees
what we see or notices life the way we do.
I learned that most of my difficulties with others in my life were based on my thoughts; however, thoughts are not real.
I learned that my ego gets me in trouble; that I am not as important to others as my ego would lead me to believe.
Truth is no one is paying attention to me —and even if they are, so what?
This is only momentary and secondly, there opinion is unimportant.
What happens if someone judges me?
So what about an outside source?
At the end of the day, I need to come to a constructive conclusion on a daily basis. However, if I give in to the inaccurate worries and overthink every little thing, I will not be able to live up to my potential.
If experience loss or rejection, do the traffic lights stop working? Does the power go off? Is there any catastrophe other than the one inside my head? Did I die because something didn’t go right?
The answer to each is an astounding, “NO!”
I cannot be deterred. I cannot give in to distraction. I have to set up a plan and more importantly, I just have to mean it.
I learned that my focus on others and their opinions of me were wasteful of my time and energy. I found that much of the time, my opinion of circumstances and situations were mostly inaccurate, which means my thoughts were based on insecurity and internal fears of rejection.
How can I mean anything if I focus on this?
This kind of thinking is draining to me. In fact, this drained me to the point of emotional and physical exhaustion.
This fueled my anxiety and depression. While focusing on things beyond my control, I lacked the ability to direct my energy towards a more useful direction.
times when I could not get out of bed or find the motivation to do anything. I
swore that I didn’t have the energy to shower or brush my teeth. But this was
not so. The fact is I did have the energy; I just chose to nurture it in a
I began to learn about my methods of survival. I saw the way I interacted with others and how I spoke on behalf of my insecurity. I noticed that when I spoke, I spoke to please others. I placed importance on the response of other people and what they thought or believed.
I thought about the times I behaved like a chameleon to adapt to my surroundings, or to “Fit in,” and find acceptance.
I chose to look externally for feelings which should come from my internal source.
I sought to be validated and justified but at the same time, I never validated myself or believed I was justified to be me.
This is the
problem with ego and how it stirs the pot. I placed an inaccurate sense of importance
on my identity.
I thought I needed to be something.
Meanwhile, I already was something.
I always have been and I always will be.
One by one,
I had to disprove the myths in my head. I had to defy the lies I told myself
and act in the antithesis of my fears. I learned that I can no longer nurture
the regrets or harbor the resentments I felt.
I learned that rejection is internal; that it only exists if I feed it, and that if rejection exists, then it lives and breathes. However, nothing that lives can live in a vacuum; therefore, I needed to stop breathing life into the lungs of all which held me back—
When I found
myself feeling most successful is when I focused my concentration on my energy
and its output. There was no good or bad, pass or fail. There was only energy
Once I saw this, I stopped placing importance of performance or pass and fail. Instead, I felt the embodiment of being at peace with myself.
To be at peace is to be me without regard for others and without feeling hinged upon an action or outside validation. To me, this is my truest form of empowerment. After I reached this level of awareness, I found myself at an enlightened level of understanding. And it was easy. All I had to do was be me.
All I had to do was mean it
This was my pathway towards wellness.
What does yours look like?