What brings you to the point to make a decision to quit the very place that stored and displayed past achievements, a present job, the hope of a future career and a place where you have a program/ “the right formula” that gives you some measure of personal success, security, comfort and control? I had found the formula that I could plug myself into and achieve results. I did it for 15 years. In fact, I had just achieved the best results of my life at 40. I had a six-pack. I was stronger than I had ever been (just ask the guys in my gym). Most importantly, I had proven that my formula worked. At least, that’s what it looked like on the outside but what I felt, thought and believed was a different story
Growing up deeply religious and having just walked through the last 6 years of my life, I was very aware that I had given myself over to religion, family, coaches, sports, men, culture, people and even my own self to tell me who I was my entire life. It had been over the last few years that I had finally been set free of the religious rules that had reduced my heart, mind, spirit and body (for 40 years) to nothing more than results/obedience; and I had begun to see that everything that I thought, felt, did and believed was put into an If/ Then formula. If I did xyz, Then I would get the desired result.
The If/Then formula was not only the formula for my spirit, but it was the formula for my body, mind, heart and relationships. It was my formula of living. I took it everywhere, it was my precious. It seemed to work for me. I was successful at manipulating myself to fit into the formula anytime, anyplace and for anybody. It looked like the formula worked. I had received an athletic college scholarship. I was married. I had kids, friends, fit body and religion. From the outside at a very superficial level, it looked like the formula was achieving good results.
When you reduce yourself to fit into a formula to get results, then you should not be surprised when your formula works like a formula. By constantly manipulating myself to fit into a formula to get the desired results, (which was only an effort to control my life, myself and other’s response to me), the equal and opposite reaction that occurred was that I reduced myself and I was reduced to a non-person. I became just an object. Looking back, it’s easy to see my whole life had been reduced to how well I could just do it. (How well could I play a sport, get good grades, obey, be good, be pretty, be polite, be a wife, be a mom, be a christian, keep a clean house, work, get it done AND not feel, not think; and not be human but JUST DO the formula.)
See, the formula is attractive. The formula promises control. If we do the formula, then we can avoid pain, mistakes, sadness, loneliness, weaknesses, guilt, shame and fear. But the formula fails to list this disclaimer. Newton’s third law is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
I don’t know how in the heck it happened but I do know it happened. I got all the results that I had been accumulating from my formula living life and pain, sadness, loneliness, mistakes, guilt, shame, fear, and weaknesses came busting through my door. I mean come on, I had earned them! Trust me it was not pretty. Real life came crashing into my formula living life like a freaking tsunami and it smashed all my formulas and results to bits. When the water receded, I saw that I had been living a lie, because I had believed the lies that 1) Doing a formula is living. 2) That formulas can tell you who you are, how to feel, what to think and what to do. 3) That formulas can save you. 4) That formulas can get you love, joy, peace, patience, hope, goodness and build trust. 5) That you can reduce yourself to fit into a formula.
Because of the tsunami of results that destroyed my life, I was forced to be honest and I was set free from being just a body, from formula living, from being told I was a winner or loser based on my results and from being told to do better and try harder. Most importantly, I was freed To be human. I was freed to live how I was designed to be weak, sensitive, fragile, vulnerable, transparent, desperate and dependent on someone bigger than a formula to tell me who I was. I was freed to receive love and all the beautiful things that grow out of it. I was freed to know who I am, how I feel, to use my brain and to live (take risk, make mistakes, look messy, admit mistakes, be honest about my weaknesses and not pretend I was in control). The equal and opposite reaction of living loved and free was guilt, pain, shame, fear, loneliness and sadness had a place to go to be heard and be responded to with truth- not a formula.
When we try to avoid pain, loneliness, shame, guilt and fear we also don’t get to experience things like love, joy, hope and the fruits of love like peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. By living in a formula, we LOSE the very things that we need and are designed for to live; and we Lose our very own lives when all of life is lived to WIN or to get a result.
It’s funny, how my gym formula was the last go. I had successfully manipulated and controlled my body for years to look a certain way but the equal and opposite reaction was I was physically broken-down. Fifteen years in the gym on a daily basis had brought me to the point that I said out loud to myself, “If being in shape feels like this, then I don’t want to do it anymore” and I began to see that the gym was not just something that I thought I could use to remain in control of myself, but it was actually a system of rules that I had l given myself over to and it controlled me; and it had become a prison.
Because I was at the point where truth could not be denied, the formula had failed and I physically hurt so bad that I was forced to start asking questions. These questions led me deep within myself to discover why I was still killing myself in the gym. These questions brought me to the deeper truth that I was doing a formula to get value, acceptance, approval-aka love. This truth led me to what I feel is one of the main truths of life, which is “No matter what you look like, act like or do, you cannot earn love”. Old habits die hard and although I knew who I was and had been set free spiritually, I still believed there was something I could “do” to earn another person’s love. I do think at the root of everything that we DO is either a reflection of being loved or is a means to to get love- even workouts, diets and programs.
Anyway, truth always leads to more truth and the truth of what I was doing and why I was doing it led to the ultimate truth-YOU DON’T EARN LOVE. YOU CANNOT GET LOVE. LOVE IS A GIFT. IT CANNOT BE EARNED. IT CAN ONLY BE GIVEN AND RECEIVED.
YEP- that truth hit me when I was at the gym and I literally walked out and walked into more freedom to ask some more questions about exercise, food, design and whole-person health. VIVE Alchemy is the truth of what I learned after I realized I was loved for exactly who I was and not for what I do or look like. This truth led to more questions that led to more learning about human design and the truths of how we are designed to nourish ourselves with gifts like food and exercise and not use them as a means to an end to get a result. The results of me Giving up being a result is right before you. It is called VIVE Alchemy.
So, today I invite you to GIVE UP living for results, GIVE UP reducing yourself to fit into a formula, GIVE UP being told you are a winner or a loser based on your performance, GIVE UP winning and losing, because winning requires LOSING parts of yourself that can’t fit into that formula. I have “won” trophies and have had good results but nothing compares to the results I have received when I GAVE UP doing a formula and started living.
VIVE Alchemy is an invitation and a place where you can GIVE UP and discover that you can actually have the best results when you quit trying to get results and you live to nourish your heart, mind, body and spirit with the things they are designed to Be Whole.