My friends, besides being a health and fitness author, I am also a professional trucker. The picture above was the frozen landscape of southwestern Kansas this morning. Despite the bitterly cold wind, it was a beautiful morning which I wanted to share with you. I snapped this picture just a few miles east of Dodge City, Kansas. Yes, the wild west home of Marshall Matt Dillon, the rowdy cowtown people refer to when they say they are “getting the hell out of Dodge”.
I love this job for the solitude of being on the open road with no one to disturb my inner peace, although I do run teams with another driver. When one is driving, the other driver will be in the sleeper berth getting their much needed rest as we hammer down on the black top for a 935 mile trip on each outing, 3 nights per week.
One thing I love about the open road is it gives me time when I am behind the wheel of my big rig to work out topics for my blog. As I wind my way across the Kansas prairie during the middle of bright star lit nights, my mind seeks out and easily finds pure tranquility, the starlit sky brings back very fond memories of days past when I was a young “high speed, low drag” sailor in the US Navy, steaming across the Pacific and Indian Oceans at night aboard the pride of the fleet, my first ship, the mighty USS Enterprise CVN 65. Nights on the open road remind me of peaceful nights at the conclusion of flight operations when I could find a comforable place to kick back on a sponson or catwalk and stare off into the night sky so clear there would be no horizon, you could not tell where the sea ended and the sky began. During these calm nights on the road, I can begin piecing articles together in my mind before actually setting down to my lap top. Once I log out to my sleeper berth, I have time to study and research, and also to work on my blog pieces. A tremendous amount of time goes into bringing you, our faithful readers, quality topics. As I have told my co-author Brenda Sue, quality is always first and foremost over quantity in this endeavor.
At David’s Way, besides promoting a diet of low carbs and high protein combined with physical fitness, we are also strong advocates of stress reduction as another integral element of healthy living. Years ago, when I was a young man, I got into a little trouble in the Navy and had to complete a program where I was first introduced to The Serenity Prayer. Ever since, I have done my level best to live by the principals of this prayer in all of life’s endeavors. This prayer has helped me immensely through life, and even if you do not believe in God, the principles can still help you too. Here is the prayer with my breakdown of what it means to me:
Lord, grant me the Serenity to accept that which I can not change.
In life, there are always going to be circumstances beyond our control that we can do little about. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Those people might be ourselves, or a loved one. I am not saying it is easy in anyway, but in order to best get through a tough time, we must remain calm and keep our wits about us. By not letting our stressed emotions over ride common and practical sense, we can then think about applying the next part of the Serentiy Prayer.
Grant me the Courage to change that which I can.
Sometimes it takes courage to get through a tough time with a proactive approach to improve your situation. For an example from my own life, nine years ago I suffered a debilitating spinal injury at L5 S1. I blew the disk out like a jelly donut and it encapsulated my sciatic nerve. I was for all intents and purposes disabled at this time as I could no longer work. Treatment for this injury required a series of Epidural Steroid Injections to my spine which were totally non-effective. Then I underwent spinal surgery where all the herniated disk material was removed along with arthritis which had formed in my lower spine. Surgery was followed by two months of physical therapy. Despite the injections and surgery, my sciatic nerve was damaged and it subseqently scarred over which leaves me with daily chronic pain in my right leg, even all these years later. I will suffer chronic sciaitic pain for the rest of my life. Back to the Serenity, I have come to accept this chronic pain as a part of my life. But, it took a lot of courage in learning to walk normal again and then to return to the work force. It took me a year to train my leg to track normally instead of having my foot dragging off to the side. Every step was a conscious decision to make it track right. It was a lot of effort and more than a few tears were shed during the process. I have experienced unnbearable pain, yet, I knew that if I could get through the pain, I could once again lead a normal life. My family doctor recommended I go on permanant and full disability because I was so debilitated with pain and was relying on pain pills to just get through the day. I could have gave in to the pain and went on disability, instead I chose to face life without the numbing effects of pain meds and began doing everything within my power to regain normalcy. I had to face the fact that some of the therapy I had to endure to get better was going to bring tears of pain, and yet I still did it for myself and my family. I knew that I could make a change for the better, therefore I mustered up the courage and did everything in my power to get my full life back which I accomplished.
And the Wisdom to know the difference.
The wisdom to know the difference is important in that there will be circumstances you can not change no matter how courageous you may be. If you have more courage than common sense, you will only find yourself stressed in trying to acheive the unachievable. We are not all Superman or Wonderwoman, we are not super heros who are infallible. No, we are all human, with very real human problems. I believe in being proactive in making my own life better and encourage others to always do the same, yet once we have the serentiy to accept that which we can not change, we can make vast improvements in our quality of life by just letting things go and not being stressed. Conversely, if we have the courage to step up to life’s never ending challenges, we are also rewarded in that what may be difficult today, realistically can be made less bothersome each and everytime we confront adversity head on. To sum up the Serenity Prayer, it really amounts of learning to pick and choose your battles. Choosing which hill is worth dying on and which hill is worth walking away from. How you confront the stress of life is totally up to your own personal decisions, choose wisely.
Lord, grant me the serenity to accept that which I can not change.
The courage to change that which I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Think about this, study this, and then live by these principles in all of lifes endeavors, your life will only be enriched by doing so.