Freedom is for Overcomers

 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.- Galatians 5:1

WholyFit on the rooftop!

This week, we are celebrating Independence Day in Mexico. Actually, it is the celebration of the initiation of the War of Independence, which began in the wee hours of September 16, 1810 with the Grito de la Independencia – the cry of freedom.  The whole country dresses up in the colors of the flag: white, red and green.  The colors were chosen for their significance: Red – unity of the people, White – purity of the Catholic faith and Green – independence.  Later, president Benito Juarez (aka the Mexican Abraham Lincoln) changed the significance of the colors: White – unity, Green – hope, Red – the blood of the heroes who gave their lives for the country’s independence.  (more on Mexican History by Taco)

In the year 2010, Mexico celebrated the bicentennial celebration of the war of Independence, and the centennial celebration of the Revolutionary war. The festivities included special routes across the country, highlighting points of interest of the War of Independence and the Revolution – Rutas de la Independencia, and Rutas de la Revolucion, respectively. That year, Mom, my friend Esperanza and I and had ventured to the state of Guanajuato – following the ‘Ruta de la Independencia, where the Independence movement began.   (see excerpt ‘Viva la Independencia..’ from Taco’s Adventures with Ma) 

The hotel we stayed at in the lovely town of Guanajuato had a rooftop you could go out on; I woke up early to work on my routine, on a beautiful, refreshingly crisp morning. The picturesque town around me was the perfect setting for visual focus. At the time, I was studying for my WholyFit Silver Certification, and focusing on the posture ‘Overcomer’.  As I focused on that particular pose, I reflected upon what I had overcome to get to that point in my life – while the statue of El Pipila looked down upon me and the town, holding his torch up and carrying his boulder strapped to his back.

El Pipila looks out over the town of Guanajuato

He, too had been an Overcomer.  He was a martyr for the battle for independence against Spain, overcoming a great physical obstacle with his strength and determination – giving his life for his people who were uprising against oppression and injustice. I do not know if he was a man of faith – but I have been to the Alhondiga – the building where he gave his life – and saw the immense obstacle he had to overcome, and I have to believe that he did have faith, and that was what carried him – and the enormous boulder lit with tar and fire on his back – to victory.  I won’t get into the nasty bloodshed that followed – after all, I am a pacifist – but I certainly side with revolting against evil.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  – Romans 12:21

Fortunately, my spot on the rooftop did not face the Alhondiga to bring to mind the bloody battle; instead my view was of the colorful rooftops and the towering mountains behind them, reminding me of God’s creativity, and I was able to focus on my posture:

Getting into a lunge position, I pictured myself lunging forward in the battle, like a warrior. I will overcome! Next was my core – focus on activating it to help my posture and keep me stable (always stand firm!) as well as protect my lower back (one could say I got my own back!). All set; my core was engaged with strength.

She girds herself with strength…   – Psalm 31:17a

I checked my stance – I made sure it was wide for good balance with feet planted firmly– no enemy can knock this warrior down! As any good warrior should do, I assessed my alignment – working through it a few times to get it right: front knee directly over my ankle I don’t want to leave my ankle weak! Back leg:  straight, bearing weight, muscular energy focus; rear foot pointing to the side – a firm foundation. knees and toes pointing in the same direction – fully aligned!

So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:10b

I checked my squareness (not a tag I would normally put on myself!): hips and shoulders square to the front, confirming my firm foundation and focus.  Oh yes – almost forgot – need to remember to check that my neck is aligned with my back so that my head wouldn’t pop off. Check!   Arms… held up as if making a V for Victory, straight with muscular energy, shoulders down and held in front of my visual field…

And makes her arms strong.   – Psalm 31:17b

Finally, focus on breathing… Inhale…

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Hallelujah!  –  Psalm 150:6

… And focus on what it means to be an overcomer.

I am writing to you, young people, because you have overcome the evil one.  – 1 John 2:13b 

Independence, revolution – two words that constantly echo across the globe, in every country for various reasons, and within our own lives. I feel we are in a battle to become independent from many things, including being physically ‘unfit’, and we are constantly in a revolution against the enemy in his many forms.  We fight to overcome dependence in many ways – whether it be dependence on things, people or a weakness within ourselves, such as fear.  Above all, we fight to overcome evil – the enemy – often without even remembering that battle has already been won.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  – 1 John 5:4 

We live in a world filled with anger, hate, violence and injustice.  It does not matter what country you live it – it is there. Some seem to have evil more prominent than others – but it is still everywhere, just in different forms.  We need to remember to stand firm, gird ourselves with strength, overcome evil with good, be strong in our faith, and be victorious overcomers.

After all, He came, he saw, He conquered and overcame evil.  He paved the path for us to do the same; we just have to follow Him.

  The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. – Luke 4:18-19


Crowd Control? Clear the Mechanism!

One thing very important I have learned is about crowd control, or lack thereof. Confused? If you are not accustomed to my style of writing/my wacky sense of humor, then please let me explain. I often joke that I hear voices in my head, and sometimes we have silly conversations. That works well when I am writing travel stories, but what is the point in this blog???? The point is the crowd in my head, or more accurately- the noise.

I get distracted very easily (I normally attribute that to being blonde), at times I find it more difficult than others to concentrate; even in my normal daily prayer time there sometimes seems to be a ‘crowd’ in my head. Okay, so I guess that should be pretty normal for a gal who now finds herself in the exercise world – in a completely foreign environment (pun intended). I often feel like a fish out of water. Keeping my husband nutrutiously fed 5x daily to keep his blood sugar and cholesterol levels at the best levels possible, reading the Bible and keeping tabs on my 80 yr old mother (who stays with us 3 monthes of the year, the rest in Chicago) are high up on my daily list of Things To Do, as is learning to be Wholy Fit. Add to that recipe all other daily events (writing 4 blogs, housecleaning, laundry, pay bills, try to remember if I watered the plants, feed and chase my kitties, did my semi-blind kitty get lost again, prayer time, etc.), add a dash of variables (the social center a block away has events all weekend until 2am and the wind blows the sounds right to our house; Vidal’s sciatic pain and gastritis act up on occasion, so rearrange daily schedules and meals to accommodate), stick them all in a blender and you come up with lots of noise: all those voices talking (or meowing) at once. What to do, what to do? How do I control that crowd and learn to focus, focus, focus??? Answer: Learn a good technique for Crowd Control: Clearing the Mechanism. How? Lots of prayer!

I love baseball; I also love movies. A great movie that includes a good baseball story goes great with a bucket of popcorn (buttered, of course!) on any given night for me. I bring that up because of the movie ‘For Love of the Game’, with Kevin Costner. In it, Kevin plays Billy Chapel, a baseball pitcher who is possibly pitching the last game of his life. Throughout the movie/the game, the crowd is cheering loudly (both against him and later for him), which can greatly effect his concentration. Each time he steps on the pitcher’s mound, you hear the deafening sound of the crowd and you wonder how anyone could focus with so much noise, but then you hear him say to himself (in his head): ‘Clear the mechanism’, and the noise fades to complete quiet, and he is able to completely focus on his pitching. As I write this, I can already hear the noise level fade, so maybe the key to clearing my mechanism is to write, I don’t know. Maybe asking/writing for prayer help to learn to ‘clear my mechanism’ is all I need to do to tell the enemy I am serious about starting a revolution- or at least, the first step.

Comments, anyone??? Please by all means leave me your comments and laughter. At me, of course! 🙂

As always, thank you for your support, your love, your laughter and above all- your prayers.
God bless you, and good night/good morning!!!!!

All Different Shapes and Sizes, with a Pillow Thrown In!

I have always been fascinated with head shapes. Maybe it is the archaeologist-wannabe in me, having been captivated by pictographs of the profiles of ancient peoples in the Egyptian and Mayan worlds when I was young. In my many travels through Mexico, I have often found myself mesmerized by the different head shapes in the various of the various cultures here- some with large, round-shaped, flat-topped heads; others with an almost Egyptian-like cone-shape on the back of their heads, and others with what can be best described as having had the back of their skull flattened at birth, so that there is a straight angle from the neck up. It kind of reminds me of my old rock collection; just as every rock comes in different shapes and sizes, so does every head. But what does that have to do with WholyFit, you ask? A lot, actually. God pointed that out to me just this morning.

Oh, yes, rocks… Like most WholyFit practitioners, I love Rock! I of course am not talking music; I am talking about my favorite posture. Rock. That simple posture of total relaxation; those precious minutes of total surrender to resting my body and lifting my thoughts in peace to my Father. Let’s face it – no matter where we live on Earth, we are all going in a million directions at once, with our busy lives, and finding time to focus on prayer, push away the clouds and the noise that muddles our brains and hear God speak to us is always a challenge. When I am restoring in Rock, I am always able to find that place…

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. – Psalm 18:31-32

This morning, during my WholyFit routine, I found myself a bit distracted. Possibly because it was Monday, I thought (more likely the fact that I had neglected my morning coffee!), but I had to really push myself to concentrate more than usual. And then came time for Rock. As I wound down, focusing on relaxing every muscle, my neck started to bother me and I could not fully relax. I had to get up and grab a small pillow to put under my head which did the trick. Focusing on my God time, I asked Him what happened; where did that pain come from? Did I unconsciously do a posture incorrectly and forget to keep my neck aligned with my spine? Then God spoke. In shapes. Literally. The various shapes of the heads which have mesmerized me flashed before me, as God reminded me that He created each and every one of us unique, and that, even though I have enough of a bump in the back of my head to keep my neck aligned when in Rock, not everyone does, and to keep that in mind…

Isn’t it amazing how God uses everything to teach us something? All we have to do is listen. I probably didn’t have my neck aligned correctly with my spine during my WholyFit routine (or maybe I didn’t quite have my neck screwed on just right, for lack of caffeine J) , but God turned that around into a lesson that I needed to hear. Lessons, actually. On the homefront: my husband happens to be the neck-up-straight-angle head, so he automatically gets the WholyFit pillow J ! As an instructor: From now on, I will take along a small pillow to class as a reminder to my students, and myself, that we are all created wonderfully and uniquely – and that God wants us, and needs us, to be comfortable in Him.

May God be with you, and may you be with Him in Rock…

Sandy Thompson, WholyFit Mexico

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. -Psalm 139:14-18