So over a year ago I ran in a half marathon, and then stopped being mindful about exercise and healthy eating.
A year of such mindlessness took its toll on me, and I've put back a significant amount of weight.
For a few months now I've kind of wanted to get back to being serious about health and exercise, and made several false starts with tracking my calories, and working out.
This week has been different though.
First, it's been different in my exercise. I worked out three different times this week, swimming. The first time was 30 minutes of breast stroke. The second was 45. It was tiring, but felt good.
Before yesterday's workout was the tip over point for me though. I had the choice to do 30 or 45 again, and I went for the extra. I just wanted it.
Similarly I have been really on top of my calorie tracking. Each day I've come in under budget for my eating. Several times when confronted with the opportunity to eat poorly, or over budget, I said no.
I think I know what's changed. I found my de again.
De, pronounced like "duh", is a hard concept to explain, or even understand. The Tao Te Ching (or Dao De Ching) is, loosely translated, "The book of the Way and its Power."
Saying that de is power isn't exactly right though. Over years of reading, contemplation, meditation, and mindful practice I've come to understand de to be "virtue in action."
De's power comes from applying oneself consistently and constantly in small things. It also comes from the understanding that small things are all there are. You build the Great Wall a brick at a time. You eat (or rather don't eat) a plate of french fries one at a time.
There's an amazing book about this called The Te of Piglet, by Benjamin Hoff. Piglet, Pooh's tiny friend is very, VERY powerful. He's positively LOADED with de.
It's not because he's strong, not because he doesn't get scared of things. Rather it's because even when he feels unsure of himself, he still goes about his business and does what is necessary.
As I stood in the locker room of my gym yesterday, I once again found that same familiar, powerful feeling.
It didn't matter what had come before. I would swim, and push myself, because it was what I wanted for myself, in my life, now, utterly. Fear, doubt, the past, the future all were irrelevant. All there was was this action I was intent upon doing.
Once I knew that was so, getting in the water and doing it was positively pleasurable.
I'm so grateful to have found my de about this again.