Day 12: Challenging Yourself for a Day
Make thou an effort that thou mayest take thy place under the sun and receive an abundant share of its dazzling light.
(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 56)
The reality of any kind of transformation plan is that it requires a great deal of effort. You cannot become fit by sitting on a couch. I was watching a recent interview with Li Na, one of the best women’s tennis players in the world, where she was describing the workouts she was doing to prepare for this season. When her husband came to visit, he said to her that he was tired just watching her work out. Sooner or later all change requires a strong commitment to effort and action. Why not put in a maximum effort rather than a small one. The main reason we don’t do more is that at the end of the day it is very tiring and we end up with a lot of soreness.
It turns out that when you are feeling the burn in your body from a work out, it means that you are becoming stronger and more capable. Every change worth going for requires big days with a lot of effort. However, just like athletes you don’t have to do the big huge days everyday. The days where you train hard and long reap a great deal of benefit, but if we have to face them everyday, then after awhile we just burn out and destroy our bodies and spirits. Change does not means that you have to change the same amount everyday. One day you work out extremely vigorously and then the next day you have a mild one and then a moderate one. The big days teach you a great deal so they are really worth doing. When people train for a marathon, they usually have one long run a week that may be twice as long as their other runs. Then they have a relaxed day.
When you think of change in a temporal way by varying the amount of effort, then it becomes very manageable. The more you vary from huge to small to moderate the more you increase your capacity to manage larger amounts of change.
The exercise today is to plan for a big day where you make a lot of effort and get very exhausted by the end of the day. The next day can be more reflective.