A couple months ago, I made a decision to lose a few pounds. This commitment led me to changing my diet, getting a trainer, and walking at least four to five days a week. It’s been quite the journey since I have never before fully embraced and taken on such an endeavor. That being said, this past weekend was very interesting for me. As per my recent birthday request, my children entered me into the Ambassadors for Sustained Health (ASH) Bash 10K! Specifically, my requested gift was to participate in a wellness-minded event and especially one that advocates for a cause bigger than ourselves. What greater gift could I ask for?
Originating as a one-city celebration, ASH Bash has grown to a full-scale, annual cross country event that celebrates and raises awareness of their mission; believing that health is not just about medical care, but of a daily, global responsibility for getting and keeping people healthy holistically. Through 10K Nation’s initiative, they are also working to meet their goal to reach 10,000 ailing people in Kenya at the ASH Wamuini Community Center by the end of 2016.
The start and finish point of the event was held at Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in New York City, continuing southbound along the Hudson River. I instantly fell in love with the atmosphere—the beautiful breeze as I moved along the path, an inexplicable, mutual energy among the sea of people around me, and the breathtaking colors that set a remarkable silhouette against New Jersey at sunset. I posed for a quick photo at The Statue of Liberty, took in the assortments of sailboats docked along the shoreline ports, grinned at lovers enjoying hand-holding, and simply drooled over the cutest dogs I have ever seen. Not to mention having my own little pooch (Prince) alongside with my daughter was quite enjoyable as well. I didn’t think the company could get any better when I was joined on my last lap around the Hudson by Amy Yu, CFO of ASH and Sophie, another warm-hearted volunteer of ASH.
…my requested gift was to participate in a wellness-minded event and especially one that advocates for a cause bigger than ourselves.
After my beautiful day at ASH BASH, I unwound at home. The next day, I prepared myself for a quick workout at the gym as I would later be occupied by my son and two grandsons; little did I know that my son had very different plans for me! Having served two terms in Iraq and gained quite the fitness expertise, he instantly recruited me to his own version of boot camp.
Beginning with the treadmill for warm up, followed by the Stair Master and some pushups, I was crying out in total defeat. My son looked at me and said, “Ma, I don’t feel sorry for you because you can do this.” My grandsons laughed in hysteria from the sidelines. After managing some crunches and pull ups, I was ready to go home. “One more exercise, Ma,” he said. Reluctantly, I agreed and followed him to … the heavy rope training.
Looking easier than it is, my son shocked my muscles into action with tons of pulse-pounding stunts to ramp up my heart rate and strengthen my core. Common movements include waves, slams, throws, spirals, and whips. All of these involve swinging your arms up and down (or side to side) in some manner for timed intervals. To maximize effects, one has to focus on maintaining the intensity of the motion from start to finish, no matter how much it burns; and, boy, is it definitely going to burn! Along with increasing strength, power and endurance, the constant motion of rope battling will astound you with a muscle-toning, metabolic workout unlike any other. You’ll also be shocked at how fast a few quick whips can get you to your maximum heart rate.
My son looked at me and said, “Ma, I don’t feel sorry for you because you can do this.”
At first, after 15 seconds, I could do no more. My son’s voice repeated the following in my ears: “Ma, you got this, you can do this.” He pushed me to think past the pain, to my journey. He reminded me of relationships gone sour and how complete I am today because of them; reminded me of losing my job and the new opportunities I’m faced with today; the fire in my home and the new home being rebuilt. Then he told me to look at how I have been blessed: with my children, my grandchildren, and those blessings yet to come. And what would you know—I completed my minute and then went on to do two more laps! My son had pushed me through myself—beyond my fears, my doubts, my worries—then sealed my workout with a kiss on my cheek, saying, “Ma, I told you you could do it!” I chuckled as I thought back to the years when I was at his football games, basketball tournaments, and wrestling matches, cheering him on with similar words of encouragement; and now the tables had turned.
That moment made me reconsider my life with a closer look. Earlier in the week, my brother reminded me of how going through something physically brings attention to something deeper within us. My whole weekend experience was such a colossal and apparent reminder of how I always want to be pushed toward supporting a greater purpose with my life. When I’m called to do something bigger, my soul says, “Don’t go to your resting place, Phyllis; you got this! The job is a big one and you may be uncomfortable, but you can do this.”
With the pleasant, natural beauty and interpersonal energy surrounding me at ASH BASH, it was easy to take off and forget my resting place! It was the later workout, amongst family, that I failed to recognize as an equal feat! It may have been void of the colors in a skyline sunset and the kind, warm faces that gently encouraged me to go on, but it was tough love! Raw encouragement! Framed by a stern face that loves me even more than those along the Hudson. With the on-looking eyes of my blossoming grandchildren, I regained perspective of my purpose. And in the humble exchange of roles between a mother and her grown son, I was encompassed by newfound fervor!
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