Most of us are OK with our lives being out-of-order as long as we have no desire to put it in order. In fact, we often get our Al Bundy on by fooling ourselves into thinking that we are still the person we used to be until reality hits us with a Riddick Bowe upper-cut (Shout-out to my D.C. Homie!) and reminds us that our delusion is no longer true. When confronted with this uncomfortable realization, we may initially deny or dismiss the truth or simply hope the reality disappears on its own. When it doesn’t, we start with small and relatively easy steps to change the situation, because suddenly the discomfort of the truth becomes more unbearable than the comfort of denial. Finally, if those small steps prove to not be enough, we recite a few verses from the Apostle Popeye who so famously stated, “That's all I can stands because I can't stands n'more!” Suddenly, emotions kick into gear and give us the courage to take other steps that may be a bit more difficult, but are more likely to solve the problem once and for all.
In the poem “Little Gidding,” T.S. Eliot writes, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and to know the place for the first time.” In other words, our life is a journey that doesn’t require us to go anywhere. It’s a journey without distance because we travel it within. Make no mistake–we are all on a journey, but some of our paths are simply leading us in one continuous circle. When we find ourselves overweight, absent from God and doing the same things we were doing more than 20 years ago; this is a perfect indication that our evolution has ceased and we’re not living the lives we were intended to lead.
After more than two decades in sales & marketing, I knew the key to getting folks interested in improving their total lives was to advertise the changes they would first see in their body. Let’s be clear–we live in a society where physical attractiveness trumps mental and spiritual maturity, and the majority of us are more interested in learning how we can lose 50+ lbs in less than four months, rather than strengthening our minds and growing closer to God. Just think about how many infomercials you’ve seen and radio spots you’ve heard in the past few days to get your body ripped. Now compare those to the advertisements you’ve either seen or heard focused on quieting your mind or improving your relationship with God, outside of viewing a Christian television network or listening to a Christian radio broadcast. The answer… crickets chirping.
When I tell folks I’ve lost more than 50 lbs in just four months, the first question is “What’s your secret?” When my response is God, many unknowingly change their facial expressions instantly as if to infer (Imply is what the speaker does, and infer is what the hearer does. I learned this distinction watching an episode of Law & Order), “That surely can’t be the answer.” Unfortunately, we’ve been programmed to believe that the primary reason people lose fat rapidly is the d-word. The next most popular method assumed is weight loss surgery (WLS). Third, “He must be on ‘dat stuff!” In my case, the only stuff I was on descended from Heaven like manna and my life and those around me has not been the same.
It was Saturday morning on February 26th, 2011 and my wonderful wife Angela had to meet her dad very early over in Southeast D.C. (District of Columbia). Every Saturday morning during the prior few weeks I would wake up and go running, but if I wanted to get my 4-miles in on this particular a.m., I would have to rise & shine and hit the pavement before the sun had even yawned. I had logged many miles on this same route consistently over the past few weeks, but on this particular morning things would never be the same. About a mile into the run, I entered into a transcendental zone where I would travel hundreds of yards and not know how I had gotten there. The single transcending thought that had dominated my mind during each pounding stride was simply:
"You have to write a book titled, ‘Body, Mind & Spirit.’"
"You have to write a book titled, ‘Body, Mind & Spirit.’"
Usually after running four miles I would be winded and my muscles would be stiff, but one of the most incredible things about this unforgettable run was that I was not winded at all after my last stride! In fact, I felt as refreshed, as if had just gotten out of bed after a very restful sleep. Looking back on this life-changing run from a heightened spiritual perspective, I had received an anointing.
Upon entering the house, the first thing I told Angela was, "Baby, I think I'm going to write a book." Perhaps she may have thought I had slipped and hit my head, but her response was rather encouraging and she even brought a book home from the grocery store later that day that provided some valuable insight into my task at hand. My help mate took the very first step in the incredible journey that my wonderful family would later take as one.
Unfortunately, like most good ideas, doubt and negativity began to enter my mind as the day went on, but for every reason I may have thought of why I shouldn't invest the time, energy and money into writing and publishing this guide, 20 reasons emerged why I should. I've long believed in the power of speaking things into existence, so I immediately posted my public proclamation in the Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening Facebook group (please look for us and ask to join) and vowed to donate one-half of all revenue (not profit but revenue!) generated from the sale of the book to my new church home of Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International located in Lansdowne, Va. I kind of felt like Moses who, despite his speech impediment, God allowed to do great things. God sent Aaron to Moses and I truly believe He sent me the wonderful folks in my Facebook group to offer assistance, encouragement and various perspectives.
So what is this guy talking about?
You see, since January 3rd, 2011 and that life-changing run on February 26th, 2011, I had already lost 30 lbs of fat. At the time I sat down to write Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening on April 1st, 2011, I had lost a total of 43 lbs. That’s 43 lbs in three months! People simply couldn’t believe that I had lost such a significant amount of fat in just a few short weeks and I’m sure most were convinced that I would inevitably gain the majority of it back–and then some. What most people didn’t realize is that I had totally undergone a change of mind. I had an amazing epiphany of how the body, mind & spirit were all connected and that we would never truly accomplish any lasting fat loss objectives if we didn’t:
1. Put God first and accept the fact that fat loss needs to be for the Glory of God and not the vanity of man if we expect it to be lasting.
2. Realize diets should be considered the d-word because the only lasting results they yield are the eternal feelings of failure.
3. Learn new ways to focus and strengthen the mind, as well as the body to resist the inevitable urges to return to bad eating habits and an unhealthy way of life.
4. Accept the fact that improving body, mind & spirit is not a destination but a lifelong journey that will continue until God calls us Home.
To date, I’m proud to say that I’m now more than 50 lbs lighter, I have found a new church home for my entire family, and have found ways to quiet and center my mind in the midst of the daily chaos that attacks us all. In addition to the personal success, my life has been a source of inspiration for a number of family members and friends. Even more, God has allowed me to chronicle much of the information I’ve read, lived, and observed into Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening that will hopefully inspire others to either continue or begin a journey towards total wellness in their life and the lives of those around them.Each of us has a unique story that has been steeping in our soul for far too long. When we get the opportunity to pour that story into another’s vessel, we should find solace in that single act of kindness. Therefore, when you get a chance to share your story with others, please don’t hesitate. You could be the answer to someone else’s problem. For each of our stories is a simple pebble tossed into the ocean of humanity, and we can only dream that a tsunami of change will emerge in the lives of our unknown brethren on a distant shore.
About the Author: James Hackley is an author, inspirational speaker, and a philanthropist who earned a B.S. degree in Physics from Longwood College and an M.S. degree in Engineering from the University of Virginia. He's the founder of Omega Consulting Enterprises, chaplain of a local chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and faithfully attends Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International in Lansdowne, Va. His latest book, Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening can be purchased by visiting him at www.jameshackley.com , www.Amazon.com, and http://www.barnesandnoble.com.