STRETCH – Part 1

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I not only stretched between sets as I lifted weights, but I also stretched at the end of my workout.  I had stretched beyond self-imposed limits by hitting the gym at 5:30 AM for the last few weeks.  I work out most days, but I seldom had sufficient time to do my best in the gym.
I finally regained re-commitment to the steady course of showing up for me, and I love it!
By stretching at the end of my workout for 15-20 minutes, I also felt the restoration from the tightness of convention, fear and judgment
that had kept me in a box of weakness.
I felt my strength returning.
I felt so good that I realized I have to do even more stretching.  I have to stretch during and after my workout, and do even more stretching for life in general.  Stretching is reaching beyond our boxes.
 Stretching is stepping into the realm of the unknown.  Stretching is the pure possibility of growing into our divine potential.
When I think of stretching, I can’t help but think of Mrs. Ernestine Shepherd (featured in these photos), an 80-year old body builder: the oldest female body builder.  Her courage, her dedication, her diligence, her determination, her discipline, her consistency, her strength, her beauty, her positive energy, her grace, and her love are an example for all to aspire to.
I want to share her creed, an affirmation that I also plan to repeat everyday, as I stretch into the glory of the woman God has chosen me to be.
“I promise myself to be so strong
that nothing can disturb my peace of mind,
to talk health, happiness and prosperity
to every person I meet –
to make all my friends feel that
there is something worthwhile in them,
to look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism
come true, to think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best,
to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others,
as I am about my own,
to forget the mistakes of the past,
and press on to the greater achievements
of the future,
to wear a cheerful expression at all times,
and give so much time to improving myself
that I do not have time to criticize others,
to be too large to worry,
too noble to anger,
too strong to fear,
too happy to permit the presence of trouble,
to think well of myself
and to proclaim this fact to the world –
not in loud words,
but in great deeds,
to live in the faith,
that the whole world
is on my side
so long as I am true
to the best that is in me.”

How awesome it is to receive this incredible blessing from Ms. Ernestine, a role model for us all – who stretched beyond pain,stretched beyond age, stretched beyond high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and frustration to get up from her mat and walk, demonstrating to everyone that we are always better than even our best.


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