:: on encouragement and hope ::

encourageNational Day of Encouragement. Yes, that is real! It’s a “thing!” September 12th, in fact! It was last Friday, and I found out as I walked out of the gym from my morning workout. There was a giant calendar on the wall immediately left of the women’s locker room and I happened to glance over at it, looking for class times. I quickly scanned the calendar and looked at today’s date, September 12th. It only had one expo’ed in statement, and it read, “National Day of Encouragement.”

I walked out of the gym, beaming from ear to ear, excited that no matter how cheesy it sounded, it was a day marked on the calendar to spend a moment encouraging another human being. As most of you know, I really really like encouraging people. Like really. I love notes and cards and texts and letters. I like making food and pouring wine, and listening to others as they also listen to me share the thoughts and feelings on my mind. I really think we need more of that. Honestly. There is so much to be overwhelmed by and it can be so easy to let the weight of so many situations rest on my shoulders, it is imperative to be surrounded by genuine kind, encouraging and loving individuals. What is encouraging and motivating is the story of that which landed me at the gym on that beautiful Friday morning at 6:15am.

The previous night I watched the season premier of the Biggest Loser, on which one of my dear friends works as one of the Athletic Trainer on set. I would not consider myself a diehard fan of the show, but in this case, I wanted to see her appearances and at least watch the first episode. As I watched minute after minute, I found myself relating with these individuals, the struggle to push through moments of pain and soreness and the feeling of quitting, not just in physical fitness, but in many aspects of life. The fears, the feelings of inadequacy, the emotional roller coaster of drastic lifestyle change. I found myself crying, moved to tears by their stories of sorrow and loss and hardship and yet such powerful waves of hope. The producers of this show have done an amazing job at allowing the audience to be captured and captivated by the stories and heavy emotions of the contestants. It was such a beautiful episode, in my opinion.

As the episode ended, I found myself wishing it was not 10pm and desperately wanting to go to the gym and workout! But instead, I went to bed, gave my body some much needed rest and recovery, and hit the gym bright and early the following morning. As the previews for the coming weeks and the layout of previews for the remainder of the season aired, one of the contestants said a statement while he was standing on the scale that hit home on so many levels. He said, “ I’m starting to let go of grief, and the flip side to that is you open your life to joy.”

I have come to realize and accept that I am an extremely emotional person, so, as per usual, that statement made me well up in tears, agreeing with the contestant and empathizing with the reality that with open hands and the release of grief in a healthy time frame, I have begun to let go of grief day by day, and have been filled with more joy than I ever thought possible in this new season of life. Biggest Loser, you win at not only motivating the physical sides of health and wellness, but also the psychological and emotional sides of wellness, too. Let’s encourage one another; let’s build each other up. And let’s inspire each other to live well each and every day. We can choose to make each and every day national day of encouragement!

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