Building Your Stamina


Anybody else ready to be done with all the uncertainty and the stress and just go cool out under a tree for the next few months? I know I am!! But, let’s face it, we’re in this high stakes time for the foreseeable future. Corona, financial instability, political differences, and racial injustices aren’t going anywhere any time soon. What these times require is stamina.

A time when I had what felt like a similarly epic invitation to develop stamina was in the the ninth grade, when a lot of things happened in my life at once (can you see the thinly veiled shock in my eyes in my ninth grade school picture above?). My mom and her husband divorced, my grandfather died, and my mom and I decided to move from Oklahoma (where we were living) to Alabama (where my grandmother was living, now on her own). We actually moved into her house, three generations of single ladies, all of us in mourning for different reasons.

On top of that, the switch from the arid climate of Oklahoma to the semi-tropical one of coastal Alabama triggered my allergies in a huge way, and for the first three months we lived there, I was extremely stuffed up, which made my voice sound funny. My new classmates teased me about that and about being a Yankee (even though Oklahoma isn’t exactly the Northeast, but hey, what’s accuracy to a 14 year old?). Every morning before school I did not want to go. At all. Ugh, it was brutal! I can look back now, though, and see that it taught me a ton about weathering unwanted changes, and learning how to adapt, and make friends. It raised my stamina and helped make me more resilient.

There’s definitely an initial stage to unexpected and unwelcome change where it doesn’t quite feel like your feet are beneath you. It’s off-putting, but it’s also a little exhilarating, like being on roller skates that you’re not very good at managing and going a little too fast. You can almost feel your hair blowing back and you don’t have a lot of time to think about your situation–you’re just trying not to fall down. (In my case, I was trying desperately to grow out my feathered mullet that was so cool in Oklahoma and bulk up my preppy wardrobe of polo shirts and add a bead necklaces as fast as I could!)

In 2020, for me at least, that fast and furious period came in March and April when it felt like reality was changing every day. Then, at some point, it settled in that this change is sticking around.

When that happens it’s a big invitation to have an attack of resistance – you know, when you think no no no, and why me, and how much longer? And you get irritable, sullen, maybe pissed, maybe feeling sorry for yourself.

At it’s heart, resistance is an unwillingness to accept reality. But here’s the real opportunity: When you keep moving forward despite your resistance, it’s purifying.

Now, if you’ve ever gotten a facial where they squeeze each pore to extract whatever gross stuff might be living in there, you know that purification can feel pretty unpleasant, but it will pass. Maybe not as quickly as you or I would like, but it will pass. We can count on that, because nothing sticks around forever.

To help you stay strong now, I interviewed my favorite nutritionist, Mary Sheila Gonnella of Occidental Nutrition, (whose food is so yummy and her approach so wise and so loving) about how to eat for resilience. She shared her three best tips for turning every mealtime into an opportunity to build your reserves and your stamina on today’s episode of How to Be a Better Person. Click the image below to open up a player and listen!

Mary Sheila has a great YouTube channel

> I am subscribed and recommend you subscribe too for tips on building vitality and awesome, inspiring recipes.

Keep thinking of how good it will feel when we get to the other side of this- whenever we get to the other side of this- when you’ll know you persisted despite discomfort. May we all uncover a resiliency that perhaps we didn’t know we had. We’ve all got reserves that we generally don’t think too much about—consider this your chance to discover what else you’re capable of. We will be so much stronger on the other side.


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