I am led by two quotes on what I consider the basis of what strength truly is and where it comes from.
The first, “Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will.” By Mahatma Gandhi.
The second, “Enthusiasm is the mother of all effort, and nothing great was ever achieved without it.” By Ralph Waldo Emerson.
From these two profound quotes, eager strength is a term that I discovered as a pillar in my vision as a personal trainer, athlete and human being. Fitness is built around improving strength, but its measure comes from the eagerness that a person brings with it.
Basis on inner values and unconditional love is the first aspect of eager strength. Love thy neighbor as you love thyself is a cornerstone biblical passage and commandment. Of course, it becomes difficult to love thy neighbor if there is meager strength in loving thyself. An individual cannot love anybody else further than they love themselves. Love comes not from arrogance or a selfish-centered thought process about yourself, but more so out of an acceptance for who you are; as you are.
Another aspect of eager strength is animated liveliness. By animation, I mean something like a surreal clarity of the moment, and not like a cartoon animation, to which is filtered and edited. Animated liveliness is raw and natural. The only true way I have ever been able to connect to this aspect is to get out in nature for an attunement to that environment. With this, I am able to bring it into the societal deeds I obligate myself to such as work.
What I would consider the final aspect of eager strength is innate curiosity. From an open perspective, and with a humble acceptance, our thoughts sound a lot like “What if…” and “Why not…” What if I chased my dreams? Why not go for it? What if I AM as great as I feel? Why not be amazing today? This is what resonates within our innate curiosity.
There is a redeeming quality to eager strength as I have found it to be. It is not just a physical practice, or a mental discipline, but a whole-minded way of being that helps me be settled in the presence of stressful demands inside and outside of exercise. Since it is redeeming, eager strength seems to come back around each time more subtly and provide ever more intuitive ways to be uplifting, and as result, be happy with who I am.
Trey Tompkins is a local resident who writes fitness columns for the Record-Herald.