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  • Writer's pictureKelly Neff

Climbing Higher

It was wonderful to wake up to beautiful blue skies and sunshine this morning. My normal behavior on a day like today would be to pull the covers back over my head and stay in bed, but that was not the case this morning. Today marks two years since losing Randy. It is a sad day indeed, one that could send me tumbling right back down the mountain I am working so hard to climb.

Today is very different than this date last year. There is more to it than just being distanced from it by another year's passage of time. Time does not, in fact, heal wounds. However, the sharp edges of grief that inflicted the pain do begin to smooth out a little bit with each passing year. It still hurts a lot, but the intensity of the pain moves from being sharp and excruciating to a dull, but ever-present pain.

If you have lost someone you love, then you understand exactly what I am talking about. This kind of pain has the power to paralyze you and keep you from moving forward with life. There is a time to mourn, but there is also a time to push onward.

This has been one of the most difficult hurdles in my life, but I want you to know it is possible to grow through the pain. It is possible to stand up and take small, steady steps until you can walk once again. You will undoubtedly walk with a limp for the rest of your days but learning to push through the pain to walk again is the only way to find hope and happiness.

It does not dishonor the one you have lost to pursue life with laughter, peace, and joy. The strange thing I have discovered is that it is possible to experience joy even in the midst of deep anguish. It seems illogical that these two emotions can coexist, but that is not the case, my friend, they can, and they do, if you will let them.

I could've chosen to do nothing as I have in the past and allowed the pain of this day to creep up, swallow me whole, and hold me like a prisoner in a pit of darkness. But instead of allowing this day to move in on me unopposed like a predator about to devour its unsuspecting prey, this year I decided to go on the offensive and do some strength training in advance.

It occurred to me that I could train and build my mental muscles ahead of time just like I would do to prepare my body before heading out to climb a 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado. If I could increase my mental strength, then maybe I could increase the odds that I could remain standing this time and keep climbing instead of tumbling back down the mountain, or worse yet, falling off a cliff!

I began working hard to grow my mind in April and I was reminded that we cannot separate our minds, our bodies, and our emotions. All three are intertwined and connected in ways we often don’t recognize. Weakness in any one area will ultimately affect the strength capabilities of the other two. It dawned on me that I could work on building the strength of my mind all I wanted, but if my body was weak, there would be limits on how far I could grow the strength of my mind.

So, I decided to create my own 30-Day Better Mind & Body Challenge on May 1st, and I will complete this challenge on May 31st. I decided to do this in preparation for today, May 25th, because I don’t want to go backward anymore. I told my kids they had to do it with me because the odds of completing something like this are much better when you do it with someone.

That’s when it hit me…TOMTogether we can Overcome the Mountains we face! I knew this could help other people too, so I created a private Facebook group and posted the 30-Day Better Mind & Body Challenge so that others could join. There are 11 of us currently doing this challenge together and it means the world to me to see others taking steps to grow with me.

The challenge is to spend 30 minutes a day reading or listening to material that will grow your mind and to spend at least 10 minutes a day doing something to build strength in your body. This challenge is changing my life in ways I never imagined!

I plan to repeat this challenge three times each year in the months of January, May, and September. I chose these three months because they are my biggest hurdles on the calendar each year. These three months will continue to knock me down and set me back unless I do something to change that.

Facing this day will never be easy, but this year I feel stronger mentally and physically because I have been intentional about training and strengthening those areas. I actually feel good about myself, not in an arrogant way, but a healthy and confident way, something I can't say I've ever truly felt before.

I'm looking forward to climbing higher up that mountain and seeing all of the amazing things that life still has to offer!

Instead of going backward and allowing my mind to dwell on thoughts about all of the things I will never get to experience with Randy, I'm choosing to focus on being thankful for what I have had and what I do have. Being intentional about building both mental and physical strength is taking me to a new level and it can do the same for you!



FYI- Please consider joining me on September 1st for the next challenge. I will post about it when it gets closer, so be sure to keep an eye out for sign-ups in August. Remember that Together we can Overcome even the most daunting Mountains!

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