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Virtue and vice, or pleasure and pain are not my heritage,
Nor sacred texts, nor offerings, nor prayer, nor pilgrimage:
I am neither food, nor eating, nor yet the eater am I—
Consciousness and joy incarnate, Bliss of the Blissful am I.

Atma Satkam (Song of the Soul), from Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar

I am looking at these people. They want me to look at them. They put themselves in a fitness magazine. See? These people were fat once, scary fat, and now they are not.

Here they are before. Here they are after.

This one does Zumba. That one is a gym rat. And this one does triathlons with her son and daughter. She had never even exercised until she was almost sixty. Yeah, this one. See? There she is before. Here she is after.

Sitting around day after day on a vinyl couch in a semi-dark room watching bad TV. Eating Funyuns and ranch dressing, Ruffles and Stouffers, Chips Ahoy. Sonic burgers in the mid-afternoon. Milkshakes. (Life is endless). Baretta, Gunsmoke, CSI, Law and Order, Jersey Shore.

And then something happened and they were no longer in before, they were on the way to after. They left the befores behind them.

This first one was a dancer in high school and college. She then had two autistic kids, which is insanely stressful and completely unfair. She was busy and exhausted. One day she had a breakdown while eating a piece of chocolate cake. She went and took a Zumba class. She said to herself, if I get down to 153 pounds, I’ll sign up for the Zumba certification course. Now she teaches at the mega-gym that publishes the fitness magazine.

The other guy, his moment came when his teenaged son tried out for varsity tennis. The guy was worried that his kid was too fat to make the team. So the dad said “Kid, you gotta get in shape.” His son said, “I will if you will.” Look at this photo, the dad is an after now. Sadly, the son is still a before. (Plenty of time.)

The third woman went to watch her son compete in a triathlon. She stood at the finish line holding a sign for him and she simply had a thought. I could do this. See? This is a photo of her on a stationary bike.

But let’s get back to misery. What does it look like? Trenches? Warfare? Mustard gas, face masks, mudholes, barbed wire. Yep. War is hell.

So is a trip to Foodtown.

Some people don’t have to deal with a cultural revolution, work camps, brainwashing, KGB, ethnic cleansing, poverty, civil war, discrimination. They get to play mini-golf and eat taffy, lick ice cream cones by the sea forever. Lucky!


Source/Inspiration: “Experience Life”