The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space , but he cannot give you his understanding.
The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space , but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.
And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.
For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.
― Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
I am a student. I always have been. I love to listen, learn, apply, teach, and repeat. The pitfall is that often, in my experience, when I come across people with a passionate message, I do not trust myself enough to listen without thinking, “They must be right and I must be wrong.”
When it comes to health and fitness and diet, how can everyone be right? So many people come on the television, or to the bus stop, or through a podcast that has the winning recipe. After years of accepting their word, applying their recipe, and flailing enough to try yet another approach (from Weight Watchers to South Beach to cleansing and beyond), I have learned something.
Today I am thanking the preachers. I am thanking them because they are so inspired by what they have tried or applied that they want to share it with the world. I am thanking them because they are great at spreading the word. I am thanking them, but I am not following them blindly anymore.
Now I hear their voices as information, but I no longer trust them more than myself. Because I don’t give them the power I once did, I am a much better listener. No matter what words they use, even if they are trying to sell me something, I hear that they are joyful because it worked for them, NOT that if I want to be joyful, I need to follow.
I have learned, most poignantly from the Italians, that there is no edict other than to feel good today. My diet and exercise regimen will never again be a prescription, an exact amount, or an exclusion. It is an ever-evolving formula laced with some pieces from many preachers.
At the center of it all is my knowledge of myself and my ability to listen and learn from a grounded place, wherever I land.