Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.
- Gautama Buddha
More than twenty years into the fitness lifestyle, I realized a truth that the heart had always mastered: that a fit, healthy body is not as important as a happy, serene mind.
In Fit for Joy, I share with you how my relationship with the body, exercise, and food changed following a period of major depression. I became deeply unhappy despite experiencing the most successful moments of my career and being in the best shape I had ever been. I began to question the meaning of fitness and health, which led me to explore the depths of my own heart. I left the fitness industry behind and embarked on a journey that would take me from New York back to my roots in Brazil, into Miami, and would finally “end” in Paris. I learned to have self-love without selfishness; to recognize what behaviors are motivated by love rather than fear; how closely connected my past was to my present; and that love, joy, and peace are our true nature. This new understanding not only gave a deeper meaning to my life, but also changed it in ways I could never have imagined. The insights I gained can help we turn our physical existence into an adventure toward a life of freedom, happiness, and compassion, too!
Fit for Joy connects physical activities with spirituality and enjoyment, and psychological processes with nature. The heart is where joy resides, and the body and mind are the bridges we can use to access it. A life without joy is like owning a home but living just outside it. In this book, I share how we can turn exercise and diet into enjoyable, yet meaningful activities. Healthy lifestyles can make our human journeys more interesting and enjoyable when used as supplements to an already joyful heart.
Together, we will also explore the topic of forgiveness, but from a much deeper perspective. The links between a painful past, fitness, and joy became clear to me after a period of inner turbulence. I knew that most compulsive behaviors had their roots in traumatic experiences, but I never connected my obsession with fitness to my inner pain. My fitness habits, to a great extent, were a form of escapism. I rejected dealing with pain from my past by building an image of health. Unnecessary suffering was the primary fuel for every single visit and lift I performed at the gym. The more I dwelled in my past, the more I needed external relief and heavier doses of distraction. Fitness became my numbing drug.
Without a doubt, exercising and eating healthily are good practices. This, however, can also become a trap of sustaining habits out of fear, turning exercise and diet into negative forces and compounding the root problem as we live for our bodies through abusive mechanisms. It can cause disharmony within the heart when we forget to recognize that love and kindness is what life is all about.
I found that one of the best ways to give profound meaning to life—almost instantly—is to treat the body with respect and compassion. Most of us unconsciously transfer all the psychological pain we cannot handle on a mental level to our bodies. We develop eating disorders and obsess over exercise as a way to recreate and relive a sort of past-based life in the present moment.
Happiness and serenity have a lot to do with being in the present moment. However, many of us do not achieve this state because we dwell in the past or become preoccupied with how to escape it by living for a “better” future. When we project or stake our happiness on the hypothetical achievement of a future circumstance, we sabotage our ability to be happy in the present and reinforce a self-destructive mindset that will likely persist into the magical “future” we are hoping for. To release ourselves from this cycle, we must shift our lives toward a spiritual reality that can transform our pain into joy.
True love and kindness don’t come from a healthy body or a rational mind that dwells in negative thoughts and memories; they come from a much subtler reality I call the “heart”. There is much to say about the unkind reality created by the rational mind which ignores much of the heart’s reality in most culture structures. The rational mind is a great servant that becomes dangerous when turned into a master—the heart is the only master that can create a kind and healthy reality.
The limited physical reality most of us live in is a painful one. We entertain ourselves with achievements, pleasures, and excitements, but also suffer dissatisfaction and disappointments, confusion, and lack of wisdom in the face of sickness and death. It’s hardly fun to dwell in the past, worry about the future, and constantly fight to maintain what we think we have, or to acquire what we believe we lack. This kind of worldly life is an endless marathon toward suffering, but it can be replaced with joy when we access the truth inside our own hearts.
After investing for so many years in physical and psychological health, I finally realized that true health comes from knowing the depths of our own hearts and the nature of life. With this knowledge, all my external searches for happiness and peace ended, and a joyful celebration began. We don’t need to find the way back home when we realize that leaving home was only a dream.
THE BOOK IS FOR ANYONE WHO...
- Is searching for experiences that combine physical and emotional health of the heart as a foundation for an authentic life based on love.
- Feels the call to express the truth in your heart.
- Knows we are born to be joyful and healthy as a whole: body, mind and heart!
- Is aware that to love is why we are here but hasn't found a way to open the heart and express it.
- Is anxious and depressed living a life that doesn't fit the soul, and is searching for self-development and spiritual growth.
FIT FOR JOY PRESENTS and OFFERS:
- A holistic approach to fitness through creative and spiritual practices for the experience of self-knowledge, health and joy.
- Personal true stories of a heart in search of true expression – the challenges, the triumphs, the love, the wonder, the joy – from a small town in Brazil to New York City, I tell a story of strength, hope, love and courage.
- Compelling health ideas such as “knowing oneself to love oneself” and “transforming the fear of death into a life of purpose.”
- Ideas of how romantic relationships can become a door to spirituality.
- The Fit for Joy Fitness Center – a project in progress which readers will be contributing to its realization. The Fit for Joy Center is my vision for the experience of feeling alive alongside others!!
- The vital importance of living a life guided by the heart.
- You will be able to identify the connection between fear, anxiety, unhealthy habits and the matters of the heart.
- You will learn through my ideas of health and spirituality that listening to your heart is an elemental practice for joy and peace.
- A variety of personal true stories will encourage and inspire you to move forward in your life. They may also help you to overcome the fear that takes you away from the path of transformation and joy.
To be healthy is to be loving.
Please check back for publication date.