Fit for Joy: Fitness of The Heart
A 81,7-word completed manuscript
Nonfiction: health and spirituality, self-help, fitness, mind/body/spirit
1- Approx. 100 copies sold. These are pre-orders from social media followers, book campaign supporters and friends. They have agreed to wait for their copies when the book is published; traditionally or otherwise. I have been keeping them updated about the publishing process.
2- KICKSTARTER book campaign was successfully funded.
3- Some of my articles have been published on:
4- The FIT FOR JOY CENTER is a project that has been approached by some sponsors.
6- The Fit for Joy MEETUP group in New York has more than 250 members combined: Manhattan West -Manhattan East and Astoria.
* Audience are people between ages of 25 to 55 looking to combine fitness with spirituality. The "Fitness of the Heart" program has been successfully presented in our gatherings.
7- New BLOG articles are posted every week.
8- NEWSLETTERS are delivered to approx. 800 people.
9- I am have been studying Tibetan Buddhism at KARMAPA KTD TEMPLE in New York and meditation at DECHEN CHOLING, a Tibetan center in France.
Thank you for your attention and consideration.
New York, NY
ABOUT FIT FOR JOY
How can you integrate fitness and spirituality?
How do you exercise a healthy and joyful heart despite a painful past?
What does it mean to be truly healthy?
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.
Valeria Teles was born in Brazil and grew up in a small town before moving to the United States. She is a certified personal trainer and winning fitness competitor with more than twenty years into fitness, both as a professional and an enthusiast. Her background includes performance in dance and music. She was a rumba Flamenco dancer for Gloria Estefan’s venue in Miami. Valeria is a Buddhist and vegetarian. She has been studying and practicing Tibetan Buddhism for the past two years at the Karmapa KTD Temple in Woodstock, NY and Shambhala Center in France.