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The Stories of Our Lives

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French writer Marcel Proust said, “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our soul blossom.”

We tend to look for the presence of grand gestures and big results in an effort to mark and celebrate our lives, and yet it’s often very small, passing moments that sneak in and steal the show. When we look back and trace our path, it’s often a glance, a smile, a laugh, a touch, or a word that shines brightly as significant in our memory. The simple interactions we have with the people who we love can be the most important sources of happiness. Our happiness doesn’t live in our success in a vacuum, it lives in the people we get to share our success with.

If that’s true, how many of us focus way too much time on “winning” at life rather than sharing it? We get drawn into the map over the territory. Fulfilling a plan becomes paramount to fulfilling our actual lives. Like if we just draw a really good map it will automatically translate to living a really good life. When we do that we spend a heck of a lot of time staring at the map as opposed to looking up at where the map is actually leading us.

Nobody knows the path any moment will take. And our lives are a novel written of these moments. The irony is it’s easy to ignore them or forget them. Each one is like gold, and there is so much gold in them hills.

Only when given the privilege of looking back does it become obvious that something was happening. Its significance can seem so banal in the moment. Over time a path may become clearer and more obvious. And yet though a path was already being drawn, no one could have see it the moment before the “moment” happened.

There are so many things that have led us here. We will never know all of them, but there are no shortage of them. Our lives can be measured against these moments like marks on a door frame added as someone grows. And it’s the nature of these moments to go unnoticed when we aren’t paying attention.

The epics of our lives are made up of the most ordinary passages, not the ones that strive to tell the whole tale all at once. There are no chapters. There is no opening introduction to prepare us or closing paragraph to wrap a life up. Our lives and its epochs begin without our knowing and end without foreshadowing. We do not see the pages of the book dwindling down to the last. Our stories are written as we collide with each moment, with each person, with each act.

The world is born in each moment. Know they are already gold in your hand. Don’t trade them for a map to a gold mine.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.

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