Mantra for Strength

justfortoday mantra strength

Dwell not upon thy weariness, thy strength shall be according to thy desire. - Arab Proverb


In high school, I decided to become a vegetarian. At first, I was terrified and overwhelmed by the prospect of never eating meat again, but I realized that I didn't have to make such a large commitment at all. All I needed to do was to commit to not eating meat for that particular day.

So, every morning when I'd wake up, I'd ask myself to make that little promise. I always had the ability to tell myself, "Just for today. Tomorrow, if you really want meat, you can have it, but leave that decision until then." Invariably, I would wake up the next day renewed in my resolve and free of the desperate cravings. That mentality got me through the first few months until I stopped craving meat at all. I maintained the habit for 3 years, until I discovered in college it wasn't for me.

Lately, I've found myself faced with another seemingly insurmountable obstacle: Real Life.

Every day, it's a struggle to stay on the ball, to stay focused, to pursue opportunities, to network, to try to build an empire. It feels like if I let up for one day, I lose all my momentum and spend the entire day lying around reading historical fantasy (currently reading The Moon and the Sun, by Vonda McIntyre). On days when it's going well, I'm energetic and laser-focused, deftly juggling all my tasks and domains, moving forward in my goals, eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, giving attention to my relationship, cooking, preparing for the rest of the week. It's like I'm superhuman.

The problem is, sustaining that level of discipline seems impossible. It takes so much emotional and mental strength, and I feel the constant threat of exhaustion looming over me. Inevitably, I'll get halfway through the day and realize that I have to do all this again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, otherwise inertia will catch up. So I just give up, waiting for a day when I'll have everything together, hoping I'll hit a winning streak for months on end (which looks ridiculous when I actually write it out).

Then I remembered how I handled being a vegetarian, and I was reminded of a manta taught to me by my wonderful friend Pamela, a coach who combines fitness training with metal and emotional development. At one of her yoga classes, she introduced me to a mantra that began every line with, "Just for today...". That really resonated with me, because I knew that I could commit to anything for the next 24 hours.

In that light, I came up with a mantra for strength one day while doing my morning exercises staring into the rising sun. I present it here:

Today, I choose to be strong.

Today, I choose to stand up for my principles and to stand firm by my values.

Today, I will not allow myself to become victim to my weaknesses or insecurities, or those of others.

Today, I will direct my life in the direction I wish to grow.

Today, I choose to have faith in myself, to only express my best traits.

Today, I choose to believe I am capable of great things.

Today, I do not need to accommodate my laziness, my fatigue, or my insecurity.

Photo credit: Rocketpack Photography