I was asked why I am in the gym between 4:30–5:30 every morning. To which I replied, “Because I’m worth it.” Let me say that again, because I think many people underestimate their worth. Because I’m worth it. I always tell the story that in my 20’s, I worked out to look good naked. Now pushing 60, I work out to stay healthy. Truth be known, I hate working out. But I do it because I know what it is like to live with pain and disease. I do it because, people depend on me. And lastly I do it because, this is how I set the table.

All those bad and painful experiences you’ve been through, they’re just setting the table. The table is your life. And what you place on the table is of importance. For me, working out 7 days a week, is an affirmation of wholeness of the table. It is the same reason why I don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, eat meat, consume caffeine and so on. I know that is a little extreme, but so is life. I demand to live my very best life. Oh sure, a lot of people say they’re living their best life. And maybe they are. But my best life includes a spiritual richness and acts of service.

The pain that I have been through. The pain that you have been through, should be reason enough for you to take actions to make the most of your life. Staying stuck and dwelling on past pains, does not feed you a healthy meal at your table. It’s like you have a beautiful garden outside with fresh food available, but you opt not to feed yourself healthy food. Instead, you eat old food because you’re not willing to put the work in. Or that relationship that you’re in that drives you crazy. You’ve got to set the table with healthy choices. If not, that too will become stale and no longer feed you on a personal level.

Pain is an unpleasant process. But, it can also be the first step in setting a beautiful table. Trust me, in 35 years working in mental health, I have seen some and been a part of some horrific things. But the flip side of that coin is, I have also seen more miracles that I can count. And every act that anyone takes to propel them to a state of wholeness, is a miracle. YOU CAN OVERCOME ANYTHING.

I like to brag on my wife. There are many reason as to why, but simply put, she is the strongest person I know. She has been through 8 life altering surgeries and she has never flinched. Neither did she flinch, when we lost all of our money, my business and our 7 houses. And if that weren’t enough, she didn’t break when we lost our daughter to addiction. The other side of that is, she was my strength when I lost my health and was in bed for the better part of 4 years. You must cultivate your mind game. Learn to go to that place where you realize that everything is possible. Bad experiences don’t make a bad life. A bad attitude does.

So set your table…with good things. And while you’re at it, be mindful of who you let sit at it. As for me and my remaining years, if you ain’t trying, you won’t be dining…at my table. I’m not better than you. My life has entirely been about service. So in the confines of my house and at my table, only strength and love will be served.

I am a retired crisis counselor of 20 years, and have spent the last decade working as both a Life Coach and Hypnotherapist.