The Secret to Life

I got to appreciate a tiny miracle from afar yesterday.

I saw an old, special friendship that had slowly begun to erode and collapse over this past year (between two people I love very much!) start to find it’s way back to the most beautiful, sincere and unexpected place of healing and repair.

The crucial elements at play were humility, honesty, and the willingness of both parties to sit in the discomfort of the conflict.

The mess of misunderstanding.

The unavoidable hurt.

And, the fear of rejection.

All for the sake of peace and true relationship.

I was struck by the courage they both showed.

Each willing to take the risk of forever losing the connection, in the name of truth and love.

There is genuine bravery and faith that it takes to show up and say,” Hey, let’s not fake this, or tip toe around this anymore. Let’s just get uncomfortable and figure it out, or at least let each other have the chance at understanding…before we call this thing for good.”


It got me thinking about this past year, and the same kind of damage that some of us have seen and experienced also.

Damage seen and unseen.

Not only within ourselves and various personal circumstances or relationships, but also as a larger body of people living together, trying to figure it all out.

Collectively, on the worlds stage, showcasing the depths of a tragic divide that we can all feel, and for all to see.

I was truly inspired to remember that all HOPE is not lost.

But it can most definitely still feel like it these days.


I’ve learned over the years on my fitness journey that the secret magic thing that “WORKS” and creates results that make everyone ask what the secret is…is actually just the little, seemingly insignificant changes that are made each day.

The little habits that we begin to create and adopt over time.

The way we commit.

The way we create consistency, and keep showing up to each work out, or each meal, despite how hard or uncomfortable it is.

Especially in the beginning.

I don’t know about you, but I am definitely a go big or go home kind of gal. (No surprise there, I’m sure.) It was really hard for me in the beginning, to have to admit to myself that some of the things that I thought I could do, or should have been able to do…I was not yet able to do.

I had to begin MUCH slower and much less glamorous and bad ass than I had hoped and dreamed up in my mind.

It was very humbling and humiliating to realize I couldn’t just jump on a treadmill and powerwalk for 30 minutes as a young mom in my early thirties. My first time in the gym, the longest I could stand to walk was 11 minutes. And that was pushing myself for the sake of my pride!

(I wrote about that first time here: https://www.mandiholden.com/restroom-of-reverence/ )

The truth is, there would be MANY moments like that during the first few months, and beyond.

In fact, I STILL find myself in this struggle at times. When I drift from being consistent and have to go back to the basics. Strip down to the bare bones and begin again. I have accepted that it is also a part of the journey.

These are the sobering doses of reality that put me in check. The battle of having to ACCEPT where I was or am, and either choose to keep going anyway in hopes of creating change, or, throw in the towel and go back to how I was living before.

Which is not an option.


The thing that I’ve learned since then is that the beginning is CONSTANT.

Cyclical.

We begin again and again.

In all things.

In ALL areas of our lives.

Each time, having to remember the discomfort and awkwardness of starting over.

And choosing to either stay in the thing in hopes of creating change, or throw in the towel once more.


Today I have hope in the bigger picture because of the faith I have in the small things.

The small gesture of an honest apology and conversation…between two humans seeking to understand each other in love…could be the VERY thing that creates a changed world, if we all moved together into that space of willingness that I saw yesterday.

But therein lies the dilemma, right?

The space of willingness seems to be one fiercely guarded by our egos and pride.

The same pride that would have convinced me that 11 minutes on the treadmill wasn’t worth it, so what’s the point?

The point is…NOTHING is ever wasted.

We can start over, and begin again as many times as we want.

The small wins will always add up.

That is the magical secret.

Each choice we make either moves us closer to where we want to be or further from the mark…but it’s never hopeless as long as we keep realizing we have the choice.

And, the risk to step outside of the safety and protection of our pride is eternally worth it…because love always wins.

May we muster the courage we need to make whatever small steps in our lives that are calling to us.

The hard conversations. The risk to forgive and let go. The fear of looking dumb or having to admit you were wrong.

Or just simply releasing the belief that it’s pointless to have hope that things can change.