I remember taking a jog with a friend from the track team while in college. Well, she was actually on the cross country squad. I was a shot put and discus thrower. Now that I’m thinking about it, I have no idea why in the hell I ever agreed to jog with her. Nonetheless, she said something on that jog that has stuck with me ever since.
We were doing campus loops (about 3 miles) and, rounding the final corner, we were presented with the last hill just before being back at the track. I was panting like a race horse all lathered up after completing the Belmont Stakes thinking to myself… ‘almost there, almost there, almost there’. It was then on this murderous hill, hearing my panting, that she effortlessly said - with full breath - how cool it was to think about why our muscles were having to work harder now on the hill. I think I actually slowed down when she said it because I was in utter disbelief that she was attempting to engage me in a conversation about Physics. Despite my lack of response, she proceeded to talk about how the acuteness of the angle of the hill versus flat Earth was magnifying the effect of gravity on our body masses causing our muscles to need to exert more force to propel us forward. Yeah. With FULL breath. And perhaps needless to say, she was a Physics major.
Now, without fail, when walking up a super steep hill, I always picture myself walking up the side of a triangle with force vectors coming out of my chest and thighs. I say all that to warn you. As an engineer, I can’t consider this month’s theme of acceleration without thinking about Physics. But just bear with me for a moment while I ‘geek out’. There’s a relatable message coming, trust me.
Acceleration, in the study of Physics, is defined as the rate at which the velocity of an object changes over time. It’s the net result of any and all forces acting on an object. My acceleration on that hill, for example, decreased as soon as the topic of Physics was introduced because I decreased the force my muscles were exerting against gravity. And that was completely fine by me because…well forget forces, I could barely breathe. And velocity. Velocity is defined by both magnitude AND direction. It is the rate of motion, or rate of change in position versus a fixed point. So velocity requires direction while acceleration defines the rate over time said velocity changes. And it can be positive or negative depending on the strength of the forces acting upon the object in question.
So if your soul, your very being, was the object…what forces are acting? Let me take a step back. What do you consider a viable force that could act on a soul? Probably not gravity or the force of a moving mac truck right? Those type forces act on physical masses. I’m talking about your soul. What about fear? Or joy? Or excitement? Or guilt? Emotions. Emotions are incredible forces that play on our souls everyday. You’ll find that behind every brilliant invention or devastating act against humanity is a wealth of emotion.
They can propel you forward, leave you stagnant, or push you into the depths of despair. Emotions can fuel a soul until it burns so strongly one can physically feel it. So let’s pretend it was my soul going up that hill and at the top of that hill was any well-intentioned goal I had set in life. The magnitude of my soul’s velocity would depend on my spiritual well-being, increased through spiritual journey and enlightenment. The forces propelling me forward, faster and faster to my goal, would be every positive emotion possible. Emotions like elation, trust, and love. And those emotions taking the place of gravity, slowing my soul’s progress or maybe even changing its direction, would be the Debbiedowner emotions like hate, shame, and jealousy.
Now where’s the beauty in all of this? Unlike gravity and speeding mac trucks that can act on physical bodies uncontrollably and sometimes unexpectantly, YOU are in complete control of the emotional forces that act on your soul. Not only this, but YOU set your soul’s velocity. YOU choose where your hill leads. And by controlling the emotional forces, YOU control how quickly you get there.
Ever feel down in the dumps? Or so frustrated you could scream? Well as soon as you become aware of those emotions pulling on you, diminish them. Or evoke some positive emotions to counterbalance them and eventually overcome them. This takes practice and by no means is it easy, but you control it all. No one can make you happy but YOU. No one can infuriate you but YOU. It’s your choice. So set your course, enrich your spirit, and, as much as possible, thrive on positive emotions to propel you forward towards any goal you may choose to set in this life.
Cassandra Worthy is a life lover, risk taker, wit injector, blogger, and chemical engineer. Her dedication spans across family, joy, experiencing the new, and all things science. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her at www.journeyinjoy.net