As a teenager, I read the magazine Sports Illustrated voraciously, mostly between my workouts. It was a big teacher of mine. Its pages full of photos of big, strong, fast, dominant athletes. I read about all the glory they lived with—million-dollar contracts (a million dollars was a lot of money for a pro athlete 20 years ago), adoring fans, and the hottest women. Not to mention, being featured in this magazine! The media, as we all know, has a lot to say, and it’s not always helpful. I let Sports Illustrated shape my worldview quite a bit. Life, according to Sports Illustrated, was about fame, fortune, adoration of the masses—all through size, strength, speed, domination of others, and in all ways being “the man”. The man. The only one. Better than all the rest.
Sports Illustrated also had a lot to say about men’s bodies. A cover graced by thickly muscled, no-bodyfat-at-all Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson stands out in my memory. I let images like these shape who I was supposed to be. I was convinced that the key to a good life was to be huge, jacked, ripped, strong, fast, famous, and the best.
I’ve done a lot of work over many years to release this fantasy. That the singular key to a good life is massive shoulders and winning. Wanting to take this further, I recently created a cool exercise for myself that I want to share with you. I think it will allow you to do a similar exercise for yourself.
I invented a new magazine for myself called Thriving Illustrated. It’s the magazine, with all the wisdom that I have now, that I choose as an influence for me and that I would choose for an influence for me as a teenager if I could do it all over again. The magazine is about thriving—being totally well in all ways and living a thoroughly rich life. In the last few weeks, I have thought a lot about who I’d feature in my magazine.
The last several weeks of the summer, I went blueberry picking at a local farm. The woman who co-owns the farm was always very pleasant to my friends and I. She really enjoys her work running the farm. She delights in the flowers and food all around her. She’s being herself really well. I put her in my magazine.
I have this yoga teacher who is just spectacular. She puts together super fun, super thoughtful music mixes for her classes. She remembers everyone’s name. She has a really inspiring reading to offer at the end of every class. She’s really vital, fit, and well. She runs a thriving business. I put her in my magazine.
I met this woman recently who facilitates a large dance community that I’ve recently become a part of. She’s be doing this for 10 years or so, I hear. She secures the spectacularly beautiful space, she gets tremendous teachers to lead us, and she is basically the glue that holds the whole operation together. She does it all with a smile. She’s giving a big gift to everyone who gets to be part of the community. I put her in my magazine.
I have many friends I put in my magazine. I meet people all the time I’d put in my magazine. There are beneficent, thriving people all around us! People enjoying their lives, serving others, and simply living well. They’re so happy and healthy—even without “perfect calves” and fame. I choose for them to be my influence.
So what magazine would you invent for yourself and who would be featured in it? You don’t have to allow any mainstream media to be your teacher. You can decide from within how to live well. You can choose your influences. You can custom design the magazine of your choice. How fun!
Remember your mantra for today: NOURISHING MOVEMENT, NOURISHING FOOD, NOURISHING LIFE.