brian j plachta
Welcome Friends!
writer, spiritual mentor, speaker
by deepening your inner growth, integrating balance & discovering wholeness in your daily life.
to live the life you've imagined
I'm a passionate writer, energetic speaker, & spiritual mentor
---click here to get weekly email encouragements---
who wants to encourage you
Pump It Up!
by brian j plachta on July 5th, 2019

My buddy encouraged me years ago to join him for daily gym workouts. He’d faithfully meet me at the Y most weekdays at 6 a.m. We joked that like Hans and Frans on Saturday Night Live, we were there to “Pump it up!”

Some workouts were great. My muscles twanged like fine-tuned rubber bands, thanking me for stretching and helping them grow.

Other days were tough. My muscles screamed, “You’re killing me! Quit this insanity!”

Our workouts consisted of the pleasant tension between pain and joy. The hard work of exercise stretched, strained, and sometimes hurt like heck, yet the long-term effects of feeling healthy and strong made the daily effort worth it.

Like our physical bodies, our spiritual bodies also need daily exercise to flex and grow so they don’t become flabby. Our hearts are the spiritual parts of our being that contain our souls. They’re our lifeline to God and our core self.  

When we take time each day to connect with our inner selves through quiet times of solitude such as meditating, taking morning or evening walks, journaling, creating art, or spending time in nature, we exercise our spirits so we can listen deeply and hear the quiet voice of wisdom and truth.

Exercising our spiritual muscles has the same pleasant tension as working out at the gym. Some days we sit in solitude and feel the connection between God and our souls. The thin veil between the Divine Heart and our human hearts swooshes open. We experience love, peace, and inner guidance.

Other times, we fidget during our times of solitude. The monkey mind won’t stop its incessant chatter. We strain and stress and feel disconnected. At those times, we’re tempted to stop showing up for our soul work because we can’t see the results.

However, like going to the gym each day, if we continue our daily spiritual exercises, we eventually experience the fruit of our inner work—our connection with our core selves and with God grows stronger.

We feel blessed when a loved one gives us a hug, a client thanks us for a project well done, or a robin chirps sweetly. We stop and give thanks more frequently. And as we brush our teeth before bed, the smile winking back at us in the mirror reflects the joy taken up residence in our hearts.

On those days when the dog poops on our new carpet, a loved one criticizes our efforts, or we slip and twist an ankle, our daily routine of spiritual exercises softens our response. Instead of staying stuck in the why-me mode, we calmly clean up our pet’s mess as we realize we can be messy too; we walk away from a fight with a loved one, gently standing in the truth of knowing who we really are; and we listen to the throb of our sore ankle inviting us to slow our pace, to take time to rest and recharge.

Exercising our spiritual muscles allows us to accept the pleasant tension between life’s joy and suffering.

Joy encourages our spirits to be kind—to smile and compliment the checkout clerk who looks like she’s having a bad day; to give a word of encouragement to a struggling friend; or to visit our lonely aunt in a nursing home. And when we see the results of joy—when the love we give is returned—we’re encouraged to love and live with greater joy.

Suffering teaches our hearts that pain is also a necessary part of our spirits’ workout. When a friend says “let’s have lunch” but never returns our text to schedule it; when a co-worker goes behind our back to tattle to the boss how we’ve messed up on a project; when we give our last ounce of love to someone who fails to notice it—on those days, suffering is there to stretch our hearts to grow in unconditional love and patience.

We rarely like suffering, and sometimes we get too busy to notice love. Yet, when we learn how to Pump It Up!, ours souls move to an ever-deepening level of spiritual fitness.

—brian j plachta


Posted in Reflections    Tagged with no tags


Leave a Comment

poetry (4)
#God #blessing #contemplation #distractions #faith #father's day #father #fear #growth #i deepen #inner growth #inner peace #interruptions #peace #prayer #rise #spirituality #wholeness Arise Creator Divine God is good God loves me God revealed God with skin God's Blessing God's voice; true voice; experience God's voice God-nudge God Gurdjieff Heart Space Holy spirit I am good I love God Is God Real? Jewish Tradition New Year Now One Onieng Present Moment Quiet the Mind Resolutions Rohr Science Soul of America Soul Time addiction advent alive am I enough? animal spirts antidote awake balance believe belonging beloved bird feeding breath of God breathe breath calming the mind cats centering prayer center charisms choosing our thoughts christmas christ civility common good community connected contemplation conversations with God daily tension desire difficult people discernment divine embrace divine presence divine reading do your best dog doubts dreams drop the stones easter election embodiment embraced embrace enjoy enough eucharist exercise faith fake news false self falsehoods family fear find your voice flip the switch flow theory flow forgiveness forgive freedom gifts gratitude grow up growth grow grumpy guide happiness harmony heart mind connection heart-brake heart hear heaven held hidden holy nudges how much is enough? humanity i okay imagination imperfect incarnation injoy inner grump inner journey inner peace inner strength inner touch inner work innocence inspiration integrity joseph journey joy law of three laying down our life lectio divina lens let god let go life is good life's purpose life-giving life light of the world listen live love live love ourselves love you prayer love me time meaning meditation mentoring mentor metaphors for God mind chatter monkey mind morning mystic nature nudges nudge okay open your heart open ordinary life original blessing original sin peace phoenix plastic jesus poke politics positive practicing presence prayer of the Self prayer pray presecne presence prodigal son purpose quiet time quiet real presence reflection relationship remember resurrection retreat rhythm of life right brain right living running from God running from myself sacrament samuel screwtape scripture seeds self esteem self respect self-giving self-love self-respect self-respec self-talk separation silence simplicity solitude solomon soul's voice speak spiriitual spirit of God spiritual gifts spirituality spiritual spirit strength stroke suffering survivor talents teacher tension the voice of God the voice of the soul this moment transfigure transformation transform true self trust jesus truth unconditional love virtue voice of God voice of love voice walking meditation walking we are the second c coming of Christ what i believe whisper who is your teacher? wholeness why am i here? wisdom keeper wisdom worry wounds