My Dream was over...or had it just begun?
copyright Justinian Miller

I had the positive force of my light guiding me on October 9, although you wouldn't have known it by looking at my face in the early afternoon or that day. I was at the Eastern USA Bodybuilding competition as a competitor with the memory of my old friend, Kenny, in my heart. It was a show I would win in his departed memory, and in front of many friends and family who knew him well.

The prejudging had started; this is where the scoring takes place. The main show is at night and has a larger audience. This is for crowd entertainment and the athlete awards are then presented. I arrived backstage and began to prepare for the battle. My fears that morning were right! As I primed my body, I looked in the mirror and it confirmed my fear that I had not recovered from my subcutaneous (under the skin) water retention that occurred two days prior to the show from my carb loading process. I recovered some, but never regained my top condition.

My mindset was that if I lost to someone better than my best, that would be fine. My biggest conflict was that I messed up and let myself be beaten. Sure, the guys that had placed ahead of me were good, but I knew in my heart that I was off. I thought I had gotten third or fourth. (I ended up in fourth place.) I was unable to control the painful disappointment tugging at the core of my being! Six month of sacrifice, sweat, and tears; yet it all comes down to this one disappointing moment. I was utterly dejected!

I went out to eat with some special friends and they all told me how great I did. We all knew I didn't win and I didn't care to hear any compliments. "I'm not coming back!," I said first. "You have to," my friends told me. I had 60 people coming to see me and I knew I'd be doing a night routine. (Top five in each weight class do night show routines.) In my heart I knew I couldn't leave. "Well, I'm not dedicating my routine to Kenny looking like this," I said with emotion. They all said, "It's up to you."
I might not have done my tribute if it wasn't for one special person. She knew us both and said, "Kenny would want you to. It's not how you look or how you do tonight that matters." I got mad and walked away! After some soul searching, I realized she was right. I owe a great thanks to her for that! It wasn't an easy thing to do, however. It was one of those moments when life challenges your character.
I focused on being my best in the situation. I had wanted to win for my fallen friend and hit a dramatic routine in his name. It was a daydream for months, but now it was over. Now, it became personal, from my heart to his spirit. When I hit my poses and moved to the flow of a life transcending song named "Silent Lucidity," I focused inward. As I descended into my split and the energetic part of the routine, I felt the cheers of the crowd vibrating in my chest as I watched my shadow on the stage backdrop. At that moment, I felt Kenny's presence for the first time.

Although I received a deserved fourth place out of 12 competitors in my division, I felt like the winner. Afterwards, I shook hands and embraced over 60 of my smiling friends and family. My little cousins, Kristen and Robbie (ages 11 and 7) told me I should have won. Little Robbie showed me his flexed bicep and my heart smiled inside. I realized that what I had at that moment was more valuable than a first place trophy. Having people I didn't even know tell me that they enjoyed my routine more than any other moved me as well.

I felt Kenny more the next night when I realized how perfectly the song, the day, and the overriding message fit together. When we lose someone in the master illusion called life, we think it's all over, or as it says in "Silent Lucidity," "has it just begun?" Our reality can and will be changed as we come to a greater understanding. This is "the place where you will face your fears, retrace the years, and ride the whims of your mind." Success is failure turned inside out. Glide through your night with passion in your heart and your destiny will be realized. Focus on the beautiful things we often take for granted. Know that where one trail ends, another always begins. Have faith in the grand scheme and God bless you on your journey in this life and beyond!


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