I’ve been trying to meditate more and, you know, like, find inner peace. I’ve tried it off and on for years, but for various reasons lately, I just felt like I had to get “me” back in order and align my chakras.

A psychic recently told me recently for a $20 fee that I’d had a “black aura” over me for the last eight months before she tried to sell me a “guaranteed” spiritual cleanse for $150. When I said to her, “Didn’t you just tell me that I was in better financial health five years ago?” She said, “OK, I will do the cleanse for you for $100.” I graciously declined and figured there was a cheaper way to cleanse my aura, hence, my new fervor for meditation. I barely made it to 11 minutes tonight. Then I lay down on the floor on my meditation pillow and enjoyed the silence because for once I acknowledged how grateful I am to have this silence that not everyone has the luxury of just existing in for even a few minutes. (And don’t think that a Depeche Mode reference did not pop in my head during said “quiet time” because it did.) I think I napped for about 10 minutes, so that really doesn’t count as part of my journey to inner peace. Quieting the mind is hard, especially when I am happy to sit down with a martini and talk to a wall if it will pretend to listen to me.

Then I took a walk for my evening workout. I walked without the noise of my iPod. I walked with my debit card stuck in the key pouch of my running shorts straight up to Torchy’s Tacos for dinner. By the time I got there, I was bursting with so much inspiration that I ordered two tacos, a cream soda with real Imperial sugar and a pen so I could write all my thoughts down on a paper sack.

I’d been thinking about this eight-month “black aura” for a few weeks. I wasn’t really aware that the aura was surrounding me at first, but at some point during those eight months, I recognized the dissonance, but I wasn’t ready to abandon it. I didn’t really see a lot of reason to abandon it; my vision was clouded by potential and the whole “what if?” scenarios I’d been part of and trapped in so many times before. But the black cloudy aura just meant something was missing, and now that it’s behind me, I’m ready to once again set off on a journey to find whatever is missing. This isn’t my first soul-searching rodeo. I am all too familiar with this territory, and I am eager to embrace it again.

You know, the funny thing about humans is they don’t have to be vampires to be shape-shifters. People change all the time. They change when you’re not even looking and, fortunately, they change when they are looking – when they are consciously making a change. It’s totally and completely possible, despite when some people say as a cop-out that “this is me, deal with it.” Those people are in the worst trouble and have no idea. They are the ones still living on that river in Egypt….

I used to be one of those people. I was like that for about 20 years of my life. I can get into all that at another time, but believe it – I have changed. And I’ve changed many times over. It’s the cycle of life. It’s the natural regeneration that everyone goes through in their body, but it is also possible with the mind and the spirit. Just think that in less than two weeks, your body will have created all new blood. The human body is constantly regenerating cells and rebuilding organs. The older you get, the more worn out your organs get and can’t keep regenerating all the time. And well, eventually you just get old and die. The mind and the spirit are no different. While I’ve found that working out and being active every day has yielded great physical benefits for me, keeping my mind challenged and spirit active is just as much of a workout and just as important. Studies show that intellectually stimulating activities can protect against Altzheimer’s disease. And I think most people know how it feels to be down in the dumps spirtually sometimes, so there’s no need for me to go into the benefits of ensuring your spirits are up and revitalized.

As I was walking home with my leftover second taco and a to-go drink of cream soda, I realized that working out every day shouldn’t stop with physical activity. Meditation, chakra alignment, prayer and finding your own personal Yoda aren’t for everyone. However, I know from experience that opening your mind, heart and soul to new experiences can cultivate even greater benefits…when you’re ready to find them.

(NOTE: This blog post originally appeared on www.aworkoutaday.com, an archived blog I maintained for more than two years to chronicle consecutive daily workouts during that time.)