The creative outlet of Anthony Munkholm: thanks for reading

Healing through my words:

Life doesn't give you the people you want,
it gives you the people you need:
to love you, to hate you, to make you, to break you, & to make you the person you were meant to be. -unknown

Love can and will come to those who still believe in it. Hope is the key. Even when faced with disappointment love will still find a way. Even after betrayal love will still knock on your door. Love will come to those who have been hurt before. I will never give up on love. I will even love those who no longer love me. Love is all there is and all there ever will be. -me

I believe I have been given an opportunity to share my successes and my struggles, my up's and my down's, the good and the bad with those who find their way to my blog. I feel I have been given a gift to write. I feel in my heart part of my gift to the world comes through my words. My greatest joy comes through expressing myself here. I write for myself but I feel compelled to share it with you too. I believe in love, compassion, and understanding which I share here.

Monday, April 15, 2013


I work as a personal trainer and exercise is my life. About 8 months ago when I was running I felt a massive twinge go down my inner thigh, then my other inner thigh, then my ankles and toes were numb. I ignored and just kept running. In my mind the pain was not real. I chose to ignore the pain, push through the pain, punish the pain, and flat out deny the pain was there.

For me pain has always been a part of my life. For a long time I use to take a lot of pride in my ability to withstand so much pain. My ego thrives on punishing my body. Stand a little taller knowing that I can still do a squat even though my feet and legs are numb.

It is not just the physical pain that is always there either. It is the thoughts about the pain that seems to increase it.

This will never go away...
How can you be so dumb...
Why am I always hurt...

These thoughts give power to the pain. When my mind is really going the pain in my body seems to thrive.

Over the course of 8 months I have tried many things to heal my pain. I would visualize my legs healing as I slowly breathed, I went to massage and chiropractic. I stretched and strengthened my hips and legs the same way I would work with anyone who described to me that they have hip pain.

I saw a doctor and they said I just needed to rest. That sounds easy enough; I assure you for me it is not. I did not rest. The pain has grown and grown and grown. And yet I kept working out, lifting hard, thinking and hoping it would go away; knowing that it would not. The pain has spread to my butt and back as well. I allowed it to get to the point where I had to see a specialist in order to rule out any major damage to the joint of my hip.

In my mind physical pain represents a spiritual opportunity for growth. This is not to say that I did not have something physical wrong. I do. I have a pulled groin muscle. However, I think the pain in my leg represents something much deeper than a pulled muscle. Over the course of the last 8 months my moods have been defined by the way my body feels.

When my legs and back hurt it is never certain what side of me will show up. I have been so angry I could feel the blood in my skin boil. I have been so depressed I danced with thoughts of the easy way out. I have had times where the pain was gone for a moment, I would feel so alive, to only have it all come crashing down the next day.

Then I decided enough was enough. I decided to surrender to my pain. Surrender does not mean I am giving up. Surrender means I accept myself unconditonally right now. This is no easy task for a person who lets his body and the way it looks and feels carry so much weight.

Now for the last week I have not worked out at all. This is a great success. This. Is. Success. For. Me. I am allowing my body to rest.

And my body has given me flashes of brilliance. I have felt myself healing some. I am proud of myself for taking these steps. I have other area's I can watch over while I let myself heal. I am doing my best to eat well, finding new ways to be active; redefining what HEALTH is to me.

I do know I will heal and I do know that I will be able to lift weights again, most likely soon, facing this injury has allowed me to feel real pain, discover real growth, and uncover parts of myself I did not know were there. Now that I have faced my pain, accepted that it is part of me, I can let it go, and let my body and spirit heal. I have grown from ignoring my pain, and I am thriving in new ways by embracing my pain.

Most of all I feel I now know what real health is. Real Health means I eat healthy foods not because I have to but because I chose to. Real health means maintaining a healthy body weight because I know how being overweight can lead to a shorter life and so many other health problems. Real health means “being active” rather than always working out. I walk everyday, sometimes for several hours, this is real health. Playing with the kids, doing some yoga, taking the stairs instead, this is an active life and it feels good.

There is more to real health than eating well and being active. Real health also means honoring your mind and spirits as well. I meditate every morning to honor my spirit. I try to talk to myself in a positive manner, avoid criticizing others, and myself and write down my successes at the end of the day to keep my mind right.

This is life, one’s with up’s and down’s. It is not always easy but it is not always hard. Accepting myself in every moment opens the doors of infinite possibilities. Knowing that at times I will deny myself allows me to be human. Knowing that there is more to me than how my body looks and feels, well that for me is FREEDOM. 

Monday, February 25, 2013


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. –Marianne Williamson

Fear is a strong emotion that has the ability for many of us to decide our lives at one time or another. It can be so strong that it will manifest as many other emotions such as anxiety, anger, and even depression. Fear has very strong physical ramifications too. Stuffing fear down only makes it worse and allows the fear to grow in size. Hiding from it with alcohol, drugs, food, the Internet, and many other vices is a temporary fix.

How many of us are holding our lives back because of fear? Some fear is natural and serves us very well. When I was in Afghanistan and the sirens would go off I would put on my Kevlar vest and helmet to try to stay safe. That is fear serving me well. But for many of us it is the everyday fear’s that do not serve us well. For many of us fear is the very reason we hold ourselves back. Furthermore so much of our own fear’s are self-created. It is the thoughts that we think that make us afraid. I know I am guilty of using the words should, what if, and but more then enough times in my life.

Do any of these phrases sound familiar:

I should go back to school but...
I should really try to lose some weight but....
I should really try to stick to this budget so I get my finances in order faster but...
I should travel more but...

What if it does not work out,
What if he/she decides she does not want to be with me anymore,
What if I cannot afford it,
What if I fail (my biggest one),
What will they think of me,
What if I have to give up XXX (insert alcohol, sweets, overspending, etc),

What if, What if, What if, how often do we as humans let the fear of the unknown decide our fate?

Facing my own personal fears in life has served me incredibly well and has been the launching point for becoming a better person. It has not always been easy but every time I have faced my greatest fears the rewards have been far greater.

Personally I feel my life has bottomed out more than once and fear always did its best to try to keep me there. When I was 21 all I was doing was drinking and doing drugs and my life came to screeching halt. In a matter of moments I lost my job, got kicked out of my house, was flat broke, and even considered suicide. But something in me stayed strong and I faced my fears got my act together and joined the U.S. military. I gave up everything I knew in search of a better life. Looking back on it joining the Navy saved my life. Was I scared? Absolutely, did I let fear decide my fate, Hell no.

When I realized I did not want to serve any longer in the military was I scared to get out? Absolutely. Servicemen telling me I would never make it on the outside surrounded me. I was told that there are no good jobs, that I would be giving up a good thing, many chiefs told me it was only a matter of time and I would be back. Did I buy into some of the fear? Absolutely, I was scared out of my mind but did I let fear decide my life? No, I got with my wife, developed a plan, started going to school, lined up a job before I was even out, and saved as much money as I could.

When I was deciding on going back to school was I scared? Absolutely, what if I fail, what if we do not have enough money, what if I am not sure what I want to do? These conversations constantly played out in my head. But I also had conversations with myself such as what if I do well, what if I can make it work financially, what if I find a great career that fulfills me?

When I was going through my divorce and was not sure if moving back to Minnesota was the right idea was I scared? Probably more than I have ever been in my entire life. Was I really about to give up the life I knew for the last 10 years? The night before I drove back I spent the entire night curled up on the floor crying because I was so scared. But I prayed to God for help and he wrapped me in love and light and assured me that if I face my fears it will work out in the end.

Because I have faced my fears I have traveled the world, got an excellent education, healed so many mental and physical blocks in my life, meet an amazing new woman, made incredible friends, advanced my career and been to the depths of my soul. Fear is such a powerful emotion that when confronted forced me to grow in ways that I have never believed possible.  Facing fear does not mean you have to know how everything works out, in fact when I was able to let go of expectations and just follow my gut it has felt like the Universe simply laid out a path for me. Do I still get scared, almost daily. Do I let fear decide my life, hell no. I use fear as a driving force in my life.

What are you afraid of? Where are you holding yourself back?