To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself-
Throughout our lives, our daily experiences feed into the deep, old sense of shame that grips us. We assign this ongoing feeling of shame to parts of our bodies that we see in a negative light. Ranging from feeling awkward in front co-workers and friends, feeling our of place running on the treadmill, to race day failures or even minor training oversight(s) can be attributed to simply not looking “right” … Only serving to feed from our inner trough of self-hatred.
Have you ever blamed a poor performance, or failed to show up to an event because you were ashamed to be seen? Soul sapping thoughts that you are too “out of shape“, I don’t belong or deserve to be here with all these “fit” folks? When we lose confidence in ourselves, we instantly surrender to failure, instead of pursuing what our hearts passionately want to do. Why is this so?
My battered and beaten body is hands down, the biggest target of my ever so critical inner voice. No matter where I stand in life, it continually provides feedback of my many imperfections and keeps me from fully relaxing in my own skin …
Each morning when we wake, we are afforded the beautiful opportunity to hide or reveal our true selves. When the harsh “voice” is telling us to keep our sweaters on or to stay home on race day … Be brave, be bold my friends – for you truly belong in the here and now.
Have a blessed weekend and please take care!
Shine your soul with the same
egoless humility as the rainbow
and no matter where you go
in this world or the next,
love will find you, attend you, and bless you-
Here’s the real deal folks, when ever I hear that I should do “something”, my resistance ramps up. For example, as a child, when I was told I had to practice my hand writing (Catholic schooling – go figure), Guess what happened? I never wanted to, and I have the scars to prove it! It should come as no surprise, that when I was introduced to how wonderful yoga and mindfulness are … I threw up my defenses and prepared for a fight.
Although, “something” keeps pulling me back to center. I have studied enough texts, read many more books, attended enough workshops (not in Bulgaria though … ), and practiced enough to know that mindfulness and yoga help(s). However, yoga and mindfulness are not the magical cure-all to every challenge we face in life.
I fell prey at the Gravel Worlds one hot breezy day last August to one particular mindfulness practice notion – That by practicing mindfulness you will magically and instantly feel relaxed – Chill. That may happen, although as I learned, the hard way, most likely it will not. By simply smiling and being fully open to the present moment, is truly what matters. I don’t practice meditation to get better at meditation. I practice meditation to wake up to this beautiful world. Think about this for a moment please … Don’t practice to get better, simply be you.
Registering for a 150+ mile gravel ride and participating in a 150+ gravel ride are two different things. I lamented: I think, I’ll take a week off of meditating and practicing yoga leading up to the race, sort of like I used to say I’d taper my training and “carbo load” (<— whatever this is), the week prior to the event. What I found out was, the conditions of my environment did not have to be perfect, that it’s fine to practice informally, and for a blonde haired dude like myself – on a complete whim, even right now. I didn’t have to taper and load to have a good ride, and I certainly don’t have to wait until I have a spare 22 minutes during the day to practice mindfulness and yoga.
What if I’m not doing it right? I don’t feel a lot of warmth and kindness toward myself right now. I’m trying to fabricate and generate all this good will toward myself and, and … Damn it! I’m just not feeling it! Sounds familiar huh?
Artificial, fleeting feelings of self-love by trying to stay positive, race day pep talks … Dear readers, after all the abuse and pain I have subjected myself to, I have arrived to the conclusion that – It’s enough to simply have the intention to be kind to your self, simply being in the present moment, no matter what may happen next.
You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful-
All of us, you read that correctly … All of us need to do better. To provide a little context, delicately pulling back the velvety curtain to reveal the inner workings of today’s post: I recently shared two conversations, with two dramatically different people. One person went to Bulgaria to practice yoga (for whatever reason) and the other just finished cycling across Iowa, yet they both shared the same message when they arrived safely back home:
The overpowering pressure to fit in with the “crowd“, undermined their true spirit and what they had hope to achieve – Loosely paraphrased.
Think for a moment how many people you have heard announce, particularity around New Year, “Yoga class is what I need, if I want to fit into a size 6 for our upcoming summer holiday!” or “If I had a lighter bike like some of the other riders, I believe I would had a better time out on the road.”
When I introduce the practice self-acceptance. Why is it seen as an insult to the other person? Why is celebrating life by banishing our self-loathing frowned upon?
This morning I passionately ask to stop trying to fit ourselves into the world, and in-turn, making sure the world begins to fit us.
Arousal begins within the mind, then seeps out where fantasy propels physicality-
Is striking a match necessary in order to light a candle? The initial sparks of a freshly lit candle can yield a warm blaze, and the same simple action(s) can be applied to lighting our inner fire.
The passion building in our hearts matters just as much as what our muscles are doing in regards to sparks that can start a fire. If you are thinking about your workout program tomorrow morning, segment planning on Strava, picking out your running clothes and making sure your yoga pants are ready to go … These feelings of passion are likely to arise. If you are focused on the way your body “looks“, the woman who just breezed by you, comparing yourself to everyone in the crowd or fleeting fantasies of how “hot” and “toned” you will be after class? Odds are that your passion will decrease …
The key word folks is focus. States of flow, including flow during yoga class and while out riding early one morning, depend upon my focused attention (otherwise I keep awaking old injuries). Hence, I prefer to spark my fire by using a magnifying glass – Like a beam of light, the more pinpoint my focus, the more intense my states of flow are. A magnifying glass can intensify and focus sunlight to the point that a single beam of light will cause the candle upon which it is focused, to burn into flame … What actions do you take, to spark your inner fire?
A modern definition of equanimity: cool. This refers to one whose mind remains stable & calm in all situations-
Raise your hand if you have ever talked to yourself, or better yet, talked to yourself in the third person during a difficult or trying time in your life. Don’t be shy now – I have two hands waving in the air if that matters?!?
Breathing, positive self talk, calmness, evenness of mind – Chill. The gentle sway of a budding birch tree, daffodils and crocuses awaking underfoot, sharing a smile with a complete stranger as you spin or run on by … All the while talking to yourself, coaching yourself, through a difficult set of experiences.
When talking to myself in the third person I normally recite something like this: “Dude, keep cool, this equanimity stuff? Is pretty damn important! Chill … Breathe … Relax the back of your throat … Eyes forward, Heart Open! Take another deep breath … Breathe … Equanimity is key … Zip it up – You got this!.”
Here I am, some random dude on the inter-webz, openly telling you that I talk to myself – all of the damn time! And who cares if you do the very same! When we are unable to walk – spin – run calmly away from a “situation“? Remember: This equanimity stuff? Is pretty damn important!
Please don’t preach at me—I feel bad enough already-
As anyone who strives to share wisdom and knowledge with others—how often do we command others without first ensuring our own understanding, without first eradicating our own insecurities and tension(s)?
How many of us can honestly answer yes to the following question: Have I done the work that I’m asking this person to do? And more importantly: Am I myself, able to go where they want to go?
No one is perfect, and in fact, our limitations often open the door to understanding and compassion, as well as to the ability to overcome the very faulty practices and beliefs that we are currently dealing with. Although in order to share the wisdom of these past lessons, we have to actually learn these lessons. We have to transcended the obstacles, not merely recognize that they exist.
We can’t rest on our laurels of intention, we must be willing, and able, to be the example …