I’ve recently become obsessed with Calisthenics. The bodyweight training that produces beautifully graceful and naturally strong bodies. And minds, I shall add. I’ve always had a strange fascination with sport variations that radiate this kind of body control and sensuality in a sense. I just didn’t know why. Until this morning, when I watched a video by a guy explaining why he got into yoga and calisthenics. It was to heal himself.
It hit me like a hammer. This is my why, too. Of course I wouldn’t mind some nice abs and beautifully toned arms. And who wouldn’t like a nice tight butt, eh? But I realized that these are precisely the things that got me kicked in the butt when I first started. As I overdid it.
I wanted great results too fast. And of course I got my first injury. I pulled a muscle which threw me way back on my straddle stretching routine. I also experienced some serious heart racing when I did push ups, dips and squats because I had started way too early after a long respiratory infection. You get the gist…
This is when I remembered a book I once read: What’s in the way IS the way by Mary O’Malley. It’s basically saying that there is no point in complaining about obstacles that are being placed in our way. In fact, those obstacles are precisely what we need at this time and place. They ask (or force) us to pause and inspect what they might want to teach us. And when we do get their message and apply it, they tend to magically dissolve on their own.
It’s an old spiritual wisdom and I’m starting to get an idea as to how wise it really is. In my current situation it’s pretty obvious. The throwback is teaching me to be more patient. To be more caring towards my body. To listen to it and honor its potential as well as its current limits. It sounds so simple, yet it’s so easy to forget when we (I) forge ahead with some short-term goal in mind that isn’t really worth the price we (I) pay for it. Like getting into a split or doing my first pull-up fast, and getting an injury instead.
It took me this little detour to realize that what I actually want to achieve is not a split, or nice abs, although I still don’t mind them. What I truly want is to heal myself. I want to overcome past and recent hurts. I want to be healthy from the inside out. And, by extension, be happy from the inside out.
I once read that healing happens on four levels: the body, the mind, the spiritual and the energetic level. I’ve spent a whole lot of time on the latter three in recent years. Because that’s what tends to happen when people hit rock bottom, like I did.
Rock bottom throws you back to square one. Your relationship with yourself. Your relationship with Source or Universe, or God, or whatever you want to call it. It makes you face (and sometimes also avoid) the issues that your mind has in store for you. More often then not they turn out to be unpleasant. And there is no getting around it. So I went straight through it. Depression, anger, sadness, despair, and a little hope lately that things will work out eventually.
It’s no coincidence, I feel, that it is right now that I have the strong urge to reduce the amount of time I spend in my head and the spiritual clouds and increase the amount of time I spend on and with my body.
Ironically, or fittingly, my beginning approach to dealing with my body reflected my earlier approach to dealing with my mind: a sort of impatient push towards getting better and not accepting that all good things tend to take time. Healing especially. So I’m going to try a different approach now. I’m going to take it slowly. Very slowly. And caringly. And lovingly.
I am going to enter into a love relationship with my body.
I’ve subscribed to a Calisthenics program that is highly individualized and progresses at a painfully (or healthy) slow rate. And worse (or better), I can’t even start it yet as I still have to fully recover from my infection, my doctor tells me. Which I will do. No hard training for another two to three weeks. Just light stretching and mobility exercises and easy walks in nature. To get my body used to my new slow approach.
I wonder where it will take me. But I feel it will be only good places. With maybe one or two obstacles in the way. Which I am sure will teach me a thing or two…
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