Thursday, October 14, 2010
Self-Respect and Physical Practice
Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that's real power.
Self-Respect 1 : a proper respect for oneself as a human being
If we were to step out of our own personal stories and patterns for just a minute and give some thought to what we think healthy self-respect entails, what would we come up with?
Here's a short list:
-Actively abiding by our own high standards - carrying that commitment into the world
-Certainty of our innate value evidenced by our actions
-Accurate understanding of our capabilities - building a life structured to enhance them
-Remaining true to ourselves in business, social, relational interactions
-Caring for our bodies, minds, spirits as healthfully as possible, no matter what
-Consciousness of our blind spots paired with a relentless pursuit of truth
Those are just a few, and we all have different lists.
Honing in on Self-Respect as it relates to Physical Practice (this is a HUGE topic), I am going to focus on three components.
1. We have to move.
As my friend Mushtaq Ali says, "In sudor veritas - In sweat there is truth."
All the thinking in the world won't bring us to the reality of who we are as physical beings the way an intense workout can. Who we are when we're sweating lets us know exactly where our strengths and weaknesses lie whether they are physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. With this perspective it is possible to begin to make necessary changes and create a closer pairing between self and sense of self.
We all have areas we want to avoid. We may have very good reasons for wanting to side-step the things we find uncomfortable. It is important to assess our areas of avoidance and
determine what good might come from digging in. Most of the time this is where we have the most to gain. Can you maintain active outward awareness and interaction while exerting close to your max heart rate? Would you develop more focused thinking if you slowed down enough to practice yoga? How much weight can you actually lift? Relationships with these experiences can blow the doors off some of our biggest blocks.
Wherever we are in our practice, chances are some things feel average or even great, while other things feel like we are being relentlessly slapped upside the head by inner stories or harsh reality. Its OK. Its all part of the experience. It is all subjective and we all have different start points and desired outcomes. The important thing is that we accept ourselves, where we are now, assets and shortcomings, and appreciate our willingness to be attentive to this process on a daily basis.
Physical practice and personal development is the rich and powerful work of a lifetime.