It all comes down to clarity–No joke. I know it’s a contrary concept, but our hard/narrow focus toward meeting our goals can actually stand in the way of easily reaching them. We have been raised on the ethics of ‘hard work’, so it has become tied to our expectations in many cases, especially if we see ourselves as disconnected from the world at large. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of work to do, only that when it is rooted to something we really want, there is joy to be found in the process (as visions from the “Whistle While You Work” scene in Snow White dance through my head). This simple shift in feelings can dissolve the belief around it being (or needing to be) tough or hard so those moments can be celebrated along the way. A tweak in perspective can make the uphill climb feel like a breezy walk in the park when we bring our values and intentions along for the hike.
I’m currently aligning with the intention of being a person who goes to the gym regularly. Surprisingly, I am uncovering some self-judgment as I walk the path. I made the decision to do it, and pulled the trigger. I’ve followed through so far, but somehow I’m still working to convince myself that it’s really a good idea. As we form multiple goals and intentions every day, our greatest successes come when we are keenly aware of three things: (1) What we are asking for, (2) How we are asking for it, and (3) Why we are asking for it. Inner awareness of the answers to all three questions opens the frequencies to directly aligning with the goal, providing a clear view of anything standing in the way.
My reasons for aligning with this particular intention carry some unclaimed baggage: residual guilt for similar intentions I haven’t maintained in the past. Who knew I was carrying all that around? Definitely not me. The first few weeks of going had me recalling every gym contract I’ve ever signed and the strong intentions I felt when I made the commitment. The volume alone is disappointing, and I finally quit beating myself up over the 10th, and hopefully final, recall. I can remember how good it feels to actually go and how much my body enjoys saying YES to physical activity. Those memories are followed, in due course, by the accompanying shame I ‘navigated’ every time my enthusiasm fizzled out. Analyzing each instance, my personal best was finding a yoga class I enjoyed, paying per class until I was sure it was what I really wanted, then buying a 20 class package. Not only did I never return, I avoided the calls from my teacher trying to get me back into the studio. She reminded me in voicemails that I had warned her I might do this, and I ignored her. Instead of feeling the powerful effects of practicing yoga, I opted for spending time feeling guilty for wasting her time and my money. I exhale deeply as I write this, nearly laughing out loud. It obviously wasn’t a conscious choice, but it is the resulting trade off.
All types of yoga stem from one central intention – to facilitate the movement of breath throughout our bodies. It is not lost on me that even though I made a small investment to improve my mind/body connection so long ago, I was unwilling to actually lean into the freedoms it affords. For a few weeks, when my class time rolled around and I wasn’t there, I could feel the tangible loss of what I was missing. Perhaps that’s where my guilty feelings formed? Still, I was unable to find the right kind of motivation to push me back into habitual action. At some point, I know I just quit looking in that direction at all. It’s easy to find ourselves ‘moving past’ each tiny disappointment that doesn’t mean much on its own. Once it gets entwined with all the other ones, it leaves a lot of sticky ‘disappointment residue’ in our bodies. I believe this is exactly what keeps fresh oxygen from pumping easily throughout our systems. Our breath works overtime, all the time, in an effort to clear the trail of our ‘forgotten’ feelings and emotions. Any extra help we can give it serves our intentions all the more.
Of course I know that when it comes to exercise, starting is always better than not starting, and that my body will appreciate whatever I can do for it. I’m also aware that my insightful intellectual awareness can only take me so far. My body’s tight spaces need to find a way to give up the ghost once and for all so that I can take deeper breaths as I trust myself to follow through on this intention. I really do enjoy it once I get myself motivated, dressed and out the door for it. It’s important to me, so I’m running it through those three questions, strip-mining for additional clarity. WHAT: At 54 years old, I am asking myself to form a new, regular habit and pack it into my already busy schedule, permanently. HOW: I’ve made a financial commitment and I am actively investing in producing positive ideas and feelings about improving the quality of care I offer myself every day. WHY: If I’m honest, this is a long list of great reasons, motivated at the root by a desire to establish/maintain my credibility, both as a healer and as the energetic architect of our Wellness Program (Our Raw Material) .I’m feeling ready to promote, so it’s time to get real with how I feel.
My challenge lies in that last answer. For me, it comes down to more than moving my body from one place to another several times a week. It means changing my long-held belief that I won’t follow through. Yes, I have many solid reasons WHY hitting the gym is a good idea, but when I see that the true catalyst is an underlying effort to appeal to others, I know I’m not fully aligned in a way that makes it easy to accomplish. It’s totally doable, but I’m going to have to continue untangling the aforementioned energetic debris before my path is fully clear. In that awareness, I am able to find peace with myself and I can now use my breath to clear the old judgments that I had failed to examine in the past. I’ve left a long trail of untouched feelings in my wake–as we all do every single day. It’s the way we’ve been conditioned to ‘move past’ rather than ‘move through’ the numerous things that trip us up. And there is always something new on the horizon to eclipse the ‘forgotten’ personal slights from our past.
Our answers to the questions What, How and Why connect us with our Intentions, helping us by organically exposing our tangled roots, right when we are prepared to untangle them. In most cases, the reasons we don’t see these ‘blocks’ aren’t immediately apparent, because at one time they protected us. It’s just the way we tend to move through our lives: letting things go mentally, but forgetting that true letting go involves moving the energy all the way through our bodies as well. Without deep breathing, we don’t really let anything go–we only think we have because of a misguided notion that we can control our personal environment simply by ‘putting our minds to it’. The considerations of every passing day have led us to develop this natural habit of avoiding micro issues, thus derailing our ability to fully resolve our unacknowledged feelings in our mind and body, not to mention the fluctuating weight distribution to the balance on our ego/soul scales.
Simply put, when we back up and take a bigger look at anything, the changing vantage point broadens the scope of what we know. It also pulls us away from the minute details of the situation, which may or may not be important to understanding it. The point is, we have to be willing to adjust the scope enough to zero in from differing perspectives in order to fully see how connected everything really is. When our ability to breathe (breatheability?) gets to operate unimpeded, everything around us becomes instantly easier. As humans, full breath awareness is a desired, even ideal, state. It is also a practical impossibility, requiring more attention than our lives are designed to give it. That doesn’t mean we should stop trying. It merely demonstrates that striving for things, even something that we may never reach, can line us up with our passion and our purpose in ways that clear the path for our breath, and therefore, our desires, to manifest before us with increasing ease.