Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Claiming Your Personal Power
Building Physical Power
When I say "physical," I'm generally referring to any power in the physical world. It also refers to power within your body, and in my personal viewing of the chakras (which really is unique to me and not tied tightly to any system), your relationship with your body can be one of the primal and basic ways of building your physical power.
I already talked about creating a relationship with your body in a very 1st chakra way. The first chakra is concerned about the basic needs for the body. Building power isn't very interesting to it. As long as you've got food in your tummy and are relatively healthy, you're good to go. But at this level of developing personal power, exercise and activities that help you to cultivate and focus your body's physical power can be extremely rewarding, especially if you haven't done this yet in your life. If you haven't done this yet, then jogging, yoga, weight-lifting, biking, hiking, or whatever you do probably seems like an excruciating experience. Good. When you start doing them regularly and see what you can do, it'll be a powerful experience. You'll get to see that, "Yes, I can do this!"
An Early Victory in Personal Power
Personally, I was somewhat active growing up, but I wasn't the little kid constantly running everywhere. I played baseball--and well, it's baseball. When you're standing in the outfield with a windchill of 20 degrees in early spring, you're not getting much exercise. I did have a couple of can do moments, winning some key games as a pitcher, but the bigger "Holy crap! My body is really strong" moment came before my freshman year in high school.
I'd happened to have fallen in with a bunch of guys who were going out for the football team by the end of middle school. I was a tall kid, and well, it's football. Size matters. So I got enrolled in summer weights, and I met my first real physical test of my life. Three hours of intense cardio, lifting, and more cardio with no background in exercise was certainly a shock to the system, which left my doubled-over examining breakfast a couple of times (Yes, I know. I'm being graphic--just keeping it real here). And the first two weeks were grueling, but by the fourth week, I had done it. I was in shape and feeling good at the end of practice as we started catching passing from one of the coaches. I saw what I could do with my body, and it felt good.
Physical Power: Good Habits Stick Around Too
One thing about good habits and childhood lessons is that they stick around. A lot of people on the spiritual path end up having to focus on the bad ones--all the bad programming that has kept us from healing and continues cycles of pain. But there are usually some good lessons in there too. While football didn't work out for me (don't roll your eyes--it sounded fun at the time), I kept the workout ethic. It also became the basis of some strong relationships like my good friend from college, Stan, and my brother. It helped me to feel strong and powerful. I felt like I was able to take on a lot of challenges, and it provided a coping mechanism to clear out stress. While my workout routine has changed a lot in recent years, that internal barometer for what I need to do to feel healthy and the tenacity to do it remains.
I Can Do It
As you come into a spiritual practice, you're going to hit snags. There will be hard moments. This is where the value of having a strong sense of personal power in your body is so crucial. All those wonderful little endorphins kick in after a workout that say to you in the face of difficulty, "Yes, I can." And you can. But be sure to find a workout that fits you. It should be rigorous at times, but not grueling. Winning marathons won't necessarily get you anywhere on this path. It all leads back to you eventually. But where you win is finding this core of strength that likes to show up in the physicality of life, and in doing so, you've added one more tool to your toolbox to help you transmute difficulty and to walk confidently.
Next blog: Taming Your Intellectual Power
The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. Please feel free to check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.