Many of us push ourselves too hard. Even though we're probably the hardest on ourselves, we receive so many OUTSIDE messages to work harder, do better, and do more. This is true in so many areas of lives, but I've been giving a lot of thought to the way we EAT and MOVE in this regard. Depending on who, what, and where you spend your time, you may have come across savvier advice. I have, but still-- I don't always listen. At least, at first...
For the past 6 months plus, I've been swimming, biking and running ALOT. Not to mention, everything else. Our lives are very busy. Still I pushed hard to complete a goal, because I knew the pain of NOT doing it would be far worse for me than actually doing it. Ironically, the harder I pushed…the more my body would slam on the brakes. Yet I kept plodding along, I had committed.
Our bodies are wise though, as I keep being reminded. The most frustrating thing is that I believed I was doing everything right. What I wasn't doing, however, was listening to my inner voice. Often when we do listen to our bodies, we discover it's telling us to slow down. Or possibly some other message.
And now, my goal is complete. I finished an Ironman, which by the way, was an absolutely amazing experience. By the final weeks of training and in the weeks after, I couldn't wait to flow with life with more ease and grace (and inner focus). Don't get me wrong, I love to run and bike for hours on end. I feel like I forgot how, but I am re-connecting with what it means to me to lead a life from the inside out. Like the quote above says, it requires presence and practice.
There are so many conflicting outer voices screaming at us about what is healthy. It can be so confusing. I can't tell you what it means for you, but I need to tap into what it means for me. If we never get in tune with our own inner voices of what it means to be healthy and nourished, we will always be looking outside of ourselves. Thus, in effect, disempowering ourselves.
As always, I have chosen to teach what I need to learn.
Some Suggestions for Turning Inward
- Daily and Regular Check-In | Check in with yourself first thing in the morning and throughout the day. How are you feeling? What do you need to nourish my Body? Spirit? A walk in nature or a tea with a friend perhaps.
- Paying Attention | "Notice what you notice" is a sentence I've often heard in my years of yoga. Easier said than done, but doing less does sometimes really add more.
- Get Quiet | Open space can be scary for many of us. It can be for me. Filling up our lives with too many activities is sometimes as escape, in a different way than alcohol or drugs. Still, it is an escape from "something."
- Do Something You Love | Make sure you really love something otherwise don't invest energy and time in it (next blog post).
- Be Curious | Why am I getting these messages? Could there be something more to this than I am seeing right now? As far as food is concerned, are you emotionally eating? Emotional eating can take place whether you are celebratory or sad. Is it a certain food? Do you need to take a break from it?
- Hold Space | Uncomfortable stuff may come up, instead of pushing it away, let it be there. After you sit with it, write about it. Or chat with a safe friend about it.
- Empower & Experiment | I've always loved knowing what other people eat (and do for exercise) for ideas more than anything. We can always learn from others, but don't think someone else's way is going to be your way.
- Be Dedicated | As Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." If you WANT to find the answer, you will. TRUST.
In the process of writing this, I feel like slowing down, taking a nap, or a walk. I hope that you take some time to nourish yourself this week in the way only you know how… LISTEN to that wise INNER KNOWING. It knows the way.
Most importantly, every time you look outside yourself, you give away YOUR POWER. Once you get in the habit of noticing when you do disempower yourself, it is easier to stop.