Sunday, June 30, 2013

Force vs. Flow


                “The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses.”
                                                                                                Edith Sodergran                                  


There are many times where we think we are being strong and passionate, and yet, we are actually revealing a weakness which gets in the way of our true strength.  The willow tree moves so easily and beautifully with the wind and the natural forces that surround it.  It moves and bends with a great flexibility. Its supposed weakness is also a great strength.

I was speaking with a fellow student at our Karate school the other day about the nature of karate. When he does his katas (pre-arranged forms designed as offensive and defensive movements against imaginary multiple opponents) he “muscles through” the movements instead of allowing his natural strength and instinctive movements to flow through him.  When he uses his strength or muscle to move and do the forms he isn’t allowing his natural instinct and reflexive movements to flow.  It is his way of saying, “I don’t trust my instinctive and creative movement and so I am protecting myself from myself and others by using my muscle strength.”  Unlike the Willow tree, he isn’t being true to his nature.

This is a dichotomy (and life is full of dichotomies).  He feels like he has to be strong and therefore can’t be open to his vulnerability or he would be hurt.  In fact the opposite is true.  As we open to our vulnerability and true selves, we can allow the full flow and expression of movement in creative ways that utilize our natural strength.  In Karate, by being vulnerable, which takes courage, we are actually being strong and allowing a natural flow of movement to occur.

To let go of “forced strength” when it is the only way in which we know how to respond, takes real strength.  To allow ourselves to be vulnerable and to trust our training and our selves is a way of letting go of a false self and a defense that no longer serves us.  Letting go of the false self and the need to be strong is critical if we are to truly live in creative flow.  Like this Karate student, recognizing how we might be responding with force rather than flow is the first step in living a more authentic and creative life.


Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Tips
There is a direct connection between our experience of health and vitality, our activity level, and what we eat.  It is important to attain our nutrition in a healthy way which nourishes our body and gives us the strength (true strength) we need.  If you aren’t feeling as energized as you would like to feel, I’d like to make two suggestions:

1.     Eat five or six smaller meals a day and begin the day with a high quality whey protein shake with berries and greens.  It is important to start our day with more protein as it is the building block for our muscles and our bodies as a whole.  I recommend then eating every 3 hours with one meal being a fruit meal, 4 to 5 servings of vegetables throughout the day, whole grains which include brown rice, millet, buckwheat, kamut, or a small amount of wheat and/or oats if you can tolerate gluten.

2.     Try intermittent fasting 5 or 6 days a week.  In intermittent fasting, we eat during a 6 to 8 hour window of time in a day and fast the rest of the day.  This allows our bodies to work off its fat stores by resting our digestion over 8 waking hours. An example of this would be to stop eating at 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. and then eating again next after 11:00 a.m. This gives us a good 16 to 18 hours in a fasting state.

I find that either way is a lifestyle attitude which supports us in being all that we can be in order to live a vital and happy life.

Recommended Resources:
Dr.  Joseph Mercola has great ideas and protocol for intermittent fasting. Go to his website, www.mercola.com. To learn more.

Dr. Mark Hymn has great ideas and meal plans and recipes for general healthy eating to support a non toxic and healthy body.  One book I recommend is The Last Diet You Will Ever Need.