The other day I was chatting with my friend and business associate, Mark Silver about his fitness routine. He was talking about getting the hard training session he had that day with our mutual trainer-slash-feng-shui-genius, Kinya Jones. (Yes, we do have it all in Portland, please come for a visit.) Mark was telling me how amazing it is to have a real kinisthetic experience of upper body strength, (Ah, so this is what upper body strength feels like!) and what a revelation it was after years of devotion he could finally see that his spiritual practice was well in order and what he needed to be doing was WORKING OUT.
The all caps were his.
I loved it.
Because we tend to think of body and soul as mutually exclusive. Some schools of thought even view the body and it’s urges and functions as enemies of a spiritual life. And conversely, the gym buffs and fitness fanatics are percieved as somehow inferior in this area, their body-focus rendering them incapable of higher emotional function. Stereotypes, ugh.
Your spirit is intangible and infinite and hard to define so let’s real quickly get on the same page with what I’m on about here.
Do you remember looking in the mirror when you were five years old?
Do you remember looking in the mirror this morning?
You can’t deny that the images you saw in the mirror those two times were images of completely different people, right? One was a five year old child and the other is the gorgeous version of you today. Your eyes. Your smile. Don’t ever stop. Swoon.
But, seriously, the mirrors. Who was doing the looking?
Yes, you got it. That’s what we are referring to here as your spirit. The indefinable “you” that has been there all along. The part of you that doesn’t change. The one that watches your thoughts and actions and the changes that time makes to the face in the mirror.
And just because I want to say it, all of this stuff applies regardless of your belief system. You are welcome to use whatever semantics suit you, but it’s just the facts. You are more than just a singular, one-dimensional thing.
YOU ARE MUCH MUCH BIGGER.
And your body is a vehicle for your UNIVERSE-SIZED spirit to walk around the planet.
That’s a lot for your wee body to carry around. Why yes it is.
And your soul would rather drive a Jaguar than a Jalopy. Because just like when a car breaks down and you’re stranded on the side of the road all frustrated and changing plans and unsure of what will happen next, when your body breaks down it leaves your spirit in a bit of a bind. Stuck happens. Resistance. Fear. Insanity. Addiction. Depletion. Your body is precious and important and it deserves your attention.
(By the way, this whole mind/body thing is definitely not a new concept. The yogis have been practicing it for 5000 years.)
The body is an incredibly powerful tool. It is through your body that you get to give, receive, connect and create. Your body is the physical manifestation of your experience and, in addition to everything else, it will hold fears and traumas for you until you are ready to deal with them. It presents you and protects you. And your body is not solid like it may seem. It is actually in constant motion, perennially recycling itself, cells forming and reforming based on a variety of things like, environment, stress levels, joy levels, movement and food.
The body is an emergent system.
So Mark Silver is a mad spiritual cat. As a master teacher and healer in the Sufi tradition, he has a ginormo heart-practice and it is an integral part of all that he does, all that he is. He moves mountains. He sits in sincere service to his community.
Mark realized that his uber strong soul needed to be grouned, to be firmly contained so that it can continue to be used effectively for action in the world. His soul needed it’s body. And it needed it’s body to be strong.
There are loads of reasons to exercise. They are all good. Whether you are moving around for weight loss, getting your fine on, calorie burning, strength building, tension taming, sleep inducing, fog lifting, sanity saving etc… This is just ONE MORE reason to get you moving.
Walk. Run. Climb. Rollerskate. Bend. Stretch. Yoga. Tennis. Ju Jitsu. Jump Rope. Just do something. Every day.
Because you are a supernova-style bright light of an eternal part of something bigger, untamed and unknown. And the more you care for, and collaborate with the world, the more you need a strong, healthy body to contain your expansion. And to ground it.
If you live in Portland and you want some of Kinya’s amazing, you can find her here and she can tell you her training schedule. If you live anywhere in the world, and deep love and wisdom in your business sounds as brill to you as it does to me, go see Mark Silver. If finding out how to create a life that seamlessly integrates optimal nutrition and self care for maximum results sounds appealing, well, darling, you should call me.
And for all of you, here is a sweet little resource for some at-home basic strength action to get you started. 100 pushups!
And yes. I did say “getting your fine on,” and that is a whole other story. But for the record, I meant it. Because being hot is also a service to the world. Um, right? Yeah.
Ok. I just talked myself into going for a run.
Love you. I do.
image credit: Ford Canada