We each have a physical self that physical fitness addresses. We also each have an inner self that only inner fitness work addresses.
Imagine arriving at your favorite yoga class ready to exert yourself in all the ways that the class requires. You unroll your mat, ready to go. But instead of the teacher moving you through salutation-to-the-sun movements she has you recite the capital city of each state. WTF!
Reciting state capitals is not the kind of work that will lengthen and stretch your body, and leave you with the physical results you desire.
When it comes to strengthening your inner fitness look for practices and teachers that will help you achieve the results you are after. The three foundational pillars of inner fitness are acknowledgment of your inner self, becoming aware of your internal habits and patterns and disrupting and rewiring the unproductive patterns.
Achieving sound inner fitness results requires applying sound inner fitness practices and strategies. If you are reciting capitals - or doing anything else that does not strengthen your skill for working with the three foundational pillars - you are in the wrong place.
What you’re looking at you’re looking with is one of my favorite sayings, and an uncompromising adage. It means the behavior YOU SEE, YOU DO - or at the very least, you’ve behaved that way at some point in your past - and most likely still do. In short, you can’t see what you do not already KNOW!
This means that when you’re upset at “so and so” for doing “such and such,” at some point you did such and such YOURSELF. What you’re looking at you’re looking with turns us all into hypocrites of a sort.
Mothers chastising – or even shaming – daughters for their behavior regarding some boy, at some point, probably once behaved just as their daughters are behaving; spiritual types who judge others for being judgmental, duh; and even those who harshly judge bullies of all kinds have bullied others at some point.
We human beings have a quirky flaw: We are disgusted by what we can’t admit to ourselves about ourselves.
The point here is to show one another compassion. When you see your old behavior in someone else, own it. Understand it. Turn your arrogance and judgments into opportunities for self-love, and forgive yourself for any ways in which you have violated the humanity of others.
Who knew that KC and The Sunshine Band was so committed to inner health and well-being?
Before Positive Psychology or Inner Fitness became practices, artists like KC and The Sunshine Band, Michael Jackson and others were intuitively singing the truths that now form the core of these movements. Throughout time, through their songs, artists have told us how to use our minds to focus on transformative thoughts and feelings. In effect, they used their lyrics and rhythms to move us into a higher vibration.
All mankind harbors deeper truths. These truths live at the core of every human being. But the hustle of trying to survive another day often blocks the heart and clouds the mind. This is why exercising one’s connection to the inner Self is essential.
Strengthening your Higher-Self gives you the ability to trust that you were born with innate value and wisdom, believe with confidence that you have innate inner resilience that makes you unstoppable, and have faith that tapping into and surrendering to the brilliance of the inner Self is the most efficient way to move beyond petty behavior and concerns.
Fly high! Do a little dance. Make a little love. Ignore the distractions. Dare to discover the amazing world and power inside you!
I’m a girl. I believe in girl power – not the kind of girl power that excludes or vilifies others, nor the kind that revels in the ability to sexually control men. Rather I love the girl power that nurtures souls, builds communities and soothes hurts of all kinds.
While the world has tried to minimize women, our girl power proves over and over how impossible a task this is. We are too awesome, resilient and fierce to be kept down. We birth babies, take care of households, careers, families and communities, and keep going despite monthly headaches, backaches, mood swings and bleeding.
Face it. We are forged with Wonder Woman-like abilities.
Not every woman knows her innate, undeniable strength and resilience. Some women have had the memory of their true self beaten into submission, or chased into hiding.
That’s okay, because there are growing numbers of those who dare to be seen, dare to lead, and dare to speak up and tell themselves – and others – the truth. We who dare hold a place in our wonder women circle for all those who shall join us, be it sooner or later, female or male.
We are a wonder that will not be denied.
Inspired by the 75-year-old Wonder Woman (movie).
Roses may smell sweet. But survival behavior, by any other name, still reeks of the tendency to blame, accuse, oppress or cast people and circumstances in the distrusted role of “other” or enemy and harshly judge or fear them.
The next time you point the finger, judge or need to control people and outcomes, stop. The subtle scent you smell is survival, disguised as unconscious, seemingly harmless whiffs of fresh air. Don’t be lulled. Ask yourself: What am I trying to hold on to? What am I afraid will happen?
Our ancestors ran from tigers. The tendency to run for survival has become so hardwired that today’s caveman is ready to take flight or fight for a thousand reasons – hurtful experiences and fear topping the list.
Seeing and acknowledging your twenty-first century survival tendencies gives you the ability to choose more calmly how you’ll respond. The more choice you exercise in this moment, the more inner fitness you will develop, and the more certain you are to create a life where you can thrive, not just survive.
Decades ago, I had a smart, well-read friend who judged me a lot.
In all fairness, he judged almost everyone and everything a lot.
I often reinterpreted his behavior: He just “acts” like that. He doesn’t mean it. His verbal roughness is protection for his really sensitive heart.
To this day I believe these statements to be true about him. But we are no longer friends. I no longer reinterpret people’s behavior. I respond to how their behavior feels to me in real time.
I trust myself – my openness and willingness to understand, and my ability to change, or to talk honestly about everything. And I am too precious to subject myself to the bad, unkind or thoughtless behavior of anyone.
That’s how I came to know that I had a well-read smart friend whose way of being didn’t match mine.
Some people collect stamps. My mother collects people. They don’t have to be rare or unique. She finds beauty in the seemingly mangled as much as the pristine.
As a kid, going to the store with my mother was the last thing I wanted to do. While strangers were putting groceries in their carts, mommy was listening to their stories, viewing their wallet size photos – smiling and laughing a lot. In fact, it irritated me that mommy was always smiling.
Dottie Lifford, my mother, had lost both parents to tuberculosis by time she was seven. Then she was passed around between relatives, attending a new school with each new address. She lost her firstborn to a teenage driver who turned a corner while my 6-year-old sister Karen was still in the crosswalk. Life had not been easy for Dottie, but you couldn’t tell that from her smile.
As it turns out, neuroscience explains, smiles are more than just a pleasantry, or a ploy to hide a darker truth. Real smiles create calm, communicate safety to strangers, boost the immune system, and create a lighter, better mood. I think they must also affect one’s perspective.
My mother was ahead of the positive psychology curve, proving what I’ve always believed: My mom knows everything!
When hurtful experiences occur, of course they can – and maybe even should – make you angry...for a short period of time. But beware: fiercely held anger tends to become a grudge, hatred or even a desire for revenge.
These feelings are NOT evidence that you have been wronged or hurt, so much as they are evidence that you are hurting yourself with your BELIEF that things in your life should have occurred differently. But life did occur the way that it has for you. That cannot change.
In the face of that, your work is to THRIVE no matter the circumstances, or how they’re presented to you. The world is full of people holding on to hurt as proof that they have been violated or dealt an unfair hand. Unfortunately, the only things that remain for these people are a clenched fist and a difficult time truly knowing joy.
You don’t have to forget (though life would feel better if you did). You don’t have to forgive others (though life would be better if you did). But, you do have to forgive YOURSELF for thinking of yourself as breakable, and for giving people and circumstances the power to derail your life and turn you into an angry, suspicious, hard and unloving person. That is the real shame.
Don’t go there. Begin to interrupt your deep-seated anger by saying out loud, I am ready to move on and thrive!
It’s time to be bold, even brazen, when it comes to how you deal with your mind. Instead of feeling like you are your mind’s puppet, take the lead. Dare to experiment with letting your mind know that you are in charge, and not the other way around. When habitual negative thoughts or old painful memories try to dominate your thinking, call them what they are: overly indulged unproductive ways of thinking! This description accurately sums it up. They are thoughts or feelings from a past difficult experience that insist on getting endless amounts of attention from you. Interrupt your habit of indulging these thoughts. Don’t let them bully you. Don’t run. Stand up to them. Look them in the eye. Say I see you! I see the way you want me to think and believe, but you are not the boss of me. So, BYE FELICIA!
(Note: In the beginning you’ll have to interrupt your thoughts over and over again. Do it until interrupting old thoughts becomes habit.)
Have you ever tried to overcome something, but failed so many times that you began to doubt whether change was possible?
It is common to come to expect discomfort -- or even failure -- when it comes to a chronic challenge. It is easy to begin to believe that your greatest challenge will be with you forever.
Losing the weight, finally getting rid of acne, recognizing when you’re feeling unfulfilled, and overcoming a fear, guilt or trauma are all good examples of forever-thinking. However, the idea that you have to suffer forever is a lie. Don’t believe this lie. Science now knows that the brain is always changing and is always capable of change. Your current experience doesn’t have to be your only experience.
Make room for a new possibility in your life. Confront your forever issue with these words: Up until now, my (issue.) had me believing it would be a burden FOREVER. But from this point forward, this doesn’t have to be the case.
The glimmer of hope at the back of that statement is the key to changing your life.
Begin to practice seeing your challenges through the “up until now, and from this point forward lens.” It will help you leave forever-thinking behind you, where it belongs.