This weeks Ideas:
1. The foods you eat affect the dreams you have. Feed your dreams appropriately. Powerful dreams emerge from a nourished mind-body.
2. A movement practice tests the abilities of a person. Perfect execution isn’t necessary when starting. More perfected form will arise over time, but the message is in the movement. Bodies are meant to move dynamically. Tension, balance, power come with a good movement practice.
3. Foot Health & Mobility
How well can you articulate your feet? Balance and stability start where your body touches the ground and are developed over top of that foundation. The foot should act as adaptive foundation for the rest of your body, able to move dynamically, distribute your weight and provide the proper force where needed. I believe that our physical foundation is related to our mental foundation. These aspects provide context for one another. When one side of this relationship improves it allows the other to make similar progress.
Movement in your feet gives you better control over how your weight is distributed, improves balance, and allows you connect with the ground you’re standing on. Feet are not just two blocks to clomp around on. The best thing you can do is start walking around barefoot often.
Beyond that, introduce motion into them and focus on specific areas matching intention to movement:
Roll forward, backward, and side to side
Shift weight to one area of the foot or even a single toe
Work on contracting and splaying
Focus on independent movement of toes
If your foot won’t move the way you want it to, physically introduce motion.
Manually spread and bend your toes
Massage the sole of your foot, work on the fascia
Twist and bend them (without hurting yourself)
More conscious movement will develop over time. Remember also that your feet are not an entirely independent part of your body. When you move, concentrate on the chain of connections between your foot, up through the ankle, and into your legs. Your muscles and tendons should be working in concert to distribute force along the chain. Strong feet, mobile ankles, adaptive calves and knees are all part of the equation.
(And please stop with the heel strikes. Unless you can adequately disperse the force in a way that won’t be damaging.)
4. You don’t need an exercise program, you need to feel your body as it moves.
5. Walk backward every once in a while. It forces your mind to adjust to a new pattern. It changes how your body distributes weight over your knees making them more durable against stress.
6. It Has Got to be You
One thought that keeps coming to mind, and that I'm actively trying to be more consistent with is: "It has got to be you." As in, it has got to be you to decide what path you want to take. It has got to be you to make a change. It has got to be you to make it happen.
I know this is true, but it doesn't make it easier to consistently act upon. The mind will learn to tell itself comforting lies to avoid a difficult truth. There's no lottery ticket coming. The timing will never be perfect. What I want won't be given freely.
"It has got to be you" means that if something is to change or be created, it is entirely up to me to make it happen. Friends and family will be supportive, but to do something that will raise me to the next level, I know the decisions and actions have to come from me.
Even falling into a pattern of healthy behavior will eventually stagnate. I don't mean this in terms of doing harm, but in terms of stemming growth. I see where I want to be, and I'm testing the waters on how I can get there. If I'm going to lay it all out on the line, I want to be able to make a living in the area of health/fitness and do so in my own style.
Which, to me, means exploring ways to help people integrate the physical, psychological, and spiritual areas of their life, and doing so in the most natural ways possible. If you've followed me for a period of time you've seen some of the angles I use to come at this including the video clips I post as well as the threads of ideas I delineate.
I see these are jumping off points, but I can't yet see where they have me landing. Part of the reason why I don't have a clear place to land is that I am totally uncredentialed, and am entirely self-taught in these domains. However, I don't believe that this discredits my perspective, as people are receptive to good ideas and ways of thinking no matter where they come from. This is one reason I show evidence of what I'm doing through movement and my writing.
I'm not proposing that I have expertise, but I am demonstrating that I'm actively exploring fitness and a healthy lifestyle from a grounded, individuated perspective. I believe I can be a good guide for people interested in doing the same. In fact, I do this already with friends. Leading workouts, introducing them to new movements, making food, having in depth conversations about how to integrate healthy behaviors into our lives.
We even have "Retreats" that involve movement, good food, and healthy conversations that dig the depths of our minds. I think this I something that I could grow beyond doing this with friends.
I don't have a formal route into this space. Which is fitting because I've never been one for formalities. Right now it feels like I'm at the edge, and I'm reminded regularly by the voice in my head that says "It has got to be you, It has got to be you."
7. A Touch of Madness
I sat there thinking and not thinking. Letting pass, unencumbered, whatever might step into the light of my mind as if it were a candle illuminating the things that come near to it. I was trying to read, but the images in my mind were too vibrant to allow me to focus on the words on the page. So instead I looked around the room thinking through my sight. The physical objects remained as they were, but a hidden door had opened behind them.
My mind imagined the tangible world that exists as the background of meaning which provides the structure that the physical world rests on. By imagined, I don't mean "made up", I mean I saw a context of reality hidden to plain sight. Suddenly everything became deep. Meaning had filled the void between arched catacombs that comprise the foundation of all the things around us.
I went on to wonder, if I can see this whole world in objects, why is it harder to see this whole world in people? It's because the quality and complexity of people is much grander than that of objects. It requires better sight to see the catacombs of a person than it does an object. Sometimes what we're seeking has still yet to be revealed. Meaning, inner divinity, is not manifest equally.
8. Movement keeps the mind grounded in the body; in the limbs, heart, lungs and the gut. To be too physical without allowing the mind to run unrestrained is unbalanced and unhealthy.
Equally so is being too weighted into the matters of the mind or spirit without a basis in bodily motion. One of our ideals should be to act as one within so that we may act as one without.
9. God is not dead. He's gone inside. You're meant to reveal him.
10. You need not feel bad about your problems, but you must feel your problems.
11. Directionally Healthy
While hiking, I had a conversation with a friend about maintaining overall health and fitness. I reasoned that directionality, your orientation toward a healthy lifestyle, matters more than discipline or strict adherence to a routine. I believe it is better to mimic a pattern of spontaneous shifts in diet and exercise, than to put yourself through a strict routine. I’ve done both and the former invites a more harmonious way of being. My caveat is that the spontaneous shifts have to be acted upon in a way that is in the interest of your overall health.
Some days I eat very little or fast altogether. Other days I cook big wholesome meals. It depends on how my day unfolds. However my big meals are never really a binge on junk, if I’m cooking they’re almost always compromised of whole, nutritious food. Meat, vegetables, good fat, etc. (Indulgences are left for dinners out, holidays, and other special occasions)
Both eating big meals or allowing myself to sit with hunger for the day are directionally true to the ideal of my overall health. I figure there were days when my evolutionary ancestors gorged themselves as well as days when they went hungry.
I treat movement the same way. Some days I’ll laze around and not do much of anything. Rest is important. Other days I’ll spend hours trying new things out. And then there are days when I only get a few pull-ups in. It’s rarely a routine, and that’s the way I like it. Strict adherence to routines, diets, and exercise programs can be good for learning what they’re about, but you have to find a way to bake that knowledge into the mentality that guides your life.
It’s the difference between doing and being. You want to do healthy things, but more important you want to be a healthy person. Doing things is a choice, but if your lifestyle is oriented toward a healthy ideal, the choice never presents itself, it’s just the way you are.
12. Envisioning the Energetic Context
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of Knowledge, the scale was cast from their eye and they gained the ability to envision the future. For going against his command, God exiled them from Eden. The first man and woman traded Eden for the godly ability to envision the future, to predict things before they happen and shape the future reality in their own eyes. And so, humanity has been granted this ability. It is our consolation prize for mankind’s original sin.
Now when most people exercise their godly ability to envision the future, they do so by setting a plan. Some are sophisticated, some are simple, but this is the base level for envisioning the future. We do this all the time: planning to stop off for gas on the way home from work, planning to pick up dinner for the family, planning a vacation, or a how to make progress on a project. This is the tangible, everyday, level of envisioning that gets us from point A to point B and helps us check off the boxes so things remain orderly. There is a higher level.
Beyond the level of envisioning by way of plan, there is envisioning by way of imagination. At the level of imagination we allow ourselves to aim to new arenas of life, improved from where we may currently find ourselves. We envision a future with a certain person, or living a certain lifestyle, or in a beautiful location. We can then map our way to that ideal and strive toward it. This level of envisioning is powerful and necessary to orient ourselves toward our highest ideals and cultivate the highest manner of living we can imagine for ourselves.
Though there is another manner of envisioning the future that does not set a plan or goal, has no destination, and points in no clear direction. People often fail to realize that this alternative manner of envisioning the future exists, save those that have experienced it directly, and it has to do with energy. The future can be envisioned by way of the energy you want to emanate in a given situation, forming the energetic context for a particular experience. Visualize the future setting and nominate the mentality you want to exude so that it lifts everyone in that environment to the same energetic place.
A beautiful quality to this style of envisioning is that you can meditate on and manifest the energetic context you wish to bring to a given situation. We can prime the wave of energy for the experience that we want to contextualize it with. A great example of this is the pounding of a war drum hyping infantrymen for battle. They are envisioning the the energy they want to emulate in battle. In a less “life and death” fashion, I do this when I’m leading up to a vacation, a group workout, or socializing with friends. I cultivate within myself the energy and mentality that I want reflected in upcoming situation. It’s a key part of priming myself for retreats and significant experiences. I think of envisioning the energetic context of the future as if it were the sound that fills a room as opposed to the objects in the room. It can be enveloping and contagious.
13. Where your mind goes your body follows. Where your body goes your mind follows. A symbiotic relationship between two parts of the same whole.
14. Tensions are dissolving for those with the capacity to realize it.
15. There’s a pattern to the universe, or existence, that we’re able to interact with, but the pattern remains unbroken. Think of a an unbreakable orbital spider web. Put your finger on one strand and you can stretch it in any direction, but the pattern of the web will remain.