Boy George Is Speaking To Me
Boy George understood somatic awareness.
Someone must have sprinkled some Kryptonite on one of our kettlebells. You see, I got a back spasm last week that lasted for three days. In this line of work, that’s inconvenient at best.
The Glamorous Life
I’ve said it before – this personal trainer stuff is fascinating. Sales, marketing, pain management, athletic performance, body composition, coach, motivational speaker, nutrition. There’s a lot of stuff to stay on top of and hats to wear – and I love it.
One challenge is that it’s sometimes hard to follow our own prescriptions. I know, you probably think it’s sexy to hang out in workout clothes all day. I guess I would think so too if we weren’t a new business and I was able to get more than 5 1/2 hours of sleep per night (btw, continue to do as I say and not as I do on this sleep thing).
Twenty-four hour access to a workout facility? Sounds good. But…
Bernadette and Yaromil find time for only two 45 minute workouts per week. I try to get in four workouts that last 20-40 minutes. That includes warmup, strength, cardio, flexibility.
Sometimes-not often- it catches up.
Take The Pain
Have you ever had a back spasm that just came out of nowhere ? Mine did. In fact, it took me three days of “treatment” as I fought to not look like a guy my age.
Pain can cause you to panic. Pain is a reminder of your mortality and how really alone you are. Pain causes body compensation and adaptation – the kinds of adaptations that we associate with aging. I resented having to second guess my relationship to gravity.
We have a Primal/Paleo orientation in our work. To be stooped over or injured, could be seen as an inability to organize the chaos that surrounds us. Besides, it’s not a good look on the chart of evolutionary development.
All of this flooded in on the first day. I decided that one day was enough. I used the same approach that I had with a severe knee injury I suffered a couple of years ago. I also sometimes forget that being an NLP master practitioner and being a Reiki master for two decades should sometimes be applied to my own healing and advancement.
How do you motivate yourself? Do you focus on moving away from pain? Or are you driven to move towards pleasure? For some, it’s a combination. It’s important to bring your strategy to conscious awareness.
All that stuff I said about pain earlier? Well, guess what? Pain also rebalances us.
The more pleasure we experience, the more we want; the more fearful we become about losing it; the more we live in the future and its accompanying anxiety.
On the other hand, pain is our most frequent and potent experience of the present. We can learn to work with that feedback.
I woke up the following morning and before getting out of bed I decided to communicate with the part of me that was bringing the pain. I asked it what it’s intention was. I asked if the message could be delivered in some other way – and I promised I would pay attention.
I reflected on the fact that it wasn’t some specific workout or movement that caused the spasm. I acknowledged that the pain and the resulting compensation came from my unconscious and that it needed to be released into the present.
I gave the pain a color, a location, an intensity, and even a sound. I then visualized a healing energy with a specific color. I
brought this healing color to the pain. My only intention was to notice any changes in the feeling. I decided to be ok with having the feeling and I decided to be ok with not having the feeling.
Acknowledge your body with compassion and without judgment. When you do, you will be able to stand up straighter and bring more kindness and compassion into the world around you.
While the spasm lasted for three days, the pain subsided significantly on that morning.
Good thing. Our basement flooded the next day. I was blessed with the gift of present awareness as I spent three hours emptying buckets of dirty water.
“Socrates was famous in Athens for saying, ‘Know thyself’. It is said that one of his students said to him: “Socrates, you go around saying ‘Know thyself,’ but do you know yourself?” Socrates was said to have replied, “Not, but I understand something about this not knowing.” - Jon Kabat-Zinn
P.S. Share your thoughts with me on this one. Do you think I’m crazy? Are you more comfortable with me talking about how you can get a six-pack? Are you in pain – physical, spiritual, or emotional? What does it mean to you? If you need to, how can you reframe it? What is your body telling you? Will you listen with compassion for yourself?
P.P.S. Finally, let me clear up that 5k coaching thing. You saw that I have charged 5k per training session and thought you were REALLY getting a bargain. Well, that alleged price was paid by a major East Coast city. I was contracted to train the police department in how to employ a coaching framework in the context of police supervision. I’m good at it and good coaches are good coaches.