My relationship with exercise was so f*cked… for a long time. Really until I embarked on energetic healing. The old unhealthy energetic pathways of striving for perfectionism meant chasing that perfect body that was ever-illusive. It also meant thinking I had to use exercise to punish myself, or push myself beyond reason (often to the point of puking from exertion, or to the point of being hardly able to sit or do stairs normally for days because I was so sore). Push, push, push. And unfortunately, this perfectionism-chasing also meant absolute self-sabotage, but I didn’t realize it for a long time. And unfortunately all these patterns and unhealthy thinking styles were constantly reinforced by some incorrect personal trainers… long before I knew with my holistic physio training that it even was incorrect… So for a long time, since my faulty patterns were reinforced by peers and professionals, it meant I must be doing it right, when it was so. very. wrong.
Every step of the way, I got the message that exercise was to be hard, unenjoyable, painful or I wasn’t doing it right. And to push myself beyond reason.
Many moons ago I got into running, for all the wrong reasons. I did 10k runs often, and this meant pushing myself… beyond reason. Counting down seconds let alone minutes to be done. Steps let alone kilometers. I held myself imprisoned by these old rules, pushing myself, telling myself anything less was a failure. No matter the pain, injury, physical breakdown, illness.
Suck it up. Get ‘er done. Don’t wuss out. You’re not going to get a nice body any other way. You did eat that insert whatever forbidden food here. Can you sense all the self-sabotage, negativity, over-emotion (charge), over-generalizations, extremes, “shoulds”, misguided and false beliefs, and assumptions in this paragraph?! It’s loaded!
This pattern led me to abandon running for a loooooong time – I’d set myself up for nothing but failure. The faulty mental pathways, far-from optimal physical alignment, constant injury and reinjury, long-standing systemic issues from living in constant fight/ flight – it all meant my dura, viscera, fascia, muscles and tendons, ligaments, skeletal structure and etc etc were far from well, so I eventually quit. I eventually had enough sprains, strains, over-use injuries, sicknesses, headaches from wound-up dura, disc injuries, and you name it, that I quit. I was a mess creating more amplified mess. Digging myself into an endless bottomless pit. Willpower always fails.
But after over a decade, I started running again. Did you catch that? After a decade! Will always prevails. After much healing energetically that brought alignment to my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual self, I was able to run for the right reasons and get this – enjoy it!
So, running on the treadmill recently, I remembered these old pathways and how far I’ve come. I dug myself out of that bottomless pit by using the Flip It and challenging the negativity and self-sabotage patterns that aren’t me, never were. Now running on the treadmill, I pause when I want to and let the treadmill belt keep running while I either stand on the side panels and catch my breath for a moment, or while I hop off and dance around the room with wild abandon to a damn good song. Now when I run or do any “exercise” for that matter, I listen to my body instead of fight it. Instead of being at war with my body, I value what it is telling me.
I said “exercise” above because I had to do a Flip it just on that word alone. I had to redefine “exercise” from being something hard, unenjoyable, painful, that made me puke or get sore for days, pushing myself beyond reason TO being movement guided by what my body needs that day and that is enjoyable and sustainable for me. Some days I work out quite hard, if my body guides me to it, but rarely to the degree I used to force upon myself day in, day out. And some days I barely break a sweat in a gentle yoga. Exercise is whatever my body needs that day and it comes from a knowing. And I’m okay with that now.
Being at war with yourself in any way, exercise being the example in this blog post, is running on willpower and will fail. Always. Science knows this. I know this. Not only are you destined to fail running on willpower, you’ll harm yourself. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, professionally, in relationships, and even financially. You’ll be digging yourself deeper and deeper into that endless pit. I can tell you the more stubborn you are (you know I’m a Taurus right?!), the longer you might convince yourself that willpower is working, but trust me, it’s not. You’re harming yourself, and if you listen to your body, it’ll be screaming this at you.
So, now, with my will, I move to move. To enjoy the movement. To connect with my authentic self instead of chasing some illusion of who I should be. Embracing who I am. Do you sense the perspective shift? The flip it?
Are you clear on Will vs willpower? Willpower is left-brained. With my exercise example here, it’s the imposed military-strict thought regimen I used to have to qualify for “exercise”. Will is right-brained. It is truth, knowing, intuition, gut instinct, the sixth sense, our senses, what we’re instinctually guided to that our left-brain and intellect usually tries to override. And Will vs Willpower comes up everywhere, in all 7 areas of wellness (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, professionally, in relationships, and financially). We must tune to our will to get well. Willpower ain’t going to do it for you – never was going to and never will. It’s not based in truth. It’s coming from a wound or trauma, making you intellectualize something that was never meant to be intellectualized.
With that, instead of “I’ll love my life when…” – insert whatever willpower and ego-led goal here, ie) I’m thinner, I weigh this number, I can fit into this pant size, I can run a 10k – try loving aspects of your life now and using your will to guide you to your soul-led goals. There ain’t no bigger flip it.
Much light + love,