Exercise Challenge: Week 32 – 2022

Curtsy Lunge (Squat)

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible while maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least five days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.


A Beauty-Full Life (Linking-Thinking #5)

Your life is waiting to be lived by You! It’s waiting for You to animate and enliven your body with your awareness. Does that surprise you? Do you not know that when you stay with yourself, in the physicality of your body and its senses that this is the way to experience the joy of your most Beauty-Full Life? Well that is the purpose for my writing this post today. I want to remind you, and myself, that our Presence of Mind, or by staying in the present moment, (rather than the past or future), is the place for our most peaceful living. Paying attention and noticing our bodily-presence, allows us to more fully experience our one and only wild and precious Life. If you doubt the truth of this sentiment, I challenge you to put yourself in the Present moment by purposefully setting yourself in the way of Beauty. Give it a try won’t you? It is easy and fun! Think of this exercise as a peace of mind interlude, a solstice and balm for the soul…an opportunity to play and know that Life wants to be lived through You.

To be a human who resembles the divine is to become responsible for the beautiful, for its observance, its protection, and its creation. It is a challenge to believe that this right is ours.

Cole Arthur Riley

The easiest way to connect with ourselves and our Beauty-Full Life is to go outdoors. In nature, we are able to wake ourselves up via our bodily senses. Using our senses intentionally will guide us into noticing. And noticing quiets mind chatter and allows us to enjoy Being. What do you see, hear, feel, smell? Notice what you will, without prejudice or preconceived context. Just let nature put you in its way, so it may pull you into herself and remind you of your own wild-nature.

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.”

Thích Nhat Hanh

If you can’t go outside, give your senses a delight indoors by listening to the rhythm of your breathing, in and out. Does this remind you of the unceasing cadence of waves expiring and inspiring upon the breast of the shore? Or perhaps you might sit in a favorite quiet place inside your home, then close your eyes and let your imagination curate those places, people or memories. And as you conjure the beauty of these remembrances, you may soon notice only stillness and quiet as you journey along the imagined path of Beauty-Full presence. Or perhaps you could venture into the realm of textures. What might you find in your home to nudge you towards beauty? Is it the feeling of sitting in your favorite chair, wrapped in a cuddly blanket; or do you have a pet who delights in your stroking its impossibly silky fur? Or does enjoying a mug of hot or iced tea transport you into relaxed ruminations and peaceful reverie? Whatever you have at your disposal…whatever triggers a twinge or twinkle of delight, go towards it and reconnect your life-light.

This assumption that beauty is an accessory, and dispensable, shows that we don’t understand the importance of giving the soul what it needs. The soul is nurtured by beauty. What food is to the body, arresting, complex, and pleasing images are to the soul. If we have a psychology rooted in a medical view of human behavior and emotional life, then the primary value will be health. But if our idea of psychology is based on the soul, then the goal of our therapeutic efforts will be beauty. I will go so far as to say that if we lack beauty in our lives, we will probably suffer familiar disturbances in the soul—depression, paranoia, meaninglessness, and addiction. The soul craves beauty and in its absence suffers what James Hillman has called “beauty neurosis.”

Thomas Moore – Care of the Soul

I hope this little post has been a gentle reminder, an eye-opener for you, so that whenever you find yourself sleep wandering through your day, try waking yourself up with this simple movement…and put yourself in the way of Beauty. Take a Beauty-Full interlude and intersperse as needed any time you feel lost or far away from yourself. Use this practice like exercise. And just like exercise for your body, these practical movements of noticing and imagination will breathe Life and Joy into your Living and Being. It is from this place of alive awareness wherein you’ll experience a most Beauty-Full Life.


Exercise Challenge: Week 31 – 2022

Bench Side Plank

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible while maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least three days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.


Exercise Challenge: Week 30 – 2022

V-Sit

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible while maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least five days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.


Exercise Challenge: Week 29 – 2022

Seated Triceps Dip

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible while maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least five days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.


Exercise Challenge: Week 28 – 2022

Prone Hip Extension

Challenge: perform as many repetitions on each leg as possible while maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least five days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.


Exercise Challenge: Week 27 – 2022

Kneeling Plank Up/Downs

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least five days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.


Living Inside Out (Linking-Thinking #4)

Have you ever witnessed two people experiencing the same event and they each have completely different or even opposite reactions to that event? In today’s post-Covid world, polarized reactions and behaviors among groups of people exposed to a similar experience seems commonplace and practically normative. For many folks, myself included, these equal and opposite behaviors amidst our family and peer groups is hard to reconcile when the reactions are opposite our own.

Perhaps, we could reduce the discord and negativity we feel towards others who think differently from ourselves if we would pause to consider that the reason we react differently to a shared experience is because we each have a lifetime of past experiences. And none of our experiences will ever be exactly like another’s. If we could only hold back judgment and condemnation of the others, and instead consider that ‘reactions’ are nothing more than each person acting out their own true story as written from the script by the author of their each and every past life experience.

The truth lies within you—as does all the power you will ever need to change the direction of your life and the course of human history.

Neale Donald Walsch

Consider this example set in this ‘neutral’ setting from a day at the beach. Observe two opposite reactions which two people might have as a result of their past history. The first person goes to the beach and expects to enjoy the day playing and swimming in the ocean. Whereas when the first person invites their best friend to join them at the beach for a day of fun, the friend experiences anxiety and declines the invitation because they witnessed a drowning and/or nearly drowned in the ocean when they were a child or young person. So this same, neutral place, creates for these two people, two opposite reactions. Isn’t it a little easier to accept that this seemingly neutral place, the beach, may cause differing reactions among all people when we realize that it is each person’s past history or experience which informs their present perceptions about a place or experience?

”There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

William Shakespeare

Again, we all know what it feels like to live in a world of either/or belief systems. Taking sides with or making decisions based on how closely others feel like we do about ‘neutral’ events, places, or activities gives group think its ability to steal our most precious super-power: CHOICE! Each and every life situation we encounter is an opportunity to make a conscious practice of our choosing. What if we were to neutralize our thinking about every day events before making value judgments about them? Could we teach ourselves to take a moment to re-view or re-frame a situation by placing it in a judgment free box and acknowledging that the event or situation IS WHAT IT IS? How would that feel, in our body, and in our emotions If we took a moment to be still and quiet ourselves when encountering difficulties, and simply give these things a time out from our thinking? Might we reduce our anxiety, stress and anger by simply acknowledging that it is our own thoughts about a situation that causes us to suffer?

“When you live in complete acceptance of what is, that is the end of all drama in your life.”

Eckhart Tolle

I am by no means suggesting that taking a pause or neutralizing our thinking is an easy behavior to master. We are human, and human nature is positively wired to behold and attach negative meaning to things first and foremost. It is partly why we have survived the eons. However, because we are human, we have capacity to evolve and improve upon our base instincts and nature. And I am neither so naïve as to suggest or believe that the presence or experience of evil in this world can be positively negated by our good thinking. Rather, what I am asking us to grapple with and wake up to for ourselves is this: A life well lived, is lived from the inside out. And as Eckhart Tolle so succinctly teaches, “Life is primary (to life circumstances).
Life is your deepest inner Being. It is already whole, complete, perfect.”

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it. Observe your thoughts, don’t believe them.”

Eckhart Tolle


Exercise Challenge: Week 26 – 2022

Lying Flutter Kicks and Scissors

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least five days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.


Exercise Challenge: Week 25 – 2022

Reverse Lunge with Dumbbell Row & Triceps Kickback

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least five days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.