So, recently(truly the last 5 years), with the help of some truly great people, I think I've come a lot closer to figuring out what it is -this whole thing: the big picture of You, Me, Us.... People.
Why am I a trainer? Why has the path shifted to more than sets and reps into personalities, stress levels, habits, general ways... and then back to sets and reps with those filters into consideration?
How on earth has Push, Pull, Hinge become Pronate, Rotate, Breathe, Switch off, Relax and so on? And how with all this big picture stuff do we still have a Fat Loss program - isn't that a bit... basic? Not at all!!
It's been a constant process of growth, questioning everything, trying everything, failing as quickly as possible and adapting in order to evolve a belief, a philosophy, a primary message for us here.
By following our gut we have gone to some interesting places. What has unveiled itself is that we are truly passionate about being able to help people return their own freedom. It's become apparent that everything along the way has been about having a big enough toolbox to be able to improve a persons quality of life in any way possible: physically, mentally, socially, emotionally.
As Ido says of Movement, it's a big enough goal to last a lifetime. Not pinning our mast to one particular thing means we have a big task ahead to try be able to be the ones that help people with what they need when they need it. This is not an advertisement or a pitch by the way, so please do read on ☺
The reason the above is important to mention is that most recently I have had some amazing experiences, conversations and revelations among friends and peers - and I would like to share with you what I got from it, as I think you will benefit from the viewpoint. Or at least I hope so.
From the moment we are born we are like an onion in that every single thing that happens to us becomes a layer added on to us. Events good/bad, emotions, physical trauma, love/hate, disappointment, joy, being bullied, victimization, moments of triumph, injuries, expectations... absolutely everything... it becomes our story. It becomes US!
For better or for worse, we have layers. Protective layers that move us a bit further away from our real, true, free self. This is particularly interesting when we think about the nervous system and our conscious/subconscious brain at work.
Your body works off the following principle subconsciously, 24/7/365; At any instance it either feels safety or it feels threatened or unsafe and will respond accordingly. Think about that for a minute - whatever you do wherever you are... It could be hot, just nice, cold or TOO cold. It could be familiar. Or not. You could be wearing shoes that hurt, you could be in a Ferrari living the good life or at home eating your mams cooking. Whatever is going on has a physiological effect and your body will (re)act accordingly to the stimulus, the perception, previous experience(you burnt your hand, you don't reach into fires anymore).
Your story now has an interesting feel to it right?! Has your past shaped a body that feels safe? Or does it have 2, 3, 4 or 20 different protective layers? Those scars from skateboarding falls, that first kiss that didn't meet your expectations, the disappointment of loss... how about the chronic stress you have day after day after day... after day? We all have more layers than not.
Your body stores it all. And because your body will choose the most efficient method of survival it will keep on truckin' around all the bad stuff.
While that may be efficient, it is far from optimal. And while the word optimal can sound like we're talking about your ability to do a metcon better or run quicker, we are actually talking about your wellbeing here and your body's potential to be free of illness, tightness, soreness, inhibition, poor physiological feedback relating to your mental wellbeing or your lower back pain.
In taking the time to write this I am challenging you to start to identify your layers and unravel. Believe me, it IS a challenge!!
From my experience, the only way I can put it is that you should start to face your freedom.
I firmly believe that with the right guidance, encouragement, assistance and belief that all of those layers can be removed and that you can experience a life that is different from your current perception of 'normal', of 'centre' and of pain. You can change. You can be happier. And you probably have no idea how far from it you are. You can liken it to mysteriously dropping body fat or a few kgs while on holidays and not knowing how the hell it happened... until your trainer told you it was because you were so stressed at home that you didn't realise it until you got away for a week and the mind/body finally felt relief. It takes someone to let you know that things need to change.
(I find it interesting having arrived here on a path that is much more of a therapist with a movement and personality bias than a personal trainer who 'does Movement'. I've considered myself lucky that the right teachers have popped up at the right time. Of course there's that old thing of 'when the student is ready the teacher appears'. Whichever way you wanna call it, I'm grateful)
So, let's say you had an event... and you've been suffering from depression or anxiety coincidentally ever since. If you knew you could be free of depression by facing the event in an emotional or physical context in a completely safe environment... would you be willing enough to open up and revisit it to finally free yourself? It is so common for our body to feel 'our normal', but we have no real reference of normal, do we? We know what we know, and until someone brings a proper awareness to how far gone we are we remain in relative ignorance.
If you could use the above paragraph as a hypothesis and start to unravel your layers, starting with something small; something like joining a gym, seeing a physio, having the conversation with a loved one that seems impossible to initiate, reading a book - taking a step towards your freedom. How would that change you for the better? Would removing those layers and getting back to the true you make you a happy person?
I see a ton of people who are simply just unhappy and unwilling(or unaware) to make the steps to becoming happy again. I see time and time again unhappiness caused by the things people pursue, and that people simply won't let go of what is causing the unhappiness. If that's your choice then so be it. Those are your layers, your story is your story. It's not for me or anyone to tell you how to live, and make no mistake, I am not trying to tell anyone how to live. My story is my story too. I'm doing me.
I just want to share what has been shared with me by some really good people... that everything that has happened over the course of your life has become a layer of security for the body and mind, a layer that has moved you further from your own freedom. In order for you to be truly healthy and happy you should be mindful of removing those layers.
If you could take a step in the right direction it would be a great thing. Facing your freedom is not an easy thing to do... but on the other side of the fear is your freedom.
Not a bad payoff.
Thank you to David McGettigan for allowing me to sit in on his treatments a while back and for treating me - I can't even begin to explain how much of an important experience it was for me.
Thank you to Anthony Claffey for the constant nudge in the right direction, for putting his money where his mouth is and following his passion, driving me to do the same.
Thank you to Adrian Quinn for the chat a few weeks ago, it's encouraging to know that there are a million ways to skin a cat and that helping others comes in many forms, but always comes back to some well-natured principles.
Thank you to everyone who is doing what they can to help themselves and help those close to them - I do believe that all we have in this life is relationships and that we should all be moving forward with love.
You have to love yourself first, though.
Unravel your layers.
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