Imagine confronting life’s challenges while actively reminding yourself that you are creative, resilient, empowered by heavens, and innately worthy and whole. Wouldn’t that be sublime?
In all your years of schooling did you ever take a course that taught you how to navigate the dramas, traumas, upsets and disappointments that come with life? Ninety-eight percent of the people I ask say “no.” Let’s explore what that means to you when Life shows up.
When Life shows up, it can often bring us to our knees. We’ve simply got to be ready for whatever comes along. It would be wise to strengthen our inner fitness before we need it. It would be great if we learned such tools in school, but alas this is work we must do for ourselves.
Inner Fitness is the state of being mentally, emotionally and spiritually sound. In the way that physical fitness creates a great body, practicing principles of inner fitness creates a great life. The starting point is to redefine yourself as innately Creative, Resilient, Empowered, Whole and Worthy — CREWW. This means no matter what challenge you face, from this point forward, you do so hanging on to this higher view of your Self.
For these powerful ideas to become a way of life takes practice. Like the effort it takes to achieve physical fitness, inner fitness means engaging in exercises and practices that prepare us to meet the challenging side of life: death, break-ups, loved ones in pain, loss of self to others, fears, drugs, and regrets, or trying to carry something old from the past that is literally too heavy to manage. Inner Fitness is the only sustaining answer.
Whether we develop inner fitness through spiritual pursuits, therapy, reading books or otherwise, giving time to inner Self-care is critical to real success. There are way too many people with huge careers and big bank accounts whose inner world is tortured.
Our “never let them see you sweat,” and “go get ‘em” culture leaves us afraid and unwilling to share our vulnerabilities and weaknesses. So, we have no familiarity with talking about what hurts and no language for initiating such a conversation. I can share two great examples.
My father is a good, or should I say sad, example of this. He spent his entire life from age 10 to just before he died at 74 carrying a painful secret: One day as a 10-year-old boy he came home from school early and found his mother having sex with an uncle. But he never mentioned it. His mother never knew he saw her, and he never shared this traumatic experience with his father or any other living soul, until he sat on my living room couch and shared it with me. This was a couple of years before he died. Through tears he had never cried before he told me that the image of his mother betraying his father crossed his mind every day of his life. When he finally shared this childhood trauma with me, his marriage to my mother, a woman he truly loved, had already ended because of the abuse and rage his secret caused.
The second example is an equally limiting yet ultimately uplifting story about Marianne, a woman in her 50’s. Marianne was prepared to drop out of a business course (as she had dropped out of many other prior courses and opportunities), rather than have to face the pain of writing a blog. The woman thought herself talentless and clumsy with words. She had failed English in college. Since then she had labeled herself “incapable of writing,” and she had developed artful ways (like dropping out of classes) to hide her issue and her shame from others. Thank goodness this woman had an insightful, heart-centered mentor who cajoled her into completing the writing exercise.
She promised her client, “I will not share your work with anyone, and I will not judge you or your writing.” Later she regretted having made the promise she would not share Marianne’s work. She told me that to this very day she has never read a piece of writing as beautiful as the blog Marianne sent her. It was so moving she wanted to share it with everyone in her life. She was brought to tears at the thought of how many years Marianne had lived with such a painful, distorted view of herself. Marianne has gone on to share her writing with more than 100,000 blog readers.
The difference between us is not in the events that crash into our lives but the amount of inner health and strength we have in place to meet those events. Inner fitness turns the worse event into an experience that passes. Undeveloped inner fitness takes these events and turns them into pain, resentments, blame, powerlessness and victimization.
You can start cultivating your inner fitness and CREWW up by “exercising” the following two of hundreds of Inner Fitness practices that are available:
1) Add to your conversations the statements, “Up until now,” and, “From this point forward.” These statements interrupt our habitual unconscious and unsupportive habits and limiting beliefs. The way this works is simple: When you “catch” yourself saying things about yourself or your life that you are ready to change, you make room for that change by verbally acknowledging that “up until now” this is the way it’s been, but, “from this point forward” it can be different.” For instance: Up until now I tend to judge myself harshly, but from this point forward I can give myself a break. That’s it. Now you’ve left room for the naturally creative, resilient, empowered, whole and worthy part of you to step in and help you create a new result. Up until now and from this point forward pull the weeds of old limiting thinking and leave space for something new to grow healthy and strong.
2) Develop your own tailor made “memory jogger” statement that helps you to STOP telling yourself the old story. I call these old stories LIES. You can go to www.thelittlebookofbiglies.com and download a free chapter from my upcoming book The Little Book of BIG LIES. It’s a book of stories that reveal everyday lies we unconsciously engage, and how those lies rob us of Life. It offers uplifting truths you can adopt and use to replace the lies. Creating your memory jogger statement will act as fertilizer to that plot of land inside of you that you are clearing with your “up until now” and “from this point forward” statements. Here’s one of my favorite memory jogger statements you can use. It is Practice #4 in The 14 Practices of Inner Health and Wellness: From this point forward I embrace the idea that I am more than any challenge I face. This statement helps you say to problems, “I am bigger than this.” To contemplate the possibility of being bigger than the challenges that bully you, is a powerful first step. (You can go to my website at www.wakingupfabulous.com and download a free 8.5×11 PDF of The 14 Practices of Inner Health and Wellness poster, or buy the real poster full size.)
Losing physical weight takes exercising our bodies in ways that support physical fitness. Losing emotional weight takes exercising our mind and heart in new ways, and taking actions that support inner fitness. You can have a great body and yet be caught in a life that sucks. Inner fitness guarantees you live a great life no matter the dramas, traumas, upsets and disappointments you encounter.
You are innately creative, resilient, empowered, worthy & whole. CREWW up!
Guest Writer – Tina Lifford
Tina Lifford founded Waking Up Fabulous (WUF) and the Inner Fitness Projectä to support women in their personal development and inner self-care. Through her workshops, retreats and special events, Tina creates a safe interactive transformational learning environment. Participants can learn skills to wake up their inner power, let go of harsh self-judgment, and free themselves of limiting patterns and beliefs. Tina is the author of the upcoming book The Little Book of BIG LIES—a compilation of stories that identify the unconscious everyday misconceptions that rob people of personable power. Tina is also the playwright of “The Circle”– her successful play for and about women. She is a graduate of University of Santa Monica’s Spiritual Psychology Program, Spiritual Practitioner & Edutainment Artist.