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It’s all about PFG

Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development.

When I began Fit Beyond Form, I was at a loss when explaining to people that though I am a fitness trainer, FBF was not a diet and exercise program. Certainly those elements are involved, but I couldn’t find the words to convey the magnitude of self-entirety I wanted to express. Over time, it was revealed to me that my mission- for both myself and to aid others in– was personal development; an all-encompassing mind-body-being journey to awareness and empowerment achieved by a willingness to wake up in our lives and release any limited beliefs or conditionings that have long weighed down our spirits, allowing us to open our minds and hearts to our own truths and trust that we have all we need within. This is a journey bringing about growth: Personal Fucking Growth. It’s why we’re here.

Got barriers?

“One must put up barriers to keep oneself intact.” (Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson)

I couldn’t tell you how many times in 1981 you would have found my buddies and I belting out these familiar words from my favorite Rush song; ‘Limelight’. Neil Peart told stories with his songs, the messages of which still ring true today, imparting valuable information.

 

Years ago when I first heard Andy Stanley speak about the importance of establishing borders in the various categories of one’s life to serve as guardrails, those long ago lyrics came to mind (yep, that’s the way the universe works- watch for it). While each of them may have been referring to different categories in which to apply barriers, they were both advising the same principle: protect your integrity by installing limits. It’s a formula so basic, you’d think that all of us would have grasped it long ago. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who did. Only in my fervent effort to develop the seed of self-control that lives within me, and each of us, into a full-grown established and invincible muscle (it helps me to think of it as a muscle- I have a mind that requires a good analogy or parable to fuel my comprehension and retention level) did I learn that not only was I failing to establish borders in my life, I was not even aware of my failure to instill limits, or if I was aware of it, clearly I was not now, nor had I ever been, strict about adhering to them. I had a bad habit of listening to my flesh and living in the moment while seeing where it carried me. Andy Stanley would say I was living on the edge. And just as he says: “As we all know, if you live on the edge, it’s just one tiny mistake and it’s a disaster.”  Um, yep. Disaster. I’ve been there. I don’t wish to return. But wishing doesn’t cut it. Just like building and maintaining any muscle, it requires effort and vigilance. Though it’s my natural tendency to crave that which is high intensity and teetering on the very edge- so much so that I actually started breathing a little harder and getting flushed and excited just typing those words in- that’s not all there is to me. And I’ve been made aware that I’ll never be as empowered as I’m meant to be if I don’t take control of those impulses and harness them in a way in which their power can be most constructively utilized. That rings true for each of us. What doesn’t come naturally must be worked on. That’s going to mean some barriers; a guardrail or two which we may bump against, then recover from when we get too close to the edge, rather than the one-way trip to the bottom of an abyss that flying by the seat of our pants may land us in. Yes, intensity is a rush. But I’ve decided to keep myself intact. As it turns out, any good challenge carries a rush of its own.

Stick together and we can do this

9 years ago when my youngest graduated from kindergarten (and no, I can’t believe it was that long ago, and yes, with my 2 eldest children graduating from college this week, I am suddenly feeling extremely verklempt, but that’s a post of its own…) the theme of the program was the Robert Fulghum book All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten . When the  book first came out in 1990, I didn’t have my kids yet, but in spite of that, its essence hit home with me and I thought it a brilliant concept. Especially the last line of the excerpted book by Mr. Fulghum, which advises: “And it is still true, no matter how old you are-when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.” Mr. Fulghum, I wholeheartedly agree with you.

Why is that so hard? Why do we sweat the small stuff, bicker over our differences and become resentful toward even those we are closest to? Why do we let go of the ability to find joy in the tiniest delights in life and harden ourselves to the pain of others? Is it just that as we age we’ve been hurt so many times by so very much that we go into “self-protection” mode to avoid further bruising of our egos? Do our spirits become so badly damaged that we are no longer able to believe, as came easily to us at 5, that people are basically doing the best they have to work with and if we do so as well and accept one another for what we each have to offer freely, there’s room for all of us to live peacefully? Could be. I can only speak for myself and I will say that there have been times I worry that I’m becoming, as Mary Kay Place’s character so succinctly puts it in The Big Chill : “a little frosty myself.” That said, given my optimistic tendencies, in my heart of hearts I don’t believe that it is a given that at the very core of our beings we must age in the same manner that the rest of our outer shell does. After all, that’s just our physical body- the outer temple that our inner energy resides in while on this earth. It has its limits, including wearing down through the passage of time, which we understand and (pretty much) accept. But our spirits are timeless, fueled by the energy that flows within us, so why must our inner spirit accept “being old” and insist on behaving in a manner that exemplifies it? Why must we build fear-based walls of self-protection that serve only to close our minds and our hearts, rendering us incapable of seeing one another as brothers and sisters on our journey? In fact, why can’t we see each other as the genderless beings of energy that we actually are and work TOGETHER? I say we remember that the spirit within us today is the same spirit that danced within us at 5 and we are as capable of feeling limitless joy and acceptance now as we were then. Maybe it doesn’t come as effortlessly now as it once did, but it can still come if we allow it to. I say if we hold hands and stick together, anything is possible. I’ll start with me.

“C’mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now…”  -The Youngbloods

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