December 30th, 2008
In kung fu there is a saying, “A strength over-extended becomes a weakness.”
A profound concept, no doubt. Let’s look at how it applies outside of the martial arts realm.
Suppose you manage EVERY detail of your day – and feel you must work from a list ALL the time.
This will help you get more things done – but it will reflect in your body as stiffness, aches, pains and inflexibility. Your mind needs time each day to unwind – to sit in silence with no plan, no agenda. Just breathing and paying attention to life itself. Time in which to feel that no one is home.
When I’m in China I will often sit with a friend for a meal, talking – or simply sitting and sipping tea, for hours. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. And these are some of those most profound moments of my life. Afterward I come up with ideas that wouldn’t have otherwise manifested if I was fixated on “time” and my schedule.
Rigidly sticking to the concept of “time” and never making room for spontaneity or synchronicity leads to stiffness, rigidity and pain. It’s an important strength, being able to manage one’s day and time – but if you’re too rigid, too strong – relationships get shattered, others feel neglected.
You’ve gained nothing.
The key is staying in the middle. Neither being to strong – or to lackadaisical. It’s having segments of your life that are controlled and others that are relaxed.
If everything is controlled by Father Time – then Mother Nature will make you pay a price. She will force you to relax when you least expect it. Better to plan on relaxing in advance.
As a martial artist I have routines I follow with great devotion and discipline.
It is not always the same workout – but often the same exercises. I have a plan for how many repetitions I will do each day – and I stick to it.
But even the same exercises are not the SAME if I delve into each with more feeling. If I dive DEEP into the experience of what I’m doing. If I really ground myself in the moment.
Some time ago, I planned on doing my evening routine at 10 PM – but I got engaged in conversation with a friend until late in the evening on the topic of “out of body experiences.”
It’s estimated that 25% of the population has one of these OBE’s sometime in his/her lifetime. Many get freaked out. Others are afraid to talk about it because people may think they’re looney.
So we spoke about this and other mysterious matters until after midnight. When he left I realized I still hadn’t done my final workout. So I went outside and began to train at 12:30 a.m.
Less than halfway through the form I was G-O-N-E. No concept of time. At least not accurate time.
I’d only been moving a short while, yet it seemed as if I’d been training for half an hour or more.
I continued to move – and time continued to feel distorted. A few minutes felt like an hour. Similar to the feeling of visiting Hawaii – and after one day you feel you’ve been there a week.
Since that evening I almost always have this same time distortion feeling when I train. Even if I time myself on certain drills, I’m so in the moment that time is like a foreign concept.
Around the same time I noted that this same feeling of time NOT being what it’s supposed to be, had entered other realms of my experience. When I sat to write a newsletter or article, there was no such thing as time. When I got up to speak in public – there was no such thing as 90 minutes or one hour.
Oddly enough, 90 minute talks turned into ones that were three, four – even five hours long. Without a break. And no one was leaving the room.
How could this be.
In the past I always spoke for 90 minutes then took a break. And I was a bit fatigued afterward. Now I spoke for hours and felt energized.
The moral of the story, when a strength is over-extended, you get weakness. You get breakdown.
But when a strength is turned into a stretch – when you’re flexible enough to bend – you will not break. You’ll go further than you’ve ever gone before.
There’s a Chinese saying, “Bend with the wind to avoid the hurricane.”
Think of a tree that is rigid. A hurricane with easily dispose of it.
But a bamboo tree that bends with the wind – it will most likely be spared.
So it goes with your life.
Be strong where you are strong – but not too strong. Add flexibility into the picture and you may surprise yourself with what happens.
Best way to begin adding flexibility is to begin paying attention to your breathing.
Observe your inhale and exhale. Just watch. Do so no matter what you’re doing.
The second step is becoming keenly aware of your mental pictures and self-talk – and tweaking them to ones that are better.
The third step is moving without unneeded effort, resistance or struggle.
I’ll have a video for you to watch online very soon that explains this and more in greater detail.
In the meantime, make sure you are raring and ready to move into 2009 with the right mind-body set for success, prosperity and health.
Why not let me begin guiding you in the process with my best-seller, 101 Ways to Magnetize Money.
Happy New Year.