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Build Your Strength

Posted on: April 29th, 2020 by Domante No Comments

I often speak about doing the inner work: meditation, raising awareness, being present, staying in a resourceful state, observing your feelings etc. Whilst this work is truly important, and self-analysis is crucial for personal growth, there is absolutely nothing that can give us mental/emotional strength faster than physical exercise. Inner work requires patience, dedication and discipline. Physical exercise helps us follow-through.

For most of us the time has come to apply more resistance in order to grow not only our physical but mental/emotional muscles too. Probably more than ever before, we need outstanding mental/emotional resilience. We must stand strong on our two feet, we can’t be wobbly – we have to be decisive. Furthermore, we need to be willing to go that extra mile, firstly, by increasing resistance during an exercise, secondly, by taking this practice off our mats and into our work/our relationship/our ways of contributing to this world.

Many sources would tell us that our mental strength determines the strength of our physical body, however, I truly believe that it works the other way around too – we can build our mental/emotional strength by strengthening our body. Here is why:

Movement changes our body’s chemistry in an instant. Even a smallest movement, such as putting on a smile when you don’t feel like it, will change how you feel. Adopt different postures (of a depressed person, of a confident person, of a happy person), and see how each posture impacts the way you feel. When you go through a challenging workout routine, what does that make you feel like? Like a Spartan, like a champion – you call it whatever resonates with you. If you are feeling like a champion frequently, what happens to your mental/emotional muscles? You start building champion’s mentality outside-in.

Good heart-pumping exercise moves stagnant energy. Energy is meant to be flowing in our bodies without any restrictions. This is vitally important for our well-being, and it determines how we show up in the world. In its natural flow our energy is our life-force. The more blocked the energy, the more sluggish, indecisive, upset we feel. By restoring a natural flow of energy, we can reverse these negative feelings.

Dopamine boosts mood, motivation and attention. Endorphins are body’s natural pain killers. They relieve emotional stress and physical pain. Serotonin is known as a happy chemical because it contributes to our happiness and feeling of well-being. Wouldn’t it be great to get a bit of body’s own chemical advantage here?

It may sound like a “woo-woo” to you. However, think about it. We need our bodies to be at their best in order to achieve things we desire in this world. The stronger are our bodies, the more confidence we have in our ability to get to our ultimate destination.

The easiest way to get into a habit of getting out of our comfort zone is through exercise. By increasing resistance in our workout routines, we make pushing the limits familiar – we train our “I can, and I will” muscles that, eventually, will help us push through any adversity in life.

Just like a muscle, we grow through resistance – through challenge. Let’s increase resistance in our exercising routines, so when life throws a challenge at us next time, we are more confident in our ability to deal with it, and we have a much greater resilience.

Wherever you are with your workouts, try something new. The next step for you might be yoga, running, cycling or weight lifting… There is no one-size-fits-all here. Just note where you are right now and keep on taking it to the next level. Simply “push harder” as your personal fitness trainer would tell you.

Awaken Your Creativity

Posted on: April 22nd, 2020 by Domante No Comments

We know deeply inside of ourselves that there is more to this – there is more juice to our lives, there is that flow that we may have had glimpses of, there is that artist’s flare, there is that vibrancy that we have vague memories of. It is that creative force in each one of us that was suppressed at some point in our lives, whether by our own “rational” thinking, by the influence our parents had on us, by the pressure from our peers or wider society.

The very fact that this suppression happened means that we allowed it, we sacrificed a powerful force in order to fit in, to be loved, to be accepted and to be “normal”. This sacrifice cost us our vibrancythe life forceour inner firethe kundalini or shakti in yogic tradition. Many of us started dying inside. It may sound dramatic, and it is if you look at the long-term consequences. Great analogy to this is a fable about boiling frog. If we put a frog in a boiling water, it will jump out immediately. However, if we put a frog into cold water and heat it up to boiling slowly, the frog won’t perceive the danger (it would rather feel like in a jacuzzi!) and will be boiled to death. This is exactly what is happening to us right now. We are slowly and consistently pouring water over that inner fire without realising the danger.

We got into a habit of quieting the calling of that powerful force by overeating, extensively shopping, consuming alcohol and/or drugs, binge-watching television, scrolling up and down on our little screens, even exercising to the point of obsession.

I, too, disconnected from my creative force for a long period of time. It was only when I hit what I thought was the bottom of overdrinking, binge-watching and oversocialising with people who were depleting my inner resources, that I started listening to that calling deep within asking for nourishment.

If we do not hold respect for our inner creativity sanctuary, for our ability bring into being incredible things, whether that is by painting, writing, sculpting, playing music, singing, cooking, doing business, building houses, etc., we can’t expect others to respect it either. It is what we present to the world that gets reflected back to us. If people around us don’t believe in our ability to create, asking ourselves “do I believe in it?” is always a good place to start. And if we were pouring water on that inner fire long enough, we probably don’t believe in it at all.

In her book “Women Who Run with The Wolves” Clarissa Pinkola Estes says that “Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only”. Art here means anything that is born from that life force, anything that is brought into being by us. Using the story called “La Llorona”, author tells us to take back our river of creativity, and she lists several steps we need to make in order to do so. I revisited this chapter in the book recently, and I was reminded how important it is to attend to the life force in us. This is where everything we bring into being sparks from – this is where we begin our journey if we want to live a juicy life.

  1. Receive nurturance. Don’t deflect sincere compliments about your creative life. Practice to simply say “thank you” rather than “oh, this is nothing…
  2. Respond. Respond to everything what is going on around you, choose from vast possibilities of different thoughts, feelings and actions available to you. Use them to invoke curiosity, to inspire, to respond with a unique message. Stop supressing or censoring your feelings – stop saying to yourself “I shouldn’t be feeling this way”.
  3. Be wild. Don’t put yourself in a box, loosen the constrictions of your inner life, don’t be afraid to look stupid and don’t take yourself too seriously. “To create one must be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth”.
  4. Begin. Doesn’t matter how afraid you are to fail, just begin. Begin reclaiming that creative force. There is no other way to do it other than getting your hands on that project you were dreaming of, taking a paint brush and start painting, completing that book you have been writing on and off for years…
  5. Protect your time. Dedicate time for your creative work – for that idea, that message, that beauty you want to bring into life, and be vigilant about it. Don’t let distractions get in your way. Treat this time like the most important meeting, because that’s what it is.
  6. Stay with it. Stay through the blocks, through the moments of wanting to give up, through self-doubt, through failure. Do it over and over again until you achieve the mastery.
  7. Protect your creative life. Don’t allow anything or anybody (including yourself) to diminish the importance and the sacredness of your creative work.
  8. Craft your real work. Give your all to it. In that dedicated time and space give your full presence, love and energy to your creative work.
  9. Lay out the nourishment for the creative life. The author lists four key food groups for nourishing your creative life: time (dedicate and allow time), belonging (feel and reaffirm the affinity with what you do), passion (be passionate about your craft), and sovereignty (use the power and authority you hold over this process to bring your creation into life/into being).

I invite you to awaken your creativity and start living a juicy life.

Reach Your Optimal Performance in Times of Adversity

Posted on: April 7th, 2020 by Domante No Comments

Today most of us feel overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks, scared by the scale of the disease tearing the world apart and highly anxious not being able to anticipate what the future holds.

On top of it, we are demanding ourselves to be as productive and as efficient as we used to be. It is absolutely insane. We need to change our approach as our outer circumstances have changed dramatically. “Give me the formula!?” I hear you. I felt the same until I started asking the right question – “Where does my energy go?”.

Let’s look at Human Performance Curve below to really understand what is happening here.

Most of us are on the red side of the curve right now because mentally/emotionally we are all over the place. We are wasting our energy on things that are beyond our control, getting distracted by everything and everyone in our environment whilst trying to pile up even more tasks on our “to-do” list. Our old methods of dealing with everyday life are no longer working.

Whilst we still need some stress in order to reach our optimal performance, why not opt for positive stress such as aiming to do more when we are exercising, completing an important goal/project/task, learning new ways of working, communicating – overcoming “I’m not good with technology” lie we have been telling ourselves. Let’s be honest, we are not good at things we haven’t been practicing much.

Few simple things each one of us can do to move from red (distress) to green (eustress/optimal performance) part of the curve.

This is the time for all of us to start focusing on solutions, not on the problems. It begins with each one of us individually. Shift your own thinking, lift yourself up, get into your optimal performance and then, from that resourceful and inspiring place, help your team, your family and your friends.