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Strength Training

While on a call with a spiritual direction client yesterday, we were talking about all the ways in which hir life is shifting. I said:

“Seek out that which strengthens you.”

It felt like good advice for us all.

Some challenges are things we can rise to. Other challenges just serve to grind us down. Some friends are the same. So are some movies, some music, certain activities…

What do you need for optimal strength? Different food choices? Deeper meditation practice? More prayer? A change in how you approach exercise? More laughter? Books you have to study instead of race through? Conversations with viewpoints that differ from your own? More sleep? Less sleep?

This week I took a Pilates class that left me feeling taller and more solid than when I walked in. I get a fair amount of exercise, and some of you followed my explorations with my former trainer. In the last year or so, I’ve been self-motivated: four mile bike rides with sit ups and push ups in the middle. Small amounts of morning yoga at home after my prayers and meditation. Kettle bells. Jumping jacks on work breaks. But I haven’t pushed and stretched myself. I’ve maintained my strength, which is good, but the one hour class felt strengthening in a different way. Someone else was guiding me to do things I would not otherwise. My body loved it. I’m planning to go back.

We all have default settings, whether high or low. Those default settings mostly maintain the status quo, and sometimes serve to weaken us over time. To grow in strength and resiliency, we need a change. Some of us need to slow down and deepen. Some of us need a push toward greater motion. What we need is to rise to – or sink into – a challenge.

What do you think you need? Or what are you already engaged with? In other words:

What strengthens you? 

I look forward to reading your insights.

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