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Walking, conditioning, guilt and self-worth
You do it to yourself, you do, and that's why it really hurts, you do it to yourself, just you, you and no one else, you do it to yourself...
I wrote several weekly energy tips emails in advance of my trip to Morocco, thinking I would be writing something light and simple to keep the cogs and wheels in motion, to ensure that people wouldn’t forget about me while I was in sunnier climes. Yet what I wrote turned into something else, this piece of work, and I felt I wanted to share it here, too.
Being in the winter sun, and the turn of the seasons was the lead-in to this piece of writing. Because I used to experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and I would get very down in the winter. I would overeat and put on weight and indulge myself in many shadow behaviours such as mindlessly watching television and not exercising. Once I discovered Reiki I learned that I have the light I am looking for inside of me, and winters never affected me the same way again. But I still had that lazy need to hide and overindulge during the darker days. I’m glad to say I’ve turned that around too, for in a way, the plandemic has been motivation to me to find the strength and fortitude to get up every day and go for a walk.
My walking practice has been so helpful in many other ways besides simply exercising my body, particularly my legs and lower back. I don't share my own personal story, moreso my thinking processes. But I have no difficulty disclosing that I have had chronic pain for more than 30 years. I've discovered that walking three to five kilometres every day strengthens my body so much that my pain levels have dropped significantly. From 80% down to 20%. For this I'm eternally grateful. Walking for me is also a space to clear my mind, clear my energy, ground myself and make plans for what I want to work on next.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, I started walking in November, three years ago. And I didn’t start by walking 3-5K a day. I set myself a small goal of 2000 steps. Can you believe that 2000 steps for me, 3 years ago was a great challenge? My hip was locked out of place, my pelvis was tilted in such a way that I would get leg spasms, and my body felt so heavy when I moved, it was like pushing a rock up a hill. I had to do something, though, and walking felt, do-able. And I didn’t hate it. So I started to walk. As my body adjusted to 2000 steps, I added on 200more. Focusing on my pelvic tilt I got stronger, and was able to trust my body to hold itself correctly, by itself. I treated myself to an Apple Watch the following February, 3 months into it, so that I could better track my progress. I found that competing against myself could be fun. Then, it became a habit.
Fast forward three years and I am doing approx 12,000 steps a day. Sometimes I cannot do them so I don’t push myself. Some days I do more, some less. But I find the longer I stop moving the harder it is to get started again.
The pendulum swings in both directions. I found during year 2 on the wild windy days, where the weather conditions were too harsh for a walk, that I would get very agitated if I couldn’t go. I’ve had some amazing walks in the wind and rain, but it is too strong at times, so I settle for walking in a shopping mall. Or I didn’t settle at all! I’ve found a YouTube for indoor walking but it’s just not the same thing, marching around the living room. I’m glad to say I’m less pushy on myself now than I was, but I can see that I have successfully conditioned myself to go walking every day.
And I do notice, that If I walk, I have a big tick in the box and some part of me is deeply satisfied. If not, and I’m feeling more tired than usual, I find ways to upset myself over it that I never knew were possible, or, in fact, reasonable. I’m writing this in advance of my Morocco trip, knowing that I won’t be getting my walking time in every day. And I’m sharing this with you because we are all human and this is part of what that means - we are too easily programmable. Not only from society, but we do it to ourselves, too. So even though I’ll be somewhere immensely beautiful, I’ll probably be struggling with interior programming that is telling me I’m a bad person and I’ve let myself down because I’m not doing my daily step count!
You could say I’m creating this - I am saying here with you as my witnesses that I’m aware of it. And I will support myself through it, and be kind to myself when I hear my harsh voice attack me over it. Because it’s irrational, and I know it is.
Who made us like this? And why? Well, even if we never find the answer, it’s something we all need to learn to live with. It’s fear based, the fear is around who would we be if we could be totally happy? And guilt is a great way to keep us humble.
How are you doing this to yourself? Using guilt to keep you on the straight and narrow? Is it about self-worth (the I’m not good enough conditioning?) I think we can track it all back to the ‘I’m not good enough’ conditioning. Good enough for who? That’s the real question we need to be asking.
Anyway these are just some thoughts for you. I trust that you are spending time connecting to your heart and disconnecting from the world around you. And if you have some time, maybe you’ll look at your own pendulum of conditioning, or self-worth, and see how you can better support yourself in your life, too.
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