We all have a desire to be seen or heard and to be acknowledged. We’re constantly working on ourselves to become a better person. There’s nothing more gratifying than knowing that we have positively impacted another’s life. It reminds us that we are on the right path. It encourages us to become the best we can be and to fully express ourselves. With that in mind, we work on cultivating a life force more expansive than our physicality. It’s that essence–that quality about who we are–that is often remembered more, than what we looked like or what we said. We wonder what we can do to cultivate this inner quality, which transcends how we show up in the world. We think of this energy as charisma or presence.
Let’s turn our attention to what we can do to expand the life force inside of us. Most, if not all of us, live too much in our heads. Our thoughts control our lives. So much so, that instead of moving forward, our good intentions, stay in our minds and don’t get acted upon.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to shift this pattern is to live from the heart. Cultivating a spiritual practice is the pathway that leads to this way of being. There are several forces at play here. Initially you have to make a commitment to the practice, which will support you in overcoming your resistance. Resistance prevents you from moving forward and living life fully. This is especially so when cultivating a spiritual practice or discipline. That’s why it’s referred to as a “practice or discipline.” Meditation, Yoga and Tai Chi are all practices that I have worked with at various times of my life. All of them cultivate the energetic life force which often shows up in the form of magnetism or enthusiasm. As an added bonus, several studies have documented the health benefits of these various practices. Not only will your ability to handle stress become better, but the benefits to your immune system are enormous.
When speaking to groups or to individual clients, I have noticed that many people struggle with finding their life purpose and the meaning of life. Because of this they sometimes feel lonely and alienated. This won’t change until they develop a connection with a higher power, greater than they are. Once they do, they will be reminded that they share this universe with many other species.
A spiritual practice is a great beginning, but just one piece of the pie. You still need to do more to expand your life force. I am a firm believer in the value of movement. There is nothing more profound than exercise to get your energy moving. Tell the truth. How often do you exercise? By exercising you get the endorphins going. Instead of feeling sluggish, you feel an energy that wasn’t there just a few minutes before. No matter how I am feeling emotionally, after about fifteen minutes of cardio, I feel much better. But as I have said before, you have to do the work.
Once you are grounded in a spiritual practice and exercise consistently, the next step, which is to live passionately, is not too much of a stretch. Finding something that you are passionate about becomes a reason for living. No matter what it is, that passion positively affects other areas of your life. In my former career as a trial attorney there were times when I was passionate about my work. But for the most part as time went on, it became mainly a business to me and I lost my passion for my career. If I didn’t have a passion for playing music and for my spiritual life, I would have felt like I was just going through the motions. Since I did have those passions, no matter what I was doing, I was able to bring my enthusiasm with me.
The final step is to develop a consciousness of Impeccability, which extends beyond where you ordinarily stop. Most of us have a sense of integrity in our relationship with others. We do what we say we are going to do. We’re reluctant to let someone down, even agreeing to things that perhaps we don’t really want to do. As a result, quite often when we say “Yes” to someone else, we are saying “No” to ourselves… to those life-empowering agreements we have made with ourselves…such as taking the time for our spiritual practice, our self-care program which includes exercise and eating healthier. So often when we wake up in the morning we say to ourselves, “I’m not in the mood. I’ll skip it today.” I know that one well. The trap we can fall into, is that we might say the same thing the next day, and before we know it, we are out of the habit.
Resistance prevents us from fully recommitting to our better self. It affects everything we do in some way. It might be “not doing something” or it might be “not participating fully.” By developing a consciousness of impeccability we have an inner resource that helps us overcome our resistance. Imagine what your life would be like, if once you said you were going to do something, there was no more discussion and you did it.
Many years ago, my son Josh brought home from the gym a quote that uses the word Workout as a metaphor for that consciousness of Impeccability. Take the liberty to use a different word than workout if you feel so inclined.
A workout is 25 percent perspiration and 75 percent determination. Stated another way it is one part physical exertion and three parts self discipline.
A workout makes you better today than you were yesterday.
It strengthens the body, relaxes the mind and toughens the spirit. When you work out regularly your problems diminish and your confidence grows.
A workout is a wise use of time and investment in excellence. It is a way of preparing for life’s challenges and proving to yourself that you have what it takes to do what is necessary.
A workout is a key that helps unlock the door to opportunity and success. Hidden within each of us is an extraordinary force. Physical and mental fitness are the triggers that can release it.
A workout is a form of rebirth. When you finish a workout you do not simply feel better, you feel better about yourself.
I love hearing from you. Let me know what is going on in your life. Please feel free to forward Letters on Life to those in your circle.
Throughout his life, Mark has always made a practice of taking a leap of faith whenever he heard the call for something more. His life has been an unfolding journey of discovery. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. Whether coaching one-on-one, speaking to groups, or leading a retreat, he shares his message that regardless of our life’s circumstances, we can find more joy and meaning in our life. He is a sought after speaker and coauthor along with Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy and other experts in the book 101 Great Ways to Improve your Life. Mark’s new book, Dancing on the River…Finding Joy and Meaning in the Midst of Change. email@example.com 415.453.5016