We're all busy people. Busy doing, trying, striving. Reaching for the heights, the finish line, the ultimate goal. Day in, day out, we all attempt to improve our knowledge, our bank account, our social status, our business.
The fact is, it's human nature: like an acorn turning into an oak tree, we are born to expand and to grow into the best version of ourselves.
Yet many tend to overlook a significant aspect for strong, steady and healthy growth: our own bodies.
But if we look closely at nature, we can get some clues as to why being in touch with our physicality is so important.
THE STORY OF TWO ACORNS
Once upon a time there were two acorns. Both were identical: they came from the same tree. And both happened to find the same patch of rich and fertile soil, ideal for a lifetime of growth.
The first acorn decided to take its time and to really enjoy itself while it slowly grew into a beautiful oak. As it began its process of transformation, it started to ground itself: it put ever deeper roots that held it firmly to the ground and prevented it from being blown away or felled by the storm.
At the same time, it grew a strong external layer to protect it from the elements around; a solid coat of bark that expanded as it grew older. It also spurted branches that were the perfect size to support its leaves and hold its whole body in balance. In short, it slowly built a physical structure adapted to its needs, able to withstand strong external influences and forces - in some cases even earthquakes.
The second acorn however was very intent on growing as tall as possible, taller than all the other oaks around it - especially his brother that was growing next to him. So it spent day and night working hard, striving, trying, achieving. It grew as tall as it could, and faster than all the other oaks around it. So fast that it neglected to dig deep roots. So fast that it had no time to build a thick and protective bark around its core. And so fast that it its branches grew weak and unbalanced.
One day, a violent and powerful storm swooped across the land and blew its forceful winds onto the patch of land where these two oak trees were now standing. The first oak tree was blown around, lost a few of its leaves, but when the storm subsided was still standing strong and mighty. The second oak however was at the mercy of the elements, and after being forcefully blown from side to side and losing most of its branches, was eventually ripped from its spot and fell, broken and bruised, onto the land beside it.
YOU ARE AN ACORN
Just like these acorns, you must learn to develop a physical body able to withstand the storms of life: strong foundations, a balanced structure, a healthy system.
You see, our bodies and our mind are not separate; they are one. We are one being, one system. Our body mirrors our mind, and our mind is affected by our body’s strength, openness and energy.
An imbalanced physique reflects some disequilibrium in our energy, our thoughts, our feelings. In fact, any external symptom, may it be extra weight, tightness, stress, lack of energy, even illness or disease are symptoms of internal misalignment.
And so, just like the trees of the story, if you want to live to your full potential, healthy, fulfilled, with a real sense of freedom, alignment, lightness and openness, while being deeply grounded in your being and your life, you need make sure that your body is all of those things too.
HOW TO BE MORE LIKE AN ACORN
1. Commit to your body
The first step towards creating the unique body that you need for your unique journey of growth is to commit to it. To promise to care for it, to nurture it, to stand by it, to mother it. In other words, to take full responsibility for yourself, both body and mind. To fully give it what it needs to support your goals, your dreams and your desires. Only from that space will you feel the drive to take long-term action.
2. Develop a relationship with it
If we go back to our oak or our acorn, we cannot imagine it as being separate from its body. It IS its body. That really is the ultimate goal: to fully be in your body, connected to it and listening to it, fully aware that it IS you. However in order to get there, it sometimes helps to treat your body as separate to your mind at first. Imagine you were starting up a new relationship: just like any relationship worth its value, you have to give it time, understanding, energy and love.
3. Understand what your body needs more of
Over time, you'll be able to listen out to your body's needs. To its cries, its whispers, its desires, its impulses. You see, your body is not just an unconscious piece of meat you have to drag around with you, it's MEGAconscious: it has its own innate intelligence. Our job is to get out of our own way and learn to listen to it. Any tightness, anxiety, imbalance, illness or weight gain is your body's response to you being out of internal alignment with either your intuition or with your body’s needs. By listening, observing, and witnessing it day after day, you'll soon learn whether it needs more openness, more strength, more stability, or more energy. Then you can act accordingly.
4. Give your body what it needs
No fitness magazine, no personal training programme and no fad diet book can tell you what you need to do. Of course, they can be great resources once you have clarity, but beware not to follow them blindly as they may in fact take you further from your body's natural alignment.
If you feel that you need more openness, do some stretching, some yoga or some dancing. If you need more energy, go for a run, take a dance or yoga class or cycle to work. If you need more stability, practice some balancing yoga practices. And if you need more strength, maybe join a gym, do some yoga (yoga is basically the answer to everything including world peace) or find some exercise routine you can do at home.
If your budget allows, maybe also give yourself some time with an expert. I use a variety of body therapists in London:
- Ben Pianese, a sports massage therapist in London near Marylebone, who has developed his own approach to massage (the Massaggi technique) which combines sports massage with a variety of other science-based methods
- Andrew Creevy, an Osteopath based near Waterloo, who works with many top-level performers and whom I recommend for injury treatment and acupuncture
- Karen Willis, whom I nickname the "Body Whisperer", a Kinesiologist based in Angel, who can assess your body's intolerances, deficiencies and needs using muscle testing.
And remember, whenever you are lost or in doubt, you can always ask yourself the famous question: "What would an acorn do?"
Love & Health,