The Importance of #2 (Excerpt from Are You Useful?)
(As I work on digitizing my new book, certain chunks of it will make their way into this blog. If you can’t wait for the digital version, feel free to get your hands on the analog version, complete with pages and a cover, here. This post is the first part of one of the final chapters.)
If you’ve made it this far, then you have a tenacity of spirit that gives you bragging rights. Despite conceit not being a particularly embodied trait, sometimes we can all use a little strut. You’ve actually declared, whether you know it or not, that you have a true passion for movement and strength. Training is not just a hobby. You’re now waist-deep in your pursuit of Why, which is the perfect time to change the question.
How does training work? You know… metaphysically?
Training, when taken to its holistic conclusion, is an awareness of the self and our relationship to the tribe. This embodiment is, of course, what any deep passion has the power to become. What’s unique about our movement and strength practice is that it has this profound, hylomorphic process waiting to be exposed while also being a truly tactile experience. We build some good ol’ useable physical skills in the process.
Again, how does this metaphysical part work? Empowerment isn’t automatic. When delving into the What, you’ll find a bunch of beautiful training protocols that, as physical skill building templates, are the real deal. But without the goal of Becoming, without the presence to embody that goal, they won’t ultimately be transformative. The folks who succeed do so because of something that is beyond the physical. Frankly, almost any program can offer some degree of insight into the self if we’re ready to embrace what I call Step #2. We’re just often too quick to buy into the distraction, the false awareness. We lose our way, and pay good money to do so.
Step One: Steal underpants.
Remember this South Park episode? When asked why the underpants gnomes were stealing and hoarding the kid’s underpants, said gnomes produced a chart.
Step 1) Steal underpants
Step 3) Profit!
This basic template, just with different wording, is an accurate representation of how we believe automatic success works, and we buy it in many forms. Now ‘automatic’ doesn’t mean instantaneous. No, we have to work for the ‘profit.’ But we believe this hard work automatically begets something successful, something desired. The fitness industrial complex sells it to us this way…
Step 1) Workout
Step 3) A better you!
Without a defined Step #2 your outcome may as well be based on dreams and rainbow rides. Snorting all the pixie dust you can squeeze out of hippy poop will give you as much chance of success as not having a plan. The Fitness Industrial Complex has no Step 2. What’s your Step 2?
As we’ve rambled on about, we’d better define a purpose. Maybe this doesn’t have to happen before Step 1, but somewhere pretty close on the timeline. A good goal would be to make purpose an integral part of Step 1.
Step 2 is simple, yet endlessly complex: Be Aware. This skill, however, as any neuroscientist or meditation mentor could tell you, is no easy task.
The wordy version:
Step 1) Workout (with purpose)
Step 2) Create awareness of self, perpetuating a greater understanding, respect, and appreciation of our relationship with my body.
Step 3) A better Me!
Yeah, that’s a mouthful. Let’s boil Step 2 down into three sections To paraphrase some words of wisdom, you can spend the rest of your life trying to understand just one of these, and it would not be a life wasted.
- Be present.
- Turn judgment into observation.
- Find joy/appreciation.
(It’s a cliffhanger… what do these mean? How can one understand them? All these questions (and more!) are answered in a fresh new copy of Are You Useful, available now on Amazon, or right here!)