Thursday, December 12, 2013

The One-ness

We talk sometimes about the mind and the body as if they are separate things. I suppose we need to differentiate between the two for purposes of discussion but I don't think it's so much a connection as it is being one and the same, all one being, so to speak. I'm getting a little new-agey here, even for this San Francisco native. But I remember being bowled over as a young adult watching Bill Moyers' series, Healing and the Mind. I was 22 when this series came out, in under-grad working on my psychology degree and minoring in medical anthropology with a focus on healing and medicine in other cultures. This concept of one mind/body being was so powerful to me then. A description of the series...
Ancient Medical Science told us our minds and bodies are one. So did philosophers of old. Now modern science and new research are helping us to understand these connections. In Healing and the Mind, Bill Moyers talks with physicians, scientists, therapists, and patients – people who are taking a new look at the meaning of sickness and health.
I started thinking about this last night. I'd been feeling fairly weak recently, psychologically weak. I know I've referenced challenges in my personal life of late and those had left me feeling incapable, broken, a bit lost and definitely not on solid ground. Over the past 7 years I'd moved into such a place of strength and confidence that to be feeling these things again led me to begin doubting myself. I've been heavy on the self-loathing, beating myself up, not being a good friend to myself. In short, I've been my own worst enemy. It's not good for me or for those around me, chief among them being my children.

If you follow my blog no doubt the weakness has come through in posts. My normal mojo seemed to have left the building. But last night, within the four walls of the gym, amongst the dumbbells and medicine balls, I found a bit of strength. It was physical strength - lifting, raising, holding - but it ignited a spark of mental strength. My mind kicked into gear, inspired by my body. Yes, I can move, yes, I am capable, yes, I am here and I am strong and I can exert force over things.

Can we think of the mind and body as two things, like an engine in a car? I'm not sure those are analogous. Our body is sharing fluid with our mind, sharing matter, the brain both sends and receives information from the mind, they are intricately connected, not just connected, but one. Is there a difference between psychological strength and physical strength?

I don't know what my point is here, except to say that I felt the one-ness of the mind and body in the gym last night. As I strengthened my body, so went my mind. And I believe as my mind gets stronger, it will re-cycle that into the body, a shared system, an ever-engaged body/mind.

It doesn't much matter where you start, as long as you start. The mind, the body - I know, now I'm talking again like they're two separate things, but I think for purposes of discussion we're stuck with the differentiation. Or maybe not? I believe in change the mind and the body will follow, will change the body and the mind will follow also work? I've heard many a story about people who change their body and through that, find their inner mental strength - heck, now that I think about it, that's what happened to me along this journey. And even last night at the gym.

Anyway, a quick post on today. I went to the gym after work and a spin class had just started up. I ran to the locker room and changed and managed to get 45 minutes of the class. The energy I felt on the bike was amazing! I was bopping to the music and smiling like a kid in a candy store. After that I did chest/triceps/core for strength training. I asked one of the regulars to count pushups for me, to push me to do all 20 for my first set - it worked! I did almost my full normal routine, dropping one set of dips when my body was feeling too taxed. So, we'll see how I feel tomorrow. Quite sore I'm guessing. But I'm happy to be in the swing.

Tonight I went to dinner with my mom and ate about 5,000 calories. That's the not so good news. She took me on a date and I had a lovely meal with all the fixings. And dessert. But I'm not worried, I know I'm back on my path and I know where this path goes. As long I stay the course, I know where I'll end up. Back to my happy place - strong, confident, and on a roll. An object back in motion.


  1. I actually enjoy reading your website and that I look forward to your own new upgrades.

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  2. awesome! i can say from my own experience that when i changed my body, it changed my mind. in the journey to lose the first 70 of 90 pounds, i gained soooo much confidence. i am now more confident than i've been in my entire life.

  3. This is a great topic. In 12-step fellowships there is a slogan of "bring the body and the mind will follow." It's one of the basic points in the program: We don't think ourselves into acting better (or else we would have been successful long ago), we actually act ourselves into better thinking. I 100% believe mind/body are one (and furthermore that is only half the circle - we are also spirit and emotion) and that we are always in motion. Health and wellness rely on keeping all areas balanced and unified. I love your blog, I've been binge-reading it for days since I found it :)

    1. Thank you Liz! And I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog.


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