PURSUIT OF CALM #36
Physical training for mental well-being
Mind training for physical well-being 

 

Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

-Viktor Frankl-

 

What do I mean by ‘responsibility’?

A common definition of ‘responsibility’ could be ‘one being burdened with the tasks of ones life’…ones job, the relationships with ones partner, children, friends, and the environment in which you have chosen to live in. 
For me, and for the purpose of this word-salad, it means being response-abled. Simply put, having the *ability & capacity torespond calmly & thoughtfully to others, to the obstacles that impede our day-to-day, plus, how we internally respond to our own thinking, our internal narrative…our ego.

Ability = Actual Skill
Either mental or physical; native or acquired
Capacity = Potential to Develop
Usually mental, as opposed to acquired

Proactively nurturing our response-ability is a profoundly powerful strategy-for-living that means you, as the individual, are able to choose how you will respond to any stimuli. This essentially means that when you practice, and begin to master your ‘response-ability’, you are better-abled to exert self-control and make calmer, more conscious choices concerning how everything in your life will affect you.

“I am not a product of my circumstances.
I am a product of my decisions.”

-Dr Stephen Covey-

Our Lives Are What We Make Of It
Ultimately, we are solely responsible for our own lives. And how we react, behave and connect is a direct function of our choices & decisions, not our environment. Yet, for most, it is the ‘environment’ that we allow to influence our choices & decisions, and thus create a life of suffering.  

If we aspire to become calmer & more mindful, less anxious & reactive, to improve our self-control, and live a more vital, healthier happier life, then we must practice not to blame external factors – factors outside our control, and factors that we’ve (unconsciously) chosen and adopted.

“We control our opinion, choice, desire, aversion,
and, in a word, everything of our own doing.”
Epictetus

‘Blame’ Drains Our Energy
If we continue to blame, if we continue to allow the circumstances of our environment to determine and undermine our decisions and the health of our psychology, then we’ll continue to be a slave to our habits of our escape, resulting in a dull mind and lazy body.

Response-Ability is Connection. Response-Disability is Isolation.
We can only truly experience life (reality) if we have the energy to engage & connect with it. By connecting to it we’re both equally gifted and challenged by the fluidity of life – the good and the bad, the healthy and the unhealthy, the sad, the joy, the excitement and the anxiety. This is where our response-ability is tested. This is where we train. This is where we (should) live.

However, if we allow the above to continually herd us into isolation, we’re actively disconnecting & desensitising ourselves from life, in effect, nurturing irresponsibility – recklessness, carelessness, thoughtlessness, inattentiveness. 

What do I mean by isolation?

Isolation is when we resort to our habits of escape – to our comfort zone of compulsive distraction, inebriation & enervation.
It’s very easy to be calm, present-minded, peaceful and response-abled in isolation, when you’re sitting quietly and comfortably in your own home – away from annoying colleagues & staff, people, traffic and host of other triggering stimuli. But honestly, what good is that sense of faux-calm if it’s not applicable and beneficial where you need it most…in the real world.

When we are no longer able to change the situation,
we are challenged to change ourselves
-Viktor Frankl

Honing Your Response-Ability is Active-Meditation. 
If reality is the mirror that reflects who you truly are, then it’s in your ability & capacity to witness yourself – to acknowledge how you respond and react to your reality – that will show you, warts n all, your true self. And it’s only by seeing who we really are in relationship to reality is where we have an opportunity to scrutinise the darker aspects of ourselves – aspects that we need to understand and embrace, rather than isolating from.

If the situation(s) in your life are burdening yourself to such an extent that your are unable to consistently respond calmly and effectively, then the only options available to us is to either continue seeking isolation and perpetuate enervation and ill-health, or,  we can challenge ourselves to revolutionise how we respond to the external situations, by addressing and changing how and if we respond.
This choice we all have.

 “You are not your body and hairstyle,
but your capacity for choosing well.
If your choices are beautiful,
so too will you be.”
– Epictetus

Inspired by: Epictetus, Viktor Frankl, and reflections on my sobriety.

Next: Vitality Is A Vocation  

Feedback is very welcomed:
I’d love to hear from you, so don’t be shy in sharing your thoughts and feedback. I do truly appreciate you taking the time to read these articles, so if there’s any topic that you’d like to hear more of, or less of, do not hesitate to let me know.

If you need to any help, suggestions, strategies to improving your general fitness, strength, satiation, calm and vitality do not hesitate to drop me a line.
I don’t have the answers, but I’ve got plenty of experience on both sides of the health and fitness spectrum, which affords me a plethora of strategies, ideas, support mechanisms, techniques that you may find incredibly useful.

Lastly, do not hesitate to share this email, or sign up friends or love ones who you think may get some benefit from the rhubarb I write here

Peace & Health
Luke