Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cross-Training for Freedom

Ever get in a rut with routines? Maybe it's not a rut as such, as much as a plateau. There's a part of me that can crave the familiar through routine, ie; eating the same foods, doing the same tried and true exercises at the gym, eating at the same restaurants, etc.

While routines are a great way to cultivate a certain aspect of discipline, it's equally valuable to shake things up a bit, to go into brand-new situations and find my "legs", as-it-were, in a new environment.

Athletes regularly cross-train their bodies across a vast spectrum of exercises and disciplines to train balance, agility, strength, and Awareness. English Theatre actors cross-train their capacities as actors by studying things like fencing, dance, singing, and writing.

Zen students often cross-train in Archery, Flower Arranging, and Gardening as well as deepening through classical practices like seated meditation, solving koans, and doing self-inquiry.

As I've been spending more time focusing my awarenes in Los Angeles lately, I've been drawn to learning new skills and expanding others...and all as a way to sharpen embodied agile Awareness across a broader spectrum.

It's easy (mostly) for me to be aware of the Presence when meditating, doing breathwork, teaching, writing, and other "active" spiritual practices. I'm endeavoring to widen the birth for Truth and Spirit and Self-Love by engaging in things where I'm more of a beginner.

Today I dragged myself to a grappling class led by a friend who's something like a 5th degree blackbelt in Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do. In this arena, I am a beginner in a class of students who've been at it much longer than me. Oh, and I say 'dragged myself' as I had a tremendous amount of resistence to class come up in the hour before it was time to go. Meanwhile, I was looking forward to it all week long. Anything like that ever happen to you?

"How you do anything is how you do everything."
~ David Elliott

I'm looking at taking a cooking basics series at the Epicurean School here in LA. While I've cooked since about age 5 (there're some great stories about nearly averting fires, lol!), as I've been cooking more and more for myself, I've notice that the box of ideas I cook from is a lot more limited than I'd like.

And jumping into a cooking program, or martial arts, or the video dance jam classes I've been toying with at Equinox...all these are venues for me to be brand-new, to be a beginner, and to bring conscious Awareness into blind-spots.

These are practical ways for me to play with my edge around the unknown. To see what comes up through my ego about not being perfect in the first class, to digest some of the competitive energy I still carry, and to see how intuition works with and through me in these situations outside my familiar comfort zone.

I love it! I'm always glad, walking out of one of these classes or new situations, that I go for it. I trust myself to ask questions, to make mistakes and learn through experience. And where insecurity arises...that's great! It points out where I can bring more self-love, trust, and faith. It lets me know where my work is with myself.

There's a difference between what I'm working with around all of this, and say shopping the "spiritual buffet". How do I know? I was a busy consumer on that buffet for a number of years. Shopping the spiritual buffet would be like reading and trying little bits of a lot of different things without focusing deeply enough on anything to realize the fruit of the practice. Usually it comes along with seeking peak experiences more than burning off of tightly held illusions.


  1. OMG - Brilliant! xoxoxo chrissy

  2. More, more! Yes! I almost always get that 1-hour pre-event resistance drag. Same experience. Even for things I've totally been looking forward to. So interesting. Glad to know I'm not alone in that. xo

  3. @Chrissy ~ Thank you!!!

    @Kristi ~ such a Tai-Chi, isn't it?