A friend emails me and says, “I want new insides”. I laugh and say, “Me too.” We are both having one of those days where you just want relief from yourself, and from the voices of fear. After all this time I can still get blindsided by fear and unnerved by the nagging voices of doubt inside of me.
I decide to talk to this angel of fear who nags me. I think of this inner fear voice as an angel because I know that at some level this is a part of me that wants to protect me, so she is always worrying and warning me, always sure that something bad is going to happen. So as I talk to the fear, I pray. I begin to get some relief but the sensation I have is that my emotional muscles could be stronger.
It occurs to me that I need to do some emotional Pilates. I have to strengthen my core—my core beliefs. My old habit is to succumb to the fear--not having enough strength to stand up to it. It’s like my old habit of slouching at my desk--it’s comfortable but I‘ve learned in physical therapy that over time those “comfortable” habits are quite damaging to my spine.
I have been doing Pilates for several years. Pilates is a practice of physical exercise developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1940's to help injured dancers to heal. It works. My posture is better and my back doesn’t hurt anymore. Why do I keep going? I want to get stronger and I don’t want any more injuries. Now I also see that my Twelve-step recovery is a lot like my Pilates.
This week in a Pilates class I found a new muscle. Apparently I’ve always had these really deep lower abs but I wasn't using them--the other muscles were overriding them and doing all the work. But all of a sudden in one exercise I felt something way deep down and it was a muscle group I hadn't been able to isolate before. It was really hard to use them, and I was sore afterward, but it felt so good.
In the same way I can continue to identify my character defects, my fears, and those nagging “you are not good enough” thoughts. And by sitting still and focusing I can isolate them and I can isolate my strengths and gifts. They are also way, way down there.
Yes, it can ache to identify and isolate them. But each time I do that and I use those subtle emotional muscles--I can sense a bit more strength, and I stand up taller and I am growing stronger.