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A letter about radical acceptance

This is a letter about radical acceptance.

This week’s newsletter is inspired by two very important young women in my life.

One of whom is my beautiful client Kayleigh and her post on Instagram this week.

She shared some ‘real talk’ and listed some of her traits, and how she is putting a different perspective on these ‘quirks’.

What I love about this post is that it is about accepting all the parts of her. The parts of her that are sometimes forgetful, the parts of her that mean that sometimes she feels anxious, in essence, the parts of her that make her who she is.

What I also know about Kayleigh, is that if you ask anyone who knows her what she is like, they are full of praise, they love her. I can’t speak for others, but I see her as a warrior, a fighter, (who won her actual fight in her first boxing match with total class). She is also funny and brave and extremely knowledgeable in her field. She is dedicated to her job as a personal trainer, and I am excited to be working alongside her as she works towards her goals. Accepting all the parts that make us whole is a huge part of the work.

I think sometimes when we come to coaching, we can come from a place of needing to be fixed. That there is something wrong with us. But we can work on ourselves from a place of knowing that we are enough, while still looking to grow and improve. And it is about continuing to grow and evolve and iterate. I think that is what makes a satisfying life.

To use an example of not coming from a place of needing to be fixed, take ‘people pleasing’. This is often talked about as something that needs to be fixed. And to be clear, if putting other people’s needs first is getting in the way of your own life and your own needs then maybe it is something that needs to be looked at.

But/and also, it can be seen as a good quality – something that could be nurtured.

Can we nurture qualities where we consider others, look after our fellow humans, and just generally take care of our communities? I think sometimes it is easy to get caught up in pop psychology and trends. If we take care of others, then they will take care of us when we need them. It is important here to stress that what I mean is looking after others from what flows over our cups, you can’t pour from an empty cup and all those other cliches. But what I am saying is that wanting to help others isn’t something that needs to be ‘fixed’.

Applying that to my own life, I am working with Kayleigh on my fitness. I want to be the best version of myself that I can be, so I am doing my best to ensure that the vessel that my soul is housed in is in the best condition it can be in so that it can keep carrying me through life for as long as I am here. If I am healthy, I am in a better position to help others. Looking after self doesn’t need to be selfish, it can be quite the opposite.

I can measure how I am increasing in strength by the increasing weights that I am able to lift. I can also measure myself on a set of scales, and I used to let that number dictate how I felt in a day. And old habits die hard, but I am now trying to approach this journey from a place of accepting where I am so that I can work with my body instead of against it. Trying not to just make it smaller and lighter. But to make it stronger, more resilient, and more mobile.

And that comes from a place of radical acceptance. I am 50 this year. And the rebel in me isn’t going to go and have a sit-down and accept that I am sometimes stiff and achy.

I have also been inspired by my beautiful daughter this week. She is a dancer and has been in two shows in the last week. She wouldn’t let me see any of the rehearsal videos, and she didn’t give me a sneak preview of any of her dances. So, I was genuinely blown away when I saw her dance. I knew she was good, and I knew I would be biased, but my goodness she was breathtaking. I mean literally, I think I held my breath for the duration of every single dance I watched her dance. Her body is so strong and fluid and graceful and expressive.

So, inspired by her, I am working on my mobility and flexibility too. The gym I go to, Rock Health and Fitness, to will be introducing more of this in May, which I am super excited about, but in the meantime, I have started to download apps that are going to guide me to do the splits one day. Maybe that is an ambitious goal to come up with at 49 and I could see the look on my daughter's face when she heard my goal – but hey, there is no harm in trying.

Safely and gradually obviously – there could be quite a lot of harm in forcing it.

And you know what? If I don’t make the final goal, the benefit of doing the work will be that I a little more flexible, and a little more mobile. And that in turn will enable me to keep building my strength.

I will keep you posted.

With those fitness goals in mind, my podcast recommendations for this week are both Tim Ferris episodes:

Episode #664 Dr Kelly Starrett: The Magic of Movement and Mobility

As ever I wish you a peaceful Sunday.

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