In her running series, Tao Minister and mind-body strength expert Tammy Wise is exploring the various areas of the Psyche-Muscular Blueprint. With each column she teaches us to connect to a different area of our internal systems so that we may achieve our best selves. Here, she relates how we can embrace our inner Xena—and our instinctive desires—by keeping all challenges at arm’s length.
By Tammy WiseI’m just weeks away from publishing my first book, The Art of Strength: Sculpt the Body ~ Train the Mind, working tirelessly not just to be a successful author, but also to become a sought-after wellness speaker, an inspirational storyteller. I feel on fire with purpose, absolutely alive and happy in the hustle when… I get hacked.While working at the computer, right in front of my eyes, a so-called “support technician” lassos all my desktop files, throws them in the trash, and clicks empty. My manuscript and videos, my media pitches and speeches, my magazine articles and blogs are suddenly gone. I do what any warrior princess would do: Go into fight mode and fight hard for what I want!After 15 minutes battling for control over the cursor, I outsmart the hacker by pulling the shutdown window to an extra monitor out of his sight. I shut down and pull the WiFi plug, disappearing from cyberspace in an instant.Two decades of dreams could have disappeared just as quickly as he ultimately did. But I fought to save those dreams with the same intense wanting that created them in the first place. Ultimately, the incident showed me that to want is to be courageous. Do you want more for yourself and your life? Do you have an end result in mind but are having a hard time navigating a clear path to it—maybe you’ve even encountered your own “hacker” along the way?My advice to you might sound surprising: Stay at arm’s length from the challenges that present themselves, those challenges that ask you to dive deep into your personal weaknesses and strengths. Here’s why:
- To be too close is to be engulfed by the challenge. You can’t discern the nuance of personal needs and are thus unable to exercise your wants.
- To be at arm’s length allows perspective and creativity. You can pull things closer or not, support a challenge or drop it, embrace an idea or let it go.
- To be out of reach is to abandon the product or end result and unplug the energy of your personal engagement.
In other words, to be at arm’s length is to be strong yet flexible.
Find Bravery in Your Biceps
The want that pulls desirables inward lives in your biceps muscles. When extended, they create the space needed to see objectively, and when contracted, they spring into action with conviction. (For a look at how the muscular system is a storage container of emotions, refer to this previous article.)Biceps muscles are quick to grab what you want in life. They sow the seeds for tomorrow’s harvest and are designed to help gather what you need. Their sole purpose is to pull things closer so you feel nurtured. Because of them you can celebrate being self-assured!
How do you stay at arm’s length when you’re devoted to an outcome?
Recognize that your heart’s connection to a person or project is what drives your devotion to it. Imagine that your biceps muscles’ job is to give your heart the best possible perspective of a given challenge. When approaching this biceps stretch, keep your shoulder joints aligned between the chest and arms.
- Sit or stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Extend your arms sideways along the coronal plane (the plane separating the front and back sides of your body) with flexed wrists and your fingers rotated downward.
- Lift your chest as you would in a swan dive, pushing strongly out through the flexed heel of your hands, then stretch your outreached arms backward.
- Feel as though your biceps muscles are elongating between your chest and the heel of your hands. Hold up to 30 seconds.
- Return your arms to the coronal plane before dropping them at your sides. Maintaining the palms’ outward rotation, experience the growing expansion of your heart center.
Now, notice how you feel at arm’s length from a present challenge. You can breathe; time and space is plentiful to discern your next move. Experience how an open heart and relaxed biceps offer a balanced perspective so that you can see what you need and what the person or project needs in equal proportions.With time, space, and heart all needs can be considered, and how you want to move forward becomes clear. You weave your inner and outer worlds together, sculpting the life you desire.What do you want to bring into your life? Whether you can touch it or feel it, you have the power to create it! Once your energy is actively directed toward what you want, the mind quiets itself purposefully. Knowing your personal priorities makes choosing what you want to create a natural unfolding.
How can you control what you pull into your life without being controlling?
As primary pulling muscles in the body, the biceps are used when you are in need of something. Pulling something inward is a worthy act of taking what is essential and getting what you need to survive and thrive. However, the need to need can, at times, feel humiliating. Sometimes indignity causes insecurity that slips in between the biceps influence and the needs of a challenge.There are multiple joints and smaller muscles in the hands, wrists, and forearms that can interfere with your biceps connection; they do so under the guise of being helpful, but in actuality they only get in the way of your goal to strengthen the biceps. They don’t give the biceps a chance to explore their capacity without expectation. Instead, they swoop in to save the biceps before they need rescuing to prove your prowess and avoid failure. It is important to remove the effect of these other musculoskeletal elements so you can experience a clean, isolated biceps connection.
- Lie supine with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Relax the back of one wrist over a large dumbbell (8-10 lbs), while loosely holding a small dumbbell (2-3 lbs) in your fingers. Notice the flexion in your wrist and a relaxed hand and fingers.
- Feel the weight of your shoulder and elbow equally relaxed into the floor as you lift the softened wrist off the large dumbbell toward the sky three to six inches. By keeping the fingers, wrist, and forearm relaxed, your biceps muscles become the first contact with the resistance. Return the weight maintaining that clean contact and repeat until the biceps muscles are clearly isolating.
- This is an exploration to experience the biceps muscles and to notice if the hand and forearm interfere. It is to be done only with light weights.
Internal ambivalence about needing diminishes the biceps’ connection with an outside resistance. Discomfort in the shoulder or hand muscles, wrist, or elbow joint is your warning that you are controlling a challenge with an influence that has stepped in to rescue the situation. This force is not connected to the outside challenge, rather it’s connected to your internal ambivalence. When you experience a clean relationship with challenge, you recognize how you constructively influence all that you touch. Feel the satisfaction of personal integrity that sweeps over you when relating to challenge with honest connection. You are acquiring a reputation and lifestyle of merit, as you support your biceps’ effort to pull desirables into your life.“Wanting more” is being passionate about living the life you feel you were made for.I associate wanting with an open heart. I associate more with the speed, foresight, and perseverance needed for an end product or result. Wanting more asks for heart and skill over conquest. Be courageous; be brave.—To learn more about how to actively support your wants, particularly at work, see Tammy’s recent blog. For her introduction the Psyche-Muscular Blueprint, go here.—Tammy Wise is a Tao Minister, mind-body strength expert, and founder of the BodyLogos holistic fitness method. Her writing and methodology has been widely featured in media including New York, TimeOut New York, Fitness, Shape, and Natural Health magazines. She is currently writing and producing a BodyLogos book and 3-D video system for online. Learn more about her training, holistic treatments, and products at bodylogos.com, or follow her on Twitter at @BodyLogos.