The exercises I need to do to strengthen my toes, feet, and ankles can feel tedious, so I resist them. The foot conditioning work is subtle and slow, and visible results come only with diligent practice over time. They don’t “feel like a workout,” and I want to feel the burn.
But I know strong feet are crucial to creating the foundation I need for doing better squats and deadlifts, or for bouncing higher on the trampoline with more control. Not to mention keeping my balance on the slippery paths of life.
If I want to expand my range of motion, my capacity to lift heavier loads, and my ability to move through life with greater ease, investing the time to do this work is necessary.
How We Do One Thing is How We Do Everything
We are creatures of patterns. How you do one thing is how you do everything. I can see how this pattern shows up for me across spectrum of life. Some examples:
I tend to have an inverted breathing pattern, where my belly and ribs contract when I inhale. This restricts oxygen flow into my body and activates the fight-or-flight response.
If I want to expand my capacity to take in more oxygen — literally, expand my capacity for life — I need to do breathwork. Breathwork is also slow, subtle, and tedious. It’s also uncomfortable. So I resist it.
In my work, I often resist planning. Mapping out the tasks associated with a given outcome and planning it into my schedule doesn’t give me the sense of accomplishment I feel when I’m “getting things done.” It feels like a waste of time; I know what I need to do — why not just jump in to do it?
Yet I know that time spent planning makes execution easier and more efficient.
Meditation and Rest
Although I have a daily meditation practice for 4.5 years, and I’ve gotten better with my rest and recovery, these practices come with tension: I often feel like I “don’t have the time” to meditate or rest because I am “behind schedule” and I have “so much” to “get done.”
When meeting new people, I hate small talk; I’d prefer to jump into deeper conversation. But small talk is a necessary foundation to building relationships.
What You Can’t See is What Controls You
Life is patterns, and this is mine: I want to dive right in and “get started” with the “real” work: the heavy lifting, the big movements, the things that people outside of me can see.
The thing about the work that “looks” like work to the outside observer is that looks can be deceiving. The big movements and heavy lifting aren’t always efficient or effective, especially if you lack a proper foundation.
Foundation work is tedious, boring, and doesn’t feel like accomplishment or “getting things done.”
In the emotional and mental realm, it is often said that what you can’t see is what controls you. The majority of our actions and decisions are directed by what’s in our shadow, or our subconscious.
This is true with everything.
Without a strong foundation, whatever we are building will crumble: a body, a house, a business, a relationship, a life.
Our ability is only as great as our stability. We need a strong foundation to maximize our potential.
I constantly need to remind myself that the work on my foundation is the most important work, even if it’s not visible to others.
Today is a new moon; a perfect time for laying new foundations.