I haven’t written a post like this one in a very long time. Much of my personal anecdotes have been placed on the back burner as I have had a number of life events occur since my last writing piece. I moved to a new neighborhood, started up a few businesses simultaneously (which was not my original intention but I have learned that the health and wellness industry often leads you towards several opportunities at once. Piecing them all together….that’s the tricky part but also what makes the process fun and exciting), and dove head first into a new realm of training that I never thought I would attempt. I am known for some serious lifting routines as my first love came from kettlebell lifting. This is not to say that I will forgo my beloved kettlebell routines (that can’t happen. Not with a second attempt of Iron Maiden on my mind), but I have found a new love for mobility work and calisthenics not because of the strength they produce, but for the psychological awareness they give you. For me, all this body weight work has given me an insight on something I need to work on mentally for myself: self-mastery. Reducing that fight or flight response that I am all too familiar with will be the focus of this years routines.
All last year during my RKC training, I had a series of unfortunate events occur that made me think and behave in a stressful way that was beyond reasonable. In fact, there were times when my very own training seemed like just a way for me to escape all the heartache that 2012 and 2013 brought on top of me. Those were lonely times filled with scary moments that nearly ran me to the ground. By the time I completed RKC, I was so burnt out from training and life in general I hit a wall of depression that lasted several months. I was not myself, and I felt as if I had no direction in life.
I ended up meeting with my Pastor at Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community (which you all must visit when you come to Pittsburgh. Just saying) who pointed out that I needed to stop hiding behind my own strength. “No one will question your physical strength” he said, “but you need the spiritual and psychological strength now to move yourself forward in a way that will help you deal with everything that had threatened you before and may very well threaten you down the road. Trust and rely in the fact that you are capable of mastering your thoughts and emotions if you face all of your fears.”
During my weekend in Georgia at the Primal Move certification, myself and the other candidates spent hours upon hours working not just our bodies, but our minds. We had to overcome our own obstacles and reposition ourselves to move freely and fluidly through poses that looked impossible to hold, impossible to reach, or just plain impossible. The mental conditioning reminded me of my Systema master friends who have helped me work on breathing patterns and mobility drills to be readily alert and calm to deal with the threat of an opponent. With calisthenics, the only threat you have is yourself. You are only limited by what you think can or cannot happen. And what you’ll find is that by calming yourself, remaining agile and aware, you will learn how to move freely through things that appear to be too demanding to bare.
For me, Primal Move went above and beyond teaching me how to become more mobile, be it for myself or for my clients. I learned over the weekend that life will inevitably threaten you, scare you, and sometimes even make you feel that you’ll never make it through the hell you’re experiencing. The key to mastering those threats is to master yourself, to train your mind in a way to remove your obstacles of fear and move freely through one progression to the next. Life is not about how much weight you can put on your shoulders. Life is about having the power to move past your fears gracefully one step at a time. When you humble yourself and let yourself fall into the endless possibilities life has to offer, you’re free.
Here’s to a new year. A new beginning. A new horizon. Remember to eat smart, train hard, and enjoy your life!
Janelle Pica, RKC