In the heat of battle at the World Natural Bodybuilding Championships, NY, USA. Me (4th ranked) and competitor (3rd placed) striking a “Triceps Pose”. You couldn’t get more naked than this on stage, under bright lights for an audience you can’t see (because of the blinding lights). They say public speaking is human beings greatest fear. I disagree. Try getting up on stage in no more than your undies and communicate NON-VERBALLY … & MOVE an audience with your body, not your words … through the expression of the nude sculptured human form in motion. A fusion of art & science … in motion. A synergy of energy. Now, this is the epitome of being naked (not quite but close), exposed and vulnerable…. in the physical form.
A wise friend told me once a long time ago that if you love life, life will love you back.
I have seen them, so perhaps have you – people who seem to have been freshly scrubbed or newly minted. They have taut skins and great smiles. How do they do it?
They do it partly through increased respect for their body, spirit/soul, heart and mind.
If you see one of these people, ask them their secret and then … get in touch with me and we can tell it to the world. Their secret would be worth more than a pot of gold!
Well, after twenty five years of helping people, help themselves work towards a better version of themselves, I believe a key factor is in better energy management and also that these lucky people have better experience of happiness, daily.
Managing energy better does not only refer to raw materials taken in and outputs expanded from the human machine that is the human body, it also refers to our state of mind and state of heart and spirit.
It seems that many people are of the belief that constantly ‘being happy’ is desired and so they spend all of their day choosing and stressing about being happy. I believe that striving to constantly be in a state of happiness takes you further and further away from the elusive happiness. They do so to such an extent that the drive to be constantly happy leads to unhappiness and an empty feeling.
Happy moments with two long-time members of my gym – in my gym of all ages: 70s, 60s, 50s and I was in my 30s then.
The first gym that I ever stepped foot in, in my late teens. A gym that I said I would own one day. A gym that was me and I was it. A gym that I loved.
Was a place … that was always happy members came … a place where everybody knew your name … a place where it was ok to just be YOU.
I accepted ALL – peoples’ good and bad … it was not a place to be judged.
That was and is not my role. My role was to simply provide the environment and leadership required to encourage members to flourish.
Because they believed. They believed in what I was trying to do. For ALL to benefit. Remember: BELIEF ===> FAITH ===>HOPE.
The vision of my gym: the way gyms should be around the world. There should be my gym in every suburb in the country .. in the world. To bring each community closer … to bring each suburb together … to bring each state together … and the people of the country together. As ONE. This is SYNERGISM: the ability to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, through effective communication and ‘know-how’ of combining seemingly disparate elements. Great Leaders do this – WELL. Very similar to building a World-Class Physique where all the individual muscle groups ‘flow’ together to produce a masterpiece of beauty (balance & symmetry). For all to appreciate. Like an orchestra.
Why is that so, I ask?
Well, it is because, a human being is also an emotional and spiritual being. I believe that to be truly human, one needs to be able to feel ALL emotions, not just being happy all the time. A human being needs to feel emotions including those that are unpleasant – like anger, hatred or sadness amongst others. One needs to FEEL the whole gamut of emotions in one’s life to be truly closer to happiness.
So, in essence you have to experience UNHAPPINESS to experiencing growth towards happiness in your life. There is no other way. This is a key to happiness.
There is a catch though, as (like anything worthwhile getting), it isn’t as easy as it sounds. To get closer to genuine happiness in your life, you need to strip bare (be honest and brave to oneself); be naked, expose oneself to the world and allow oneself to be vulnerable.
This is a difficult task and for some people, impossible.
Being vulnerable is liberating, it is a genuine taste of freedom. Being vulnerable is truth … it is peace. Being vulnerable is harmony and symmetry … being vulnerable is beauty.
I believe part of the reason people don’t allow themselves to feel the full range of emotions, particularly the unpleasant ones is that we’re all sort of brainwashed to some extent, that ‘getting in touch’ with your inner negative feelings is not recommended and frowned upon.
There is a high need and practise in modern day society to reason and provide an objective and logical explanation to everything, without any feeling. That is the key phrase – “without any feeling’. It seems that people think that they must express everything like this – giving well thought out, logical, step by step reasons for a situation without any empathy and feeling.
You see it everywhere, where people frown upon or look at you with surprise when you voice your disagreement, disgust, anger, frustration and so forth because you actually allowed yourself to experience that emotion.
Oh no, that’s not civilized, not good behaviour … you need ‘anger management’ help. A load of c%ap!
And why is this so?
Well, I have told my wife this many times over the years – that the lack of ‘feeling’ is increasingly a sure sign that peoples’ spiritual lives being poverty-stricken.
Believe. Believe in something. Belong to a religion, any religion. Why? Because most Religions AMPLIFY Faith.
This is why human beings invented religion. It is why we have spiritual religions and cultural religions and corporate religions and sporting religions. Because Religion gives our faith a little support when it needs it.
Religion at its best is a sort of mantra, a subtle but consistent reminder that belief is ok … and that faith is the way to get where you’re going.
Religion at its worst reinforces the status quo, often at the expense of our faith.
Basically, one cannot give and share what one does not have in the first place. In other words, we cannot mirror, cannot radiate the tenderness (of God/positive energy) because people have not experienced it themselves. Sad, but true.
If you believe in God, in a God, please understand one thing: I believe that God expects us to show all of our feelings to him – happy and unhappy feelings, everything. Nothing is off-limits!
However, I believe that before a man or a woman can really FEEL his or her own feelings and be able to express them fully, you have to go back to your past and deal with any hurt or anger. Ask for forgiveness and ask God (and your God) for your forgiveness.
There are few certainties in life – death and taxes are two of them. A third one and one that is relevant to my message in this blog is that God does not change, God is a certainty.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Because of this, if you believe in him and you believe in his healing power, you can let go. You can forgive and be forgiven for your past, because it can be UNDONE and off-loaded on to God forever, releasing the shackels you’ve put yourself in.
This is what is meant by being naked.
Allowing you to feel empowered again in your own skin – to be unarmoured … to come out from the wall of invulnerability on those deeply sensitive spots that hold you back from truly feeling the whole spectrum of feelings.
So, being naked, being totally exposed, ironically, provides you with the ultimate armour: increased spiritual connectedness.
A man or woman who has embraced this heightened spirituality, invites wonderful healing of painful memories formed in his or her past. This healing, in turn is the key to be more caring, more empathetic outward expressions (including unpleasant ones too).
Increased awareness of your spiritual part to your whole being allows you to let down the walls of invulnerability, allows you to drop the façade’. It allows the TRUE SELF to be set free, the TRUE YOU.
A great thinker once said that the most difficult thing for a person to do in his or her lifetime is to BE HIM or HERSELF, in a world that is constantly trying to make you somebody else.
So, building your spiritual self allows you to be more of who you really are, not somebody else, not a fake you. You get to love yourself more which ultimately shows in how you show love to others (outwardly), because you are now naked and exposed and vulnerable.
This vulnerability allows you to experience not only the happy feelings but also the unhappy feelings or the undesirable feelings and be more complete.
You see, to me happiness is more than simply feeling pleasure and avoiding pain. Happiness is about having experiences that are meaningful and valuable, including emotions that you think are the right ones to have (others may not think so). All emotions can be positive in some contexts and negative in others, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.
Happiness is also about being content, a sub-set of happiness.
Find your light and colours. Be authentic, be YOU.
Have FAITH that being naked & vulnerable will get you closer to happiness.
If religion comprises rules you follow, FAITH is demonstrated by the actions you take.
Of course it is difficult. Be the Leader that you are. In your life.
So, if your goal is to be more happy (and almost every human being has this goal) then to be more happy, learn to feel more. Learn to be unhappy occasionally (when appropriate), don’t be afraid to. It is human to feel these less-than-desired emotions. Learn to be more empathetic. This will take time, if you’re not wired that way. That’s ok. Be patient.
Believe. You will get there. Compassionate, trusting and caring – all elements of empathy.
To get closer to the elusive happiness – be naked (and honest with your spiritual self). Be real and authentic. Be You. No one else in the world can play that role better than you can …. The role of YOU.
Here’s to your happiness (and unhappiness)!
Until next time, Ahoy!!
The Old Captain Viking Pirate … & tips on being closer to happiness
The symbol for Christianity – the Fish.
Do you have a symbol that you like, that resonates with you… with who you think you are.
I love the DOT ===>”.” I’ll write a future blog on this point (pun intended)
What is yours?