Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Resilience Tip: Now, Cultivate INNER Flexibility

In the previous Resilience Tip we talked about the vital importance of improving your flexibility.  And from what we said there, you may be assuming that "outer" flexibility is physical, while "inner" flexibility is mental.

Nope.  At least, that's not what I have in mind here.  You see, both are physical and both will greatly improve your ability to adapt to any situation in life.

Outer flexibility consists largely of obvious stretching techniques, such as you see with calisthenics or even much of Yoga - at least the part of Yoga that's most obvious to the untrained eye.

Inner flexibility uses more sophisticated and less obvious methods to massage your tissue, especially your core body tissue.  It works with qi much more effectively and unifies your mind and body.  And, in the end, it's even more vital for long term health.

The other great thing about cultivating inner flexibility is that once you've learned its methods, you can incorporate them into all your movements all day long, so you don't need to take time out of your busy schedule to "practice".  

Now, you might think that outer flexibility is more concerned with limb stretching, while the inner methods target the body's core.  There's some truth in that although, strictly speaking, they both target the whole body to some extent.  And both are absolutely necessary for developing superb health, immunity and longevity; it's just that the inner flexibility methods give you much more bang for the buck.  

The single best method I've ever found for building inner flexibility is here:

Remember the bottom line: unless you take back control of your body, you have little hope of governing your mind, emotions and spirit, and so total well-being will continue to elude you.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Monday, 22 February 2010

Resilience Tip: Cultivate Flexibility

Many years ago I was out taking a walk with a friend of mine, a woman, when we suddenly found ourselves face to face with a fence.  Without a second thought, I hopped over the fence and said, "Well, are you coming?"  Her jaw was almost on the ground and she said, with an awe that quite surprised me, "You're SO at home in your skin!"

For me it was the first time I realized that not everyone is "at home in their own skin."  And today, some 25 years later, I could hop that fence every bit as easily as I did it that day.  

Flexibility is one of the great keys to becoming a resilient person.  Physical flexibility is the foundation of mental and spiritual flexibility, of your ability to adapt harmoniously to any situation, even the most extreme kind.  Trust me; if you aren't physically flexible, you're not mentally flexible either.  

Of course, there are some other really compelling reasons for building your physical flexibility:

- It improves the circulation of your blood, lymph fluid, spinal fluid and qi
- It protects yours soft tissue from injury
- It greatly relieves psychological stress
- It boosts your overall health, immunity and longevity

So how do you go about getting more flexible?  There are lots of ways, of course; everything from calisthenics to certain types of dancing, to Yoga to Qi Gong and many more.

Here's a great video I came across that can give you some ideas.  It contains some innovative warm-up exercise used in the pioneering Russian martial art known as "Systema" (meaning "the system", as if you hadn't guessed ;-), as it's taught to members of "SpetsNaz", the Russian special forces.

(Note: as with any program of physical exercise, you should only engage in this with your physician's approval, particularly if you have any existing health concerns.  Use common sense.)

Learn, apply, feel great!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Resilience Tip: Honor Your Occupation

Does your job or career get you down?  Do you ever have the feeling that it doesn't matter and neither do you? 

Do you think, "Oh, I'm just an accountant crunching numbers all day.  Who cares?!" or "I build websites and they call me a 'code head' and a 'geek.'"? 

One of the most harmful features of our culture is our tendency to undervalue certain jobs and the people in them, while doing the opposite for jobs we consider to confer higher "social status". 

We fail to notice, or course, that our valuations of different jobs are culturally learned and bear no resemblance to reality.  Actors enjoy great social standing today, for example, whereas they used to be a despised profession. 

I used to work for an organization that greatly undervalued its subject matter experts and greatly overvalued its management.  However, replacing managers was really easy since their skill sets were general and possessed by 30% of the population.  Replacing a subject matter expert was murder - far less than 1% of the population had those skills.  And if your subject matter expert was away, production suffered.  If your manager was away, your production would probably go up!

The bottom line is this: don't wait for society to value what you do.  No matter what kind of job you have, no matter what kind of mediocrity or stupidity you're surrounded by, start to consider whatever job you have as truly important.  Give it everything you've got.  Forget what others think and don't apologize for what your line of work, even if you don't want to stay in it!

Then something amazing will happen.  Once you start giving it your very best, you'll feel a sense of pride in your work.  You'll begin to see the importance of what you do and how it positively affects others.  You'll realize that even if you're just waiting tables, you're still serving your country, your fellow citizens and ultimately your place in the great scheme of this magnificent universe. 

Your sense of self-worth will grow.  Your self-confidence will grow.  And finally you'll probably outgrow the job or career you have now. 

The genius of Authentic Ancient Traditions was the realization that the outward aspect of your work is secondary, because any work your pour yourself into with dedication, sincerity and love can itself become a work of art and a gateway to enlightenment itself.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Resilience Tip: Why you need to build your network

One of the most consistent findings in studies of various resilience indicators (such as longevity, health, emotional balance, etc.) is that people with healthy and numerous social relationships are at the top of the range... every time.

Ancient traditions of health maintenance and spiritual life were built on the deep insight that all of us are interconnected with each other and the whole world in ways we're not even consciously aware of.  Quantum physics and the latest experiments in distance healing are beginning to validate this insight.  What's it all mean?

You are a communal being - you're not meant to be alone or isolated!

As our Western society has evolved over the past century, driven by industrialization, urbanization and endless technological change, we've become more and more isolated.  Sometimes it seems that our spouse and kids are all we have, if that!  One of the symptoms of this isolation is the mushrooming of social media - facebook, myspace, twitter and more.  People are desperate to connect with other people.  It's a deep seated existential need we have as human beings.

So what can you do?  If you want to be more resilient, help others to do the same.  Connect with new people.  Reconnect with old friends and family members.  Take some time over the next week to go out for coffee with someone you haven't seen in a while or call them.  Nudge somebody on facebook and remind them you care.  What you give will come back to you many times over.  Resilient people have big networks of other people they care about and people who care about them in return.

You CAN be such a person.  Sharing love is not only easy, it's fun and it's free.  What could be better?

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Resilience Tip: Reject, spit at and mock this mentality...

For you to be right, do others have to be wrong?  For you to be good, do others have to be evil?

Ask yourself this: "Is there a secret desire in me to be the one who is 'right' and to persecute those who don't agree with me and are therefore 'wrong'?" 

This is one of the greatest diseases of the human spirit.  It cost tens of millions of lives during the 20th century and it's all around us today in various forms.  Several years ago I was visiting a church - I won't say which or what kind here - and the sermon left me horrified.  I was told that people outside the church are selfish, egotistical, greedy, materialistic and unspiritual.  "Oh," I thought, "I guess we don't know the same people, because most of the people I know outside are kind, thoughtful, caring and trying to do the right thing."

FASCISM is a perennial human temptation, a spiritual disease and not just a political ideology.  People try to transform the groups they belong to into fascist communities, into exclusive groups that are "right" and are therefore justified to hate those who are "wrong".  Political parties and religious groups are especially at risk.  Today's Jihad-crazed sociopaths are simply the latest version. 

What I've called "authentic ancient traditions" of spiritual life are immune to this, fortunately, and consider every single human person to be precious, no matter what their current beliefs or where their life is at.  St. Isaac the Syrian (7th century) provides a wonderful description of this:

"Do not provoke anyone or argue with them, either for the sake of the faith or on account of their evil deeds, but watch over yourself to make sure you don't accuse anyone in any matter.  If you would correct them, then say a word or two to them with tears and love.  For love does not know how to be angry or provoked or to passionately reproach anyone.  The proof of love and knowledge is profound humility." 

One of the great hallmarks of resilience and emotional maturity is the refusal to treat the great mystery of life as black and white, but rather to acknowledge its complexity, its many shades of gray, to embrace its rich texture and everyone who shares it with you.

This, paradoxically, means the one thing you must not tolerate is the mentality of narrow-mindedness and hate.  Ready to spit at it?

~Dr. Symeon Rodger

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Resilience Tip: Expand your range of Motion

That's right, expand your range of motion.  

One of the great keys to personal resilience is to maintain a full range of motion throughout your body for your whole life.  In the world of health and wellness, there are very few things you can do that will give you this much benefit... and on minutes a day!

Where should you start?  Simple... think of a range of motion you used to have and would like to reclaim.  It might be touching your toes while keeping your legs straight, or spreading your legs wide apart (side splits) or being able to stand on one spot and turn your head and spine far enough around so you can look behind you.  Starting today, take a few minutes a day to stretch and expand this range of motion very gently and slowly, being careful to breathe into the tissue you're stretching.  Warming up a little before stretching is also highly advisable.

(NOTE: If you're planning to stretch a previously injured area or one that's particularly delicate, make sure you consult a physician, chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist first).

Notice here that range of motion involves a) joints, b) muscles, c) connective tissue (tendons and ligaments).  What most people don't know is this: as you stretch, you're also massaging and toning the fascia layer under the skin and the fascia that wraps the tissues you're stretching.  This strengthens your overall posture and improves the flow of blood, energy, synovial fluid, etc.  

In other words, every stretch you take not only contributes to your flexibility and range of motion; it boosts your overall health and immunity in ways you don't see.  Want to be resilient - STRETCH!

Want to learn the world's top system for using simple body motion and breathing to boost your health and immunity through the roof?  You can learn about it here:

Friday, 5 February 2010

Resilience Tip: The Immutable Truth...

Do you want to become resilient?  Do you want to live up to your true potential as a human being?  Are you ready to take life by the throat and suck out all its marrow, as Thoreau put it?

Then give up the idea it's going to be easy or comfortable.  Give up looking for ease and pleasure and start looking for challenge.  Teach yourself to revel in challenges and difficulties, spend your time devising tests for yourself and thinking of ways to make yourself tougher.  

Confucius said, "The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor can the human being be perfected without trials."  This principle is immutable.  

"No one ever became holy being coddled in his mother's arms," said the Eastern Christian sages. 

You have to know fatigue, exhaustion and even failure if you want to become a "real person".  Failure, by the way, is not defeat.  Defeat only occurs when you give up!  The person who falls and yet never gives up is a true warrior.

We can't boast about our civilization until we're worthy of it.  In ancient Greece it was said that being born in Sparta doesn't make you a real Spartan.  In ancient Rome they said that being born Italian did not make you a Roman.  These names were to be won by sweat and blood.  

Need inspiration?  Try these:

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Resilience Tip: Know your own "standards"

Here's an easy way to organize your own thinking in life.  It's a way of thinking to give you more clarity and make you more resilient faster.


In every area of your life - health, fitness, relationships, spiritual life, career, finances - what do you want to do, have or be?  Or, to put it another way, what do you expect of yourself?  Define those now in each area, using no more than a few points for each.


What do you plan to do in order to achieve those standards?  What actions will you commit to?  How will you train yourself, develop the resilience, the mental, physical and emotional toughness to carry you through?  What specific actions will you take?

Best Practices:

Now that you've figured that out, what tools already exist to help you get there faster?  What are the best methods to use and the best mentors to learn from?  Who has already paid part of the price for you and figured this out?  Seek out those people and tools and write them down!  

If you want an example of a program that helps you set standards, give you protocols to follow and some of the best practices in the world, examine this:

So remember, if you want to develop great clarity now and start making progress soon, always think about your standards, protocols and best practices.  Follow the blueprint...

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Monday, 1 February 2010

Resilience Tip: Two Kinds of Goals

In any area of your life, you have a choice between two different kinds of goals, of targets to aim for.  

To illustrate this, let's look at fitness:

One kind of goal is the "results" goal - that's when you're aiming at losing X number of pounds / kilograms, fitting into last year's clothes or adding X inches / centimeters to those muscles. 

The second kind is a "performance" goal, when you commit yourself to taking specific actions at specific times over a certain, usually short, period of time.  You might commit to running 5 km twice a week or doing 100 push-ups a day or doing your yoga routine every morning without fail, for instance.  

And remember, in every area of your life you have a choice between these two kinds of goals.  Wisdom is knowing which to select when.  Fortunately, experience will teach you that.

In general, performance goals are the place to start, because if you don't learn to keep your commitments no matter what the obstacles, it's not much use to chase after results goals!  You just won't have what it takes to get there.  That's why every ancient tradition for training people physically and spiritually favored performance goals, knowing that performance automatically brings results.

This is also important because you don't always control the outcome - in relationships, for example, you don't control the other person's perceptions and reactions.  All you can do is act with integrity and let the chips fall where they may.  So in situations like that, a results goal is dangerous, because it makes you responsible for things you don't control - so beware.

So concentrate on your performance goals and the results will almost always follow.  They'll usually follow in the short term and will always follow in the long term.

Do you know YOUR performance goals for the week?  If not, pull out a pen and paper...

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger