Tag Archives: alternative

Our Dark Side

shadow

Ever had a thought so terrible that you are too ashamed to even admit produced it?  It’s like someone or something momentarily hijacked your brain waves.  It happens to all humans, and some have coined this phenomenon our shadow self.  It’s human nature to battle with duality.  The Jekyll and Hyde affect.  The battle front against inner demons have kept psychologists in business for many years.

The problem is, there may be no problem at all.  Being human means duality.  Only God possesses a truly unified consciousness of love.  Because we have free will, we have the ability to create a consciousness or thought that is the opposite of God, or the opposite of unity.  The best definition of this thought product is fear.

God had a thought, and here we are.  We had a thought that differed from God’s view, and hell was created as it is the opposite of God.  Hell is the manifestation of duality (good versus evil).  A thought started it all.  Thoughts are things, don’t forget that.

So what do we do with this self-created hell?  In the book The Shadow Effect by Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, and Marianne Williamson, we are given solutions.  Often solutions are sought via religious texts, activist groups, and political righteousness.  Unfortunately these cultivate an “us” versus “them” mentality, which is the opposite of God or unity.  As I said earlier, God is all encompassing and is unified in love.  The moment duality or “us” versus “them” is created, the shadow is ignited to grow.

There is nothing wrong with groups that uphold love and gather in servitude and kindness but one must keep the mind focused on unity and understanding as oppose to defeating evil.  Victor and victim depict duality, which supports the shadow; however, understanding and unity are not bipolar and support God consciousness.

Solutions to unify with, accept, and illuminate the shadow will bring us closer to God consciousness.

The shadow is understood as:

  • The secret, dark side of yourself you refuse to acknowledge as part of you
  • Any habits you wouldn’t admit you have
  • All of our fears, worries, anxieties, guilt, and shame
  • The side of us that wants to place blame
  • Isolation

Unifying the shadow is understood as:

  • Acknowledge it exists, and is indeed a part of you
  • Releasing judgement and forgiving the shadow
  • Moving on with your life, focusing on positive projection
  • Focusing on unity and collective well-being

Some may ask, “What is projection?”  Projection are feelings you place on others that are really your own.  An extremely joyful person projects joy, which enables that person to see joy in other people.  An extremely fearful person projects fear, which enables that person to see fear in other people.

You may then ask “how can I focus on unity?”  Unity is love, and a knowingness that really as humans we share experiences and thoughts.  My pain is felt by all humans and my joy is celebrated by all.  The knowingness that we are all experiencing together, there is no isolation.

Chopra D, Ford D, Williamson M.  The Shadow Effect.  Harper Collins Publishing.  New York, New York.  2010.

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Strength vs. Endurance

strength

What is the difference between strength and endurance?  Simply put strength is the ability to generate force in the presence of resistance (moving something heavy) and endurance is the ability to perform prolonged, less forceful, contractions over time.  Type 1 slow twitch muscle fibers are associated with endurance and type 2 fast twitch muscular fibers are associated with strength.  We have the power to influence the abundance of each fiber, and this is depends on the type of exercise we perform.

Examples of strengthening exercises are performing heavy bench press, back squats, or dead lifts for 5-8 repetitions.  Examples of endurance exercise include running, swimming, jogging, or performing any exercise (bench, squats, dead lifts) with a high frequency (10 or more repetitions).

As with anything else, it’s important to realize that the power to change your muscle composition is yours!  Yay!  That’s empowering isn’t it?!  So first off, why do we need each type of fiber, and what fiber is the most important?

Endurance enables us to tolerate life’s activities such as caring for kids, walking to and from parking lots, and standing all day.  Endurance training also improves our cardiovascular health and endurance.  Muscle strength, on the other hand, enables us to lift and move objects.  Here’s the problem:  Many people focus only on endurance type training such as treadmill, biking, swimming, running, elliptical or light, high repetitive strength work, which is actually endurance training since the contraction becomes prolonged over time as oppose to quick and forceful for low repetitions as in strength building.

Here’s the kicker:  Endurance training does not significantly increase strength; however, strength training can significantly improve endurance.  For example–If you want to run a 5K or a marathon continuous running will improve your ability to run but it will not improve your ability to lift and move heavy objects.  I have evaluated many endurance athletes that exhibit strength deficits.  They are typically shocked at this revelation because they exercise every day.  When I question the type of exercise it is endurance training or light, repetitive strength training. This type of exercise does not correlate to strength improvements.  With prolonged endurance training type 2 fibers will convert to type 1.  Conversely, prolonged strength training will convert muscle fibers to type 2.

There are two categories of type 2 fibers.  One related to producing a quick force, and one relating to repeating the reproduction of that force over time (endurance).  With prolonged strength training, muscle fibers are converted to type 2 but because of the two categories of type 2 fibers (one for strength and one for endurance) the end result is improvements of strength as well as endurance.  This is why strength training correlates to the ability to perform endurance activities more efficiently.

Strength training also multiplies the capillary presence within the muscle promoting vascularization.  With improved vascularization oxygen and nutrients are better transported to and utilized by the muscle.

Muscle pumping action also improves hormonal release and utilization, which can have profound effects on chronic illness such as diabetes and chronic pain syndromes.  Strength building also works to prevent chronic overuse syndromes through muscular balance across multiple axis, reduces chronic pain via hormonal release, and improve vascularization and oxygenation.

Of course you will never run a 5K if you don’t practice running but the take home message is that strength training is essential to meet any type of aerobic, endurance, wellness, or fitness goal.

Life is all about balance, and both strength and endurance training have profound health benefits.  The additional caveat is flexibility.  Flexibility plays a key role in health as well.  The total package would be defined as strength, endurance, AND flexibility.  With this, please know that a weekly practice (even if just one day a week) focused at flexibility is also essential.

We are multi-dimensional beings requiring a multi-dimensional approach to health, wellness, and physical performance.