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I want to change our perception of strength. Strength is the ability to meet resistance and influence an outcome without compromising ourselves. And we already have it.
Strength is not an attribute; it’s a state of being. Gladiators, bodybuilders, and football players demonstrate strength through brute force, sheer willpower, muscle mass, and relentless pursuit. But we’re also quick to identify dancers and martial artists as strong. Their medium taps into a sense of vulnerability, balance, alignment, controlled power, and grace—but no one can deny their strength. Strength may look different on each of us, but it is an inherent part of who we are.
You are not weak by nature; you are stronger than you think. Your strength is not something you need to kill yourself to gain—it is already within you, waiting to be excavated. The key is to stop chasing something you already have and tap into it, so you can manifest that strength in your everyday life.
Because we don’t think we’re strong, we approach resistance with the idea that we’re not enough. We throw everything we have at it and push past our physical, mental, and emotional limitations. We see strength as domination, but it’s not.
When you learn to listen to your body’s divine wisdom, you cultivate a sense of where your body is developing tension instead of standing in its strength. You end the vicious cycle of unrealistic expectations, injury, and self-criticism and learn how to consciously embrace responsible growth. You stop compartmentalizing your strength into emotional, physical, and mental pieces and operate from the strength of your being at all times.
You learn how to align yourself with gravity—instead of working against it—so you can channel your strength to meet life’s resistance. As you meet resistance with equal parts power and alignment, you transform tension into strength
As in the sword dance above, the power lies in bringing just the right amount of force—not too little and not too much. By meeting the sword’s weight, I meet gravity. I am tapped into a larger source of energy, free of tension, and discover a strength that is wholly and uniquely mine.
Belonging isn’t a Place, it’s a Feelingby Tammy Wise
Like one of Santa’s elves, my typical Christmas is spent driving 100’s of miles in a rent-a-car sleigh filled with presents. Christmas carols are sung from NYC to the Catskill Mountains, then onward to NJ, where I’d land at my sister’s house for Christmas dinner.
But when my sister died this year, so did my Christmas dinner landing.
Within that loss, was the magic every holiday promises.
I’ve chased “belonging” in my family of origin my entire life. But truth is, I’ve always felt like an outsider. What I didn’t realize was, this chase had blinded me. “Belonging” isn’t restrained for only the place I’ve called home.
This Christmas, I tried to gather with my sister’s family, but to no avail. Disappointed, but not defeated, I found solace in having my first Italian Christmas dinner with my boyfriend’s family.
So, in frigid temperatures that made my sinuses freeze, off I went in my rent-a-car sleigh for a round trip songfest to the Catskill Mountains and straight back to NYC!
When I arrived in the mountains, I come to realize my frozen sinuses were more than a cold head. My body now ached from head to toe.
Cousin Deb gives me a long overdue hug and says, “I’m so happy to see you!”
It’s been 2-years—preCOVID—since we last hugged. I say, “It must be nice to see another face besides your husband and child’s.”
They live off the beaten trail on a beautiful mountain property. She says, “No. It’s you. I’ve missed YOU.”
This was the first stir of “belonging” in a new and profound way.
I stay 2-nights, till Christmas morning. Sick, with what I later learned, was the flu. (My first flu ever! Ugh!!)
Not once during that time did cousin Deb or her family make me feel unwelcome due to my unexpected illness. She took such good care of me. Medicine, constant fluids, food prep, blankets, and a unicorn onesie to keep me warm (a special offering from her daughter Becky) we’re in continual flow!
Late Christmas morning I hug cousin Deb goodbye with tears in my eyes. My heart gripped, like I was leaving a home I had just found—I felt unconditional belonging here—as I pull out of the driveway.
As the black sheep of our perspective families, through the years cousin Deb and I compared notes and sympathized with each others stories. But until now, that bond had kept me an outsider. Perhaps, with my family unit dismantled I felt the opening that was always there to feel the “belonging” I sought with my cousin Deb?!
Upon arrival in NYC, I’m told that my illness would make the guests at my first Italian Christmas uncomfortable. And, of course, I didn’t want to make people sick. It only struck me, because it was in such contrast to cousin Deb. I wanted to “belong” with my boyfriend’s family.
Here’s the thing… for years, I was so wrapped up in what I didn’t have, I didn’t see what I did have. I went from chasing “belonging” with my birth family to my boyfriend’s family. And, all the while, belonging had always been there with cousin Deb. I never had to chase it, I simply needed to see it.
I am so grateful to cousin Deb (Ken and Becky too) for loving me up for Christmas. In sickness and in health.
Do you have a Belonging story? Who was it with? Share!
Happy New Year!!