Category Archives: Self-Love

Animal Flow


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I have too much muscle for me not to put it to use.

I guess, just because I’ve been challenging myself without dumbbells and barbells doesn’t mean I can’t challenge myself in other ways.  My body craves movement.  It craves to feel blood swirling and pumping, to feel its skin get tight when performing.  My muscles crave dynamism and action.  I knew I had to think of something fast that would allow my body and I to be challenged and fulfilled.  Eventually, I came across Animal Flow or Primal Movement.

In the past I’ve done some animal-type movements but added them to workout programs when I wanted something a little different.  A few weeks ago, I decided I want Animal Flow or Ground-based movements to be the center of my attention, along with Yoga and mobility work for my continual internal and external healing.  Which reminds me, I remember getting used to ground-based movements when I was doing a lot of Ballet Beautiful and Barre work.  Half of the exercises were on the mat making it more challenging than the weightlifting I’ve already became accustomed to for over a decade.

I think subconsciously my body deeply craved ground-based workouts again, even though I was very scared (and still am) of letting go the religion of weightlifting.  Maybe not forever, but for the moment.  And so far, I’m right!  My body craves this kind of expression.  Over the past few years, I’ve come to enjoy moving my body in different ways.  I seek out more flow-type workouts that are super challenging and therefore allow me to concentrate in ways I usually don’t.

I want mindfulness, new movement patterns and new folds in my brain.  In a way, only now can I see how one-dimensional many of my movements were when I was weightlifting.  In the process, I’ve gotten better at writing a more balanced workout program.  I feel like I didn’t have a choice, but I’m not complaining.  I get better with time.  In distancing myself from what I normally do, I’m giving myself permission to see things differently, which in turn allows me to continue being open, so I can crave different things.  I love going on and learning from new journeys.  What I find interesting about practicing Animal Flow is I must work my way up, which makes it harder for me to overtrain even if (when) I want to.

I’ve had too many up’s and down’s with motivation due to chronic pain, stress and health issues that I can’t always say it’s been easy for me to be discipline 4-5 times a week every week regarding fitness over the past few years.  But what has helped me is going back to how much I love to move, how good I feel when my body is pumped, how blessed I am to have all my limbs, how nice it is to set goals and to stubbornly meet the goals and drive further for extra goals.

I’ve had conversations of giving up my love for fitness as well as conversations about why we (my different shades of personalities) should continue it.  I’ll never forget a coworker of mine when I asked her one day, “Do you want to train with me on my break?”  She said, “Why not?  You’re the trainer.”  That day we trained together and during, she said to me, “You love training!  I never see you so happy, so big with your smile until you train.”  And the thing is I never realized how happy I was when I move, exercise and put my body through intense work.  I was solely training to train.

Last night, I was elated!  I was walking on clouds, super high on endorphins.  I couldn’t get enough.  I did a move called The Underswitch.  I’ll link the move at the bottom of this entry with an article about AF.  It’s basically being in a crab walk position and rotating your entire body until you’re in a bear crawl/beast position.  Granted, it was my first time doing this move.  However, sometimes I have a bad habit underestimating myself and my physical strength.  I thought the underswitch would be harder to do because I weigh 223lbs.  Mentally, I felt like I shouldn’t have been able to do it, but physically I can do it.  I made sure to perform it a few times on the left and right, so I know it’s not a fluke.  And I had so much fun!  I couldn’t stop smiling!  There are few things in life that make me happy in this barbaric world.

I’m happy I’ve been practicing for weeks with Bear Crawl or Beast Holds.  I’ve been picking up one limb at a time and shifting my weight while being hovered a few inches off the floor just like in the video above.  I’m also practicing traveling or walking forwards and backwards also with the Bear Crawl and Crab positions, which are harder for me because I’m not the best when it comes to coordination.  Still, I think I found something I can put my body, mind, spirit and soul to use.

Have you guys done any Animal Flow?

– Pennington

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Outlived Convictions


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Over the past few years I’ve been redefining every aspect of my life.

Out of tragedies come blessings unseen and unexpected. Things that I could think up is nothing compared to what life, the universe and God could give me.  I watch every aspect of my existence unfold like a pretty origami.

I whisper, it’s okay to be like water.

Form only to be formless again.
Give up the concrete.

All the little things add up.

Like leaving people and situations that no longer serve me.  It’s amazing how much I kept due to systems, two-way arrangements and outlived convictions.

It’s crazy how much one single person can be a parasite plaguing your life because they made it all about themselves.  Those people I had in my life who took up space and rarely asked, “How are you doing?  How is your mood?  Do you need help with anything?  Is that person, place or thing serving you?”

I enjoy unfriending people I outgrew and who I no longer share the same thought patterns and commonality with.  Particularly, the atheists.

I love creating boundaries with whomever I’m dealing with currently.  I don’t think enough people do this.  It’s very liberating, and time is short to deal with too many things that weigh the shoulders like anvils.  For too long I lived with a heart and mind of steel.  Always, tough, guarded and heavy when the soul needs to feel light to explore freely.

Ah, and to lighten the load further.  I love throwing old clothes away that no longer suit my frame or non-gym mentality.

And would you believe me if I say, I learned many of my new self-care habits from observing my sweet cat.  The way she grooms herself numerous times a day in meditation.  The way she pulls on her nails when she knows they’re detaching because they stopped serving their purpose.  The way she loves herself.

How many people do you know practice self-care?

Personally, I don’t know many.  The people I know are too busy looking for instant gratifications, the next editor app to make themselves appear more beautiful than what they’re not while others are taking drugs trying to escape their own jails and hells.

In treating myself with more love, care and concern, it has allowed me to heal and move past some of my emotional, physical and mental trauma.  It allows me to become hyper-aware when others, including situations are trying to disregard my care simply by trying to take advantage of me in some way.

I’m always surprised by others and how callous they are.  Like how they don’t see the fine line between respect and disrespect, compliments as opposed to insults, caring versus being indifferent.

I wonder about politeness – and is it even real?  Or is everyone just pretending to give something just so they can get something back in return?

These days I’ve learned how to speak and express more whereas before I would write everything down on paper and express myself through emails.  There were times when people who’ve met me didn’t like me very much in the beginning because I was a mute.  I was a very content mute because I love observing.  Nowadays, I’ve found some satisfaction in communicating and volunteering random information with others.

I like that I bloomed in many ways.  I used to think that being vulnerable and open was being weak.  I guess, perhaps I was vulnerable and open with the wrong people.  I realized that with my continual kindness and personal growth, I can be strong by being soft and gentle, too.

-Pennington

The Theme Is Being Gentler


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I cancelled my gym membership and felt relieved.

The first reason why I decided to cancel my gym membership is because I don’t use it anymore.  I thought joining a gym closer to home would be convenient, but it wasn’t.  I became one of those people I used to talk shit about – paying monthly and not showing up.  I decided to stop wasting money and put hundreds back in my pocket.

The second reason why I cancelled is because I don’t weightlift as heavy as I used to.  This was the purpose of my gym membership; to play with all the hammer strength machines, barbells and dumbbells until I abused and depleted myself.  Now, I can’t step into the gym without lifting heavy.  I can no longer control myself, so I don’t go.

I have developed too many muscle imbalances and there are parts of my body that are asymmetrical (according to me).  Aside from my muscles who enjoy living their life in a state of contraction, they’re holding onto emotional and physical trauma.  The tension I carry must be release from within.

Every time I lift weights, my nags escalate until it’s full-blown inflammation.  It affects me in such a way where my body keeps instructing me to listen.  Over the years, I have decreased the load, given cardio strength a try and included circuit training with lighter dumbbells/barbells only to go for heavier weights eventually.  Therefore, continuing the hurt.

And, my body goals and nature has changed.
Nevertheless, I’ve been heeding the advice of my body.

Slowly, listening.

And I’ve been listening in time to lead me to the third reason why I decided to cancel my gym membership.  For the past few months, I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for pelvic floor dysfunction.  This dysfunction coupled with my fibroid issue and stress incontinence has pretty much ruined a good part of my life that I’ll leave for another entry probably.  Because of these newly found issues, it behooves me to learn how to be gentle with myself in every regard possible.

It’s quite interesting, over the course of the last few years, the theme of my life seems to be about being gentler to myself.  My therapist has also helped me to solidify the idea of furthering my compassion for myself.  I must be gentle in how I speak to myself, in how I respond to myself, in how I regulate my emotions, in how I treat myself, in how I exercise.

It all points to being gentler and I’m actually refreshed because of it.

– Pennington

Mom


You were the one who first broke my heart.
It was because of you I learned to make pain an art.
I’m the light, but I live in the dark.
I’m the light, but I live in the dark.
I never knew I needed love until I ached,
Until I was shaped by every escape.
In kindergarten, I dropped many tears
On the pages of my homework and always
Handed it in without a world of care.
I never knew I needed to be loved until I saw
everyone else’s parents loved them back, in awe.
In awe, I was. In awe I was because I saw.
I carried around anger like my lifeline.
And I never held it against the divine.
And I never questioned if I was good enough.
I was, despite the hefty handcuffs.
I vowed to not be like you in so many ways.
I’ve set blaze to many things under your name.

And I still don’t have a heart the way I ought to.
And I sit facing entrances, never giving my back to a view.
And many of my feelings are dead and sometimes ill-advised.
And it doesn’t matter how I tread, I can’t disguise the chill in my eyes.
And the anger I kept has evaporated nearly now that you’re gone.
Permanence is never permanent, and somehow I found a way to live on.
Your body in the coffin was as real as when I imagined it at twelve.
That was the last time I cried and put my feelings on the bookshelf.
The numbness I contained up until that day released at your wake.
I didn’t understand with every preparation came a new defense,
It’s almost as if everything in life made sense, and yet not at all.

-Pennington

Happy 56th Birthday.  You’re infinite now.

Fitness Wasn’t Everything


I had someone tell me once, “Fitness isn’t all there is to the world.” And, although, I knew that, I didn’t comprehend what that looked like or how does one practice that kind of lifestyle, until life told me to take a seat with a cast on.  It was during this time I learned fitness wasn’t everything in life.  Fitness no longer always became the focus for which I identified with.  That changed my perspective on everything else, and it also made room for everything else I had to deal with.

I believe fitness has helped me to manage my bipolar for over a decade.  The first time I was diagnosed I didn’t want to believe it.  I think it’s not uncommon to say that before I was diagnosed, life was better.  But, that isn’t necessarily true.  I want it to be.  However, I understand that the notion of my life being better in the past is most likely stemming from not having the diagnosis in the first place since I can’t unknow what I know.  Nevertheless, the moment when fitness became unavailable for me, it was easier to see how difficult it became to stabilize my mood swings and irritability in general.

I used fitness as a crutch for many things like anger, depression and the void.  There were times I genuinely enjoyed gym-hopping because I naturally thought it was healthier than barhopping.  But, those hourly long sessions five or six times a week at the gym were where I chose to avoid certain life reflections.  So, rather than cut myself with a blade or fracture my hand on a solid wall, I would train to injury repeatedly.  I was using a different method to continue to hurt myself.

When I couldn’t train for a period, I had to learn to sit with my passions.  I had to observe my pain and find times for when I could adjust in healthier ways.  I had to find new ways to regulate my recurring moods, triggers and symptoms.  This was one of the most difficult things I had to do, despite allowing myself to feel what I feel when they arise.  It took a long time for me to realize that not every feeling will remain and not every thought was something I had to believe in.  I also didn’t realize in the way I trained my mind and body reflected my pain, avoidance, passion, anger, sadness and loneliness.

I’ve been a queen of silent pain, abuse and trauma.  I’ve been cold and brutal many times, not only to myself, but to others as well.  Once I started to transition from a masculine approach to more of a feminine one, I learned how to become softer and not have a meltdown.  With changing my mindset, from being open to change and flow while being less critical, clarity came along with ease and it reflected in my training styles as a form of better awareness, in and out my fitness, and life itself.

-Pennington

Sharp


1

I let my nails grow.
I paint them with the pixie dust that fall from the fairies in my backyard.
I want to speak, but I learned a few things.
If I’m silent like a mouse, my hearing becomes sharper
And I’ll learn better than the mouth who hunts
all at once.

I let my grays grow.
I allow them their passage within my black strands like ornamental streamers
For they retell the wisdom that teaches how darkness beds with the light.
Do you like absence?
It’s where we find ourselves, stark and naked
built like the sacred nature of trees.

The world is beautiful,
but they didn’t tell you this because they wanted to ruin it for you too.
The black magic of which we fight against.
A mashed-up world of thoughts and identities hide in the crisis
Of the bloodstream from all the things you were told, you believed you were not.

How can I tell you the world is beautiful?
We learn to appreciate it late.  The wind, water, the rocks,
And the soil are boundless in a way where we can’t measure on earth
’til we leave this place.  But, until then, let’s love the world today.

-Pennington

Subsequent To


art Shang Chengxiang

1.

I’m not interested in teaching ways to love or even how to think it up.

2.

I can’t teach you about sacrifice or about how many times we die in this life while we’re alive raging in this deteriorating flesh.

3.

I want the unreasonable and clever aspects of existence to clinch among the goodness and omitted parts of one another.  I want for them to discover the undiscovered.

I want to be taught and be on the receiving end of the million and one things I don’t know like why roses guard themselves by using thorns or why immortality comes on slow but heavy with disdain.

4.

I won’t allow others to share my prayer rug with me if I love in greater ways than them for I would be unfulfilled at an uneven heel feeling the disgust of unjust.

5.

I don’t want to feel less is more when it’s impossible for me to give in smaller amounts as I evolve.

-Pennington

High: Pure Being


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The blood stops short trapped before a hair tie, until I release the bun of tension:  post exercise of body-induced drama.  This is the captivating magic of night.

*

The mind works itself into heavy persuasion.  The body labors with intense urging.  The heart never questions what the goals are or what state of peak condition or overwhelmed fatness I stand in.  A sober thought I do entertain is how someone can not understand the significance of body awareness and its dynamism.

I have a passionate addiction to adrenaline and to the exclusive kick of the way my muscles drum within its act of compulsion.  The heart skips, skips and skips uninhibited.  It beats obsessively and storms out my mouth like an aggressive bird.  It ignites the fight and frenzy over the psyche and tissue land of freedom.

I’ve failed many times and am more successful because of every stoppage.  And now every weakness is formed into substantial strength and what strength has already been established has now constructed itself into marble and stone.

The focus is better determined than years previous.  The focus is better established than the last set and the mind-muscle connection tastes stronger than the last seething rep.  I’ve been sucked into a craving that’s unaware of its bounds.  I throw my fists into the air to battle and enter new coordination and balance ground.

My chest hovers over the floor, shoulders and triceps contract, hum and weep pushing up 200lbs plus over and over again.  The brace of my abdominals is my body’s endless support and savior.  Now there’s a surge spreading like a wild forest fire burning each of my hamstring fibers and into every angle and groove of my glutes with a various amount of hip thrust and single-leg pelvic bridges I can muster under time and tension.  The inner thigh screams by its own distress signals and fleshly vulnerability.  The burn degrees increase and I pull my center deeply to the spine to further the accuracy of the focal point along with the present.

I grimace in pain and drill my teeth into my own mouth.  I start to elevate and disappear like smoke.  I’m high now and there’s an exit.  I’m high and there are no thoughts struggling its way to birth other thoughts.  I’m high and suddenly there are no problems in the world.  There is no suffering.  There is only bliss and light.  There is only presence and heaven.  There is only the state of pure being.

-Pennington

Individuality of One


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I don’t want to teach.  I don’t want a leech.  I don’t want you hanging over my head like a gorgeous chandelier.  I don’t want you knowing anything about my severe bipolar gears.  I don’t want your arm wrapped around mine.  I don’t pine when impermanence is exorbitant and stands like an almighty saint on my shrine.

I don’t want every moment to be bursting of sunrays.  I don’t want to use you for every essay.  I don’t want your breath around me twenty-four hours a day.  I don’t want any part of your happiness or your pity party or blame.  I don’t want to share our pains and heavy existential hurricanes.  I don’t want to be the “ex” to your exclaim.

I’m not into pacts by blood or marriages and certificates.  I’m not into the mothering and the smothering of willingness.  I’m not into decreasing my space into a tiny box to suit anyone or anything because I am ubiquitous.  I’m not into cuddles that make a person feel connected to humanity.  I’m not into systems manufacturing normality.  I’m not into turning a blind eye to lesser insanities.

I’m not into him and hers and the chest of drawers.  I’m not into sacrificing my time and energy for you and yours.  I’m not into folklore when trying to coexist has been known to set across great wars.  I’m not into careless tongues that mouth everything undone. I’m not into romantic love and the drug it promises only once you dare to plunge.  I’m not into the togetherness of us, but the individuality of one.

Pennington