Have you ever had that moment, standing at a fork in the road, where life presented you with a critical and time-sensitive decision? A definitive choice crashes on your shores with immediacy, and you are unsure about what to do, even after putting a great deal of thought into which direction to go. Have you found yourself mentally paralyzed, faced with critical decision-making only to recognize a familiar sense of unspoken confidence, where a part of you knew, without question, the correct choice to make?
Perhaps you listen more closely and you hear a voice in your head, empowering you to simply “trust your gut.” You now find yourself tapping into that clairvoyant feeling of knowing the correct answers, only to find yourself discounting your inner guide, choosing a different path, and leading yourself to an ultimately unpleasant outcome. A different outcome than what your “gut” suggests. Am I describing the many times you did not trust yourself? Have you ever had that moment? Of course, you have…we all have. We are human after all.
At many points in our lives, we hear the phrase, “It is critical to strengthen your core.” Being a fitness professional for over 20 years, I agree with this assertion. But, I want to take the conversation a layer deeper.
Your physical core is connected to the core of who you are as a person, a decision-maker, a human being. Right now, wherever you are in the world, I want you to pause and place your thumb directly on your belly button, with the rest of your fingers below it. Where those four fingers are, I want you to think about gently pulling that specific area toward your spine.
This new awareness is subtle, powerful, and you should still be able to breathe throughout the process. If you found your shoulders rise or your rib cage expand because you “sucked it in” then start from the beginning and do it again.
This is a small yet very powerful movement, a shift that you can feel deep in your core. When you made that small adjustment, did you feel yourself sit up or stand a bit taller? Did your chin rise ever so slightly to a more energetic posture? Perhaps for a brief moment, you felt a flicker of strength, an inner connection. Or maybe you felt a slight shift in confidence.
All of these connections occur when you strengthen and physically connect with your core. The lasting benefit is not derived from the way these results look on the outside, but rather the way this empowerment feels on the inside. When you connect with your physical core, you are connecting with the foundational power of your being…your true center.
It is said that when we are born the first two things we develop are our breath and our core. Your breath is who you are and your core is your life’s purpose…hence the term, “gut feeling.” When something isn’t in alignment with your purpose, your path, you get a signal; a physiological reference point reminding you this off-brand entity is not in alignment with who you are or the direction you should go.
Perhaps this concept feels like a stretch to think that strengthening your physical core will empower the connection you have and your ability to live from your purpose. Fair enough…but, I want to challenge you. I want to challenge you to consciously use this new understanding, this gift, to live the highest version of yourself.
When my husband Grant sustained a life-altering spinal cord injury just five months after we were married, I knew I was in uncharted territory. I had trained hundreds of people with a variety of goals and injuries but had never helped someone recover from the grips of physical paralysis, let alone this person being the love of my life.
Although the streets had no names, I knew one thing for sure…we were going to use the power of our love, hard work, positive thinking, and our unwavering belief to continue to achieve our goals and live the life we dreamed about. I also knew that my ability to stay connected to my intuition, my gut, was going to be critical in those early days of recovery. As we continued on the journey of recovery, we would use Grant’s sixth sense, his gut, his core, to give us the answers we needed to move forward with certain therapies, or if it was time to move on.
At any point when I have a decision to make, I am feeling disconnected, or I am unsure of the path I should be on, I get on my foam roller to connect with my core and breathe consciously. I might not find the answer immediately but I know I will soon. Working with my core connection, I am calm, I am connected, and I am reminded that my inner voice, my gut, is so incredibly wise and powerful.
Understanding your core connection is the secret to optimizing the wild and crazy turns of this blissful thing we all call being alive…and that, my friend, is what I want for you. I want you to remember how powerful your voice is, how powerful your purpose is, and to always remember the wisdom which lives within you. You are here to do something only you can do, in the way in which you will do it…. Follow your heart, listen to your mind, and always trust your gut.