Think of those playground swings –the forward part of the swing, which is the fun, exciting part of the swaying, we feel like we’re going higher, that’s what we want… That’s the life-affirming energy of the anabolic phase, but then what happens, we get to a certain point, and no matter what, we end up dropping back down, and that backward motion is like the catabolic, we’re feeling like we’re constricting, we feel like we’re losing the gains that we had just made, and then what happens, we get to the back part of the swing, and then we go forward again.
There are a couple of cool things about this analogy. One is that there are ways that we’ve learned to amplify the swing. When you were little, we learned how to pump, we learned how to move our body to amplify by being in harmony with these natural forces. In this case, we’re talking about gravity, and when we’re talking about all of life, there are some other natural forces bigger than gravity that we can tune into and work with…
Yes, so as a little one, we learn how to pump, in the pump motion as we start to wiggle our body and get in harmony with the flow of the up and the downflow, and we get to the top. What do we know to do? We kind of constrict and pull back. We say, Oh, I’m not gonna play big, when you’re at the top of the swing, you play more humble, you give credit where credits to, you’re more grateful, and you kind of crack, and you get into a little bit more kind of compact position then you fall backward. When you get all the way to the bottom, which feels like the worst possible scariest moment, what do you do? You take grateful action, and you lean your body super forward, and then with perfect timing, ends up amplifying the swing.
And the thing about the swing is that you can’t take away half of the swing, it’s all one, we experience it in this dualistic way, and we can make distorted meaning of it if we take it out of the full context of the experience — we really we can’t exist without the full spectrum of both the highs and the lows. It’s all equally beautiful. All equally powerful. It’s all part of life. And when it comes to leveling up in this habit of honoring our recovery, we have this opportunity to really love both the catabolic phase when we’re breaking stuff down and love the anabolic phase, loving both. However, we know we have got to focus a little bit more on that anabolic if we wanna keep moving higher. If we focus more on the catabolic and we stay a little bit heavier in the back, we are not gonna end up going higher and higher in the swing of life.
This means that we need to prioritize recovery higher than we prioritize our stressful challenges and workouts. We have to put more focus and more honoring, more emphasis, on recovery than we put on our workouts, and most of us, at least in dominant fitness culture, have this backward.
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