[flipflopandwellieboot.wordpress.com] “Strengthening my Core”

Yesterday I did a google search to see what the cyber-world can contribute to the definition of the word ‘core’. ‘Nitty-gritty’, and ‘heart-and-soul’ was added to my ‘core’ folder. Other explanations were also starting to fill up my word basket: 

– the innermost part of the earth; 

– part that is responsible for generating the planet’s magnetic field

– the most essential or important part 

– the important facts of a situation

– essential details of a situation

Add the ‘high educational’ voice of Webster to this:

– a central and often foundational part, usually distinct from the enveloping part by a difference in nature

– the inmost or most intimate part of an individual

-a part that is removable form the interior of a mass, especially do determine composition

Week 4 – 17 April 2020

It’s all in finding your balance, but even though I thought we were stabilising ourselves

I was still caught off guard by the 4th Friday of the officially imposed living-and-working-and-exercising at home experience. Experience indeed!! The ‘real’-ness of our houses as the centre of our universes, has settled in and the happy flow of life was carrying us onward. Surprisingly, fast is the movement of this river!! 

Shocked back to reality, that even the slower pace of life@home can pass this quickly too?? I was a bit puzzled by this thought, but also encouraged to make an EVEN BIGGER effort to be present in the moment!

Arno and Thomas were doing their final welding and grinding and digging, installing a sliding vehicle gate at the front of our property. This project has taken quite a few years (5 to be exact!!) to turn from words and plans into a green gate that slide on wheels from left to right!! They were so proud of their handywork and it was a very productive father and (naturally not-so-handy-) son partnership. I figured the absence of a maize of after-school activities and negotiating mountains of grade 10 homework, might have created a desire to hand-build something!

 Let’s rephrase wise Webster: A difference in nature (e.i.staying@home), which is distinct from the normal/natural (rushing around between school, work and extra-murals) has strengthened the central and often foundational part of a relationship between father and son…in other words, C19 has created an opportunity for ‘core-work’ in and between these two precious people.

Who are we?

What are we made of?

In this alternative times we’ve negotiate different ways of connecting with people who seems to appear into our lives. A ‘good morning’ over the fence. A plum cobbler that way, a book and some chocolates this way. Relationships built and strengthened.

These unexpected connections bring interesting skills and equipment with them… 

In this way we were blessed with a slackline that appeared in our garden. For those of you who might be wondering about the nature and functionality of such a device….. it’s is an elastic cable that gets rigged up between two trees, or in our case, between the steel beam of the balcony and the ‘swing’-tree. In real life, this will be used by adventurers like Bear Grylls or Steve Backshall to be-lay over a high river, or travers across a wide gully. The excitement in the Theron-garden was escalating!! 

The excitement of developing a new skill – walking on a tight-rope – was buzzing through the ranks. We got a very elegant, arms dancing, feet touch-touch-and-grab sweetly demonstration of what such an endeavour is supposed to look like. We took this in with silent anticipation. Wondering if our bodies will be able to mimic this show of balance and core stability.

Then it was  our turn…everyone nervously test-test the weight-carry combined with elasticity and movement integration of the cable. The hardest part is trusting the tension in the line with one’s weight, together with the instability of the floating line and body-untrained-core this is looking and feeling like a baby who is getting up for that first few steps. Needless to say, you cannot get onto the line, without somebody supporting you. Well, with my own attempt I needed two people to help me (one on each side) and not even with them both grabbing me firmly under my armpits AND me clinging onto their shoulders could I managed it!!!

So after a few tries, some members of the family actually started to manage a step or two!! Excited squeals of delight, interrupted by shrieks of fear and failure added another sound to the peaceful birdsong in our back garden.

I can testify that this skill is WAY more harder than it looks, but also if one gets the hang of it (or should I say the balance for it), it is an achievement with little or no comparison!!

As the days follow on one-another so the number of steps too. The greater the confidence of the individual, the stronger the mind with-in, the better failed attempts were attacked with more practising. The longer time spend on(and off!!) the line, the further the brave participant went. But when a new skill is honed, muscles work that has never been asked to perform until now, with the resulting pain and discomfort…mishaps can even cause arms in slings…and still the number of steps kept piling on.

Although my beloved was first to accomplish the whole length of the line, with the two teens following in close pursuit, I still found myself at the ‘getting-on’ stage!! Ok, I did not spend as much time as these brave hearts interacting with the new ‘toy’ , not to mention my natural affinity to balancing activities,which does not reach legendary status….but it brought some time for reflection. How am I caring and growing my core; developing my balance in a world where equilibrium (as we knew it) were swiftly swept from underneath my feet? What measures or values have people put into place, the gravitas of their human core, to keep them from falling off the slackline of life?

Patrick Lencioni’s statement that ‘a core value is something that a person should be willing to be punished for’ ties in completely with our garden-balancing-act scenario! Taking this a bit further, we can also understand why people with a strong emotional, spiritual and intellectual core can endure harder falls and turmoil (c’on Webbie: a state or condition of extreme confusion, agitation or commotion…yeah, right!!) get up and navigate through the stresses of unforeseen life happenings more eloquently. 

This brings me to the question: How can I adore my core? How do I attend to my core? Or better even – Where is my core, what is my core and how strong is my core? How do I find balance within my body and what is the relationship between me and the environment that I am positioned in?

From my humble own experience (which is different from yours) I’ve learned a few things. Who knows, maybe this can guide or prompt you into being awake to the attention needed to grow a strong core in yourself and in the people who you love.

  1. Nurture your spirit (your inner-man or -woman, the ‘real you’)

In order to understand your core, you need to reflect on the Creator of your spirit man, your core. The awareness of a BIGGER picture, where each of us has an important assignment to fulfil, has the ability to settle our weariness, loneliness and fear.  Read the Bible daily. Let the words soothe the chaos within you.

2. Attend to your soul (will, mind and emotions). 

A thought provoking article or book can also add to your stability in soul and mind. Personal growth and development, drawing on resources out with yourself, will engage your mind. It’ll align your will into setting new patterns and routines. Finally, it will anchor your emotions on truth… not running riot chasing after every conspiracy or piece of fear-raising fake news. Establish balance in your ability to discern what to allow into your ear and eye gate and what to banish from your home – this includes a non-tolerance attitude towards TV programs, movies, idle talking and established boundaries (amounts of screen-time and bed-time routines).

3. Exercise your body (‘vehicle that carries and protects your inner man)

No beating around the bush here – a healthy body hosts a healthy soul!!

Take particular care in eating healthy and doing exercise daily. A few  jumping-jacks can lift your heart rate as much as it can make you lift your head up!! This is where the physical core training comes into play, e.i balancing on the slackline, doing an HIIT workout, walking around the perimeter of the garden, or having a chasing crawling race with the baby!!

4. Establishing routine

There is nothing better you can do to connect your body-soul-and spirit (and building relationships within your immediate family while caring for their core as well) than to set a healthy daily routine. Make sure to incorporate variety with-in your weekly routine. The main priority for you is to get dressed in the mornings. Next up is to schedule in time to relax between doing house, office and school work. Lastly, purposefully plan rewards for yourself and the family. This will make the process of developing and working towards goals so much more entertaining and enjoyable.

We are all striving to the centre of balance. I guess we are wired within to crave routine, unity, peaceful living and joy. We long to anchor our souls and rest in a place of safety. These core values are who we’v been created to be. When this balance of rest is challenged, then we are naturally inclined to reclaim it. 

Our former situation will not look the same again, but with a strong core…and the willingness to keep on strengthening our core, we will be renewed in body, soul and spirit.

Don’t you want to join me on the tight rope??!!

John Spence – Definition of success: When your core values and self-concept are in harmony with your daily actions, choices and behaviours.


Google is not a good search engine for definitions. For English words, http://onelook.com is far better. 😉

[2020-05-02 17:00 UTC]


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