Solid Foundations?

“But how did you create a solid foundation?” my friend pressed.

Dinner parties never fail to surprise me. The subject of Happy Calories Don’t Count inevitably comes up because people learn (or know) what I do, and the point of the party is to enjoy each other’s company and some food. It’s fascinating to me – the different thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that people have about food. And their different perspectives never fail to provide me with a great “ah-ha” moment.

My friend kept asking questions – “how did you come up with this? How does it work?” And I answered. But that “solid foundation” was a sticking point. I kept talking about the importance of Alignment – of making sure that our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions are congruent – and he kept asking about the foundation. We kept going in circles, and I finally realized that he was literally talking about the foundation!

To help illustrate my concept of Alignment, I often refer to “rings” or “nuts” (as in nuts and bolts) – circular segments with hollow centers. I describe a person as a “system” and how each aspect of a person – thoughts, feelings, beliefs, actions – is represented by a “ring.” When the rings are aligned, energy can flow though their centers – through the system –in a powerful way. It is this energy flowing through the system that creates the change we want in our bodies. But when the rings are misaligned – from something being incongruent within us – the energy cannot flow freely or effectively, and results are slow to come.

I kept describing how the rings are kept in alignment by acting in a way that is congruent with what you think and feel and believe. Moment-by-moment you make decisions and take actions with the entirety of who you are – not just a single aspect. If you discover a contraction between your thoughts, feelings, beliefs or actions, you work to resolve it. When the contradiction is resolved, you come back into alignment.

But he kept asking about that foundation. His perspective was that if you have a solid foundation, you can stack the rings and they will stay in balance. If you have an unstable foundation, the rings won’t be able to balance. So our job must be to create that solid foundation – and how did I do that??

It wasn’t until the drive home that I realized he was asking about a literal foundation. And then I recognized that he probably didn’t really understand anything I was saying. It seemed like he understood – we were engaged in a lively and fulfilling conversation using the same words – spiritual, enlightenment, balance, create – and even foundation. But when I realized that his focus was to literally create a solid foundation, I understood that he was thinking from a completely different paradigm.

To focus on creating a solid foundation upon which your “rings” can balance is the same flawed logic perpetuating the diet and exercise model. I’ve discussed at length the myriad of flaws within that traditional weight-loss model – not the least of which is the idea that you can control your body shape and size by some how “figuring out” that “right” combination of diet and exercise.

But even in an “enlightened” conversation, my friend was using the same logic: if you can somehow get a solid foundation – then your rings will balance. But it doesn’t matter if you’re talking literally or metaphorically, there is no such thing as a solid foundation!

The best engineering and construction in the world still succumbs to earthquakes, mudslides and tornados. And sometimes it feels as if we’ve been hit by a hurricane with the emotional, psychological and spiritual drama we go through. Our power does not lie in our ability to build a solid foundation – that does not exist. Our power lies in our ability to find our alignment – our balance – despite external circumstances. A surfer balances to ride the wave by feeling it and adjusting to it. Even if the stage floor is “solid”, a ballerina balances en pointe with millions of micro corrections.

The key to success is not an ability to build something solid upon which you can balance. The key to success is the ability to pull into your center and create your own balance, regardless of the foundation. When you can find your Alignment – despite external circumstances – you have found true power.