How Exercise Can Change The World: Discovering Your Hidden Self – Part 1

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By Bob Livingstone

sunI awoke to a sunny San Francisco morning and miraculously fog was nowhere to be seen. The day looked bright, but I was not feeling it. Pessimism and self-doubt ruled my world today.

I was feeling tired, uninspired and fed up. I wasn’t sure what was troubling me and I knew damn well I wouldn’t figure out what is wrong by staring at a computer screen, playing with my phone or some other mindless activity.

I knew from experience that moving my body while listening to music would bring me relief and quite possibly I could understand what was bothering me and be on the toad to resolving it.

I put on my running clothes, tied my shoes and turned the music on. I was listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town album. This record is filled with anger, bitterness, regret and after all that; hope.

I opened the apartment door and started slowly running down the street moving to the rhythm of the drums and guitars.

I asked myself “what do I feel and why do I feel this way?” I was patient (which was unusual for me) and I waited until the answer revealed itself.

My pace was quickening and I could hear the sound of my feet hitting the concrete along with Bruce singing Something in the Night. He sang about losing all that he had and how people will take advantage if they perceive you as weak.

joggingI was feeling numb, sad and frustrated. I am a psychotherapist in private practice and I work with clients who have been traumatized. They may have lost a loved one through death. They may have experienced horrific abuse at the hands of another. They may be victims of domestic violence. They may be children in the middle of a protracted hostile divorce.

I hear stories of utter anguish nearly every day and sometimes my client’s pain really overwhelms me.

As therapists, we are trained to be aware of what issues from our childhood are being stirred up while working with those who have been traumatized. We are supposed to use this awareness as a tool for helping our clients. Sometimes the issue that is being brought to the surface is utter powerlessness and helplessness. I sense this state of being in my clients and I have memories of feeling like I have no influence in improving anything.

I remember several of my grade school teachers criticizing my handwriting and telling me that I was stupid and my guidance counselor in high school saying that I was not bright enough to attend college.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the article shortly…..

If you would like to learn more about how to heal your emotional pain through exercise while listening to music, please check out my book The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise.

Bob Livingstone is the author the critically acclaimed Unchain the Pain: How to be Your Own Therapist, Norlights Press 2011, The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise, Pegasus Books, 2007 and Redemption of the Shattered: A Teenager’s Healing Journey through Sandtray Therapy, Booklocker 2002. He is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker in private practice in The San Francisco Bay Area and has nearly twenty five years experience working with adults, adolescents and children.