Confusion between tension and strength has become an epidemic.
The Bone & Joint Initiative shows that musculoskeletal injuries account for 70% of lost work days and musculoskeletal disease accounts for 50% of disabling health conditions in adults. If these statistics are any indication, then tension, stress, and burnout are ravaging our minds and bodies.
The sheer number of people missing work is perhaps the most extreme manifestation of the tension that is working against our efforts to build strength. When we push past our limitations, we are not standing in our strength—we are standing in our tension and asking it to hold us up. Tension is too brittle to hold us together—and that is why we experience ourselves as weak.
Because we don’t think we’re strong, we approach resistance with the idea that we’re not enough. We throw everything we have at it and push past our physical, mental, and emotional limitations. We see strength as domination, but it’s not.
I want to change our perception of strength. Strength is the ability to meet resistance and influence an outcome without compromising ourselves. And we already have it.
Strength is not an attribute, it’s a state of being. Gladiators, bodybuilders, and football players demonstrate strength through brute force, sheer willpower, muscle mass, and relentless pursuit. But we’re also quick to identify dancers and martial artists as strong. Their medium taps into a sense of vulnerability, balance, alignment, controlled power, and grace—but no one can deny their strength. Strength may look different on each of us, but it is an inherent part of who we are.
You are not weak by nature; you are stronger than you think. Your strength is not something you need to kill yourself to gain—it is already within you, waiting to be excavated. The key is to stop chasing something you already have and tap into it, so you can manifest that strength in your everyday life.
When you learn to listen to your body’s divine wisdom, you cultivate a sense of where your body is developing tension instead of standing in its strength. You end the vicious cycle of unrealistic expectations, injury, and self-criticism and learn how to consciously embrace responsible growth. You stop compartmentalizing your strength into emotional, physical, and mental pieces and operate from the strength of your being at all times.
You learn how to align yourself with gravity—instead of working against it—so you can channel your strength to meet life’s resistance. As you meet resistance with equal parts power and alignment, you transform resistance into an opportunity for creation and expression.
As in the sword dance above, the power lies in bringing just the right amount of force—not too little and not too much. By meeting the sword’s weight, I meet gravity. I am tapped into a larger source of energy, free of tension, and discover a strength that is wholly and uniquely mine.