Definitions of the word “core” include references to centrality and importance. If I understand correctly, the core muscles are the muscles in your trunk both front and back but not necessarily the shoulders. They support your spine. You exercise those muscles when you do leg lifts, crunches, and (ugh) pushups. In karate, we punch and kick from the core – our legs and arms snap like whipped towels if we throw the techniques properly from the core. Just as your body has a core, your spirit has a core as well. Most of what we do comes from the core.
A good place to see what the core of a person looks like is in a nursing home. Everything superficial is gone. Careers are over. Any fame won is largely forgotten by the general public. No one looks like the chiseled young people you see in swimsuit advertisements. Health is by and large gone. Some are as helpless as newborn babies. What’s left after all has been stripped away by the ravages of old age? The core of who they are. It’s sobering to see one elder bitter and unhappy while another is still smiling and blessing the socks off of everyone within hearing. Even when someone is afflicted with Alzheimer’s, the core of who they once were peeks through for a fleeting moment every once in awhile.
Personal development is key to strengthening your core. Martial arts are valuable for developing physical and mental control. Spiritual activities (for example: church worship services) have proven their value throughout the ages and across cultures. There are many ways to work on your core. It is vital that you do so. Someday you might find everything else stripped away.
Here in America, we are celebrating Thanksgiving today. Being thankful is one of many very powerful ways of developing your core. Even if you’re heartbroken and crying today, find a way to be thankful for the gift of tears because crying is a healing process. Look outside the window. Even gloomy skies and rain are a blessing – just ask anyone who lives in a desert. If you’re out in that cold, gloomy rain, please seek out warmth and fellowship – shelters throw their doors wide open today and you’ll definitely find plenty to be thankful for – maybe even a bit of hope for your future. If you can find one little thing to be thankful for, you’ll start to get better at finding more things. Your “core” will get stronger.
If you want to explore the core of yourself further, Sensei Andrea Harkins has a great article that goes deeper and gives specific steps to help you think about what she calls “The Genuine You.” Don’t worry – you don’t have to spend hours of meditation contemplating your bellybutton, but Sensei Andrea will make you think! She also has a related post about seeking something you can be passionate about. The great thing about passions is they come from your “core” and nourish your spirit at the same time!
What does the core of your self look like? What are you made of?