By Steph Harris
I was very close to moving to the west coast this past December. Very very close. And in the new year, as the awareness that NYC is where I’m staying settled, I myself, and close mentors began asking the question, “What’s your intention?” And I didn’t know.
Now, almost two months into the New Year of 2016 and 5 weeks into working with Sacred Warrior, I feel that the intention has surfaced.
In starting this new sport, there are some parts that come really naturally to me, the power component, the athletic parts. And then there are some things that don’t feel natural to me at all. And not only unnatural, but awkward and frustrating. The first of those things is my step. In exercises like shadow boxing and stepping around the bag, I’ve felt so awkward. And a part of that is that it is new and will take time to grow accustomed to. Even more so, I feel frustrated that I don’t feel grounded. When I start to move quicker, I sometimes throw myself off balance and lose my center or I’ll throw a punch and end up leaning forward on my toes. The other thing is when I do hit the bag, especially with my jab, but my cross too, I’m not always making the best connection with the bag. Almost like I’m aiming with 80% focus. These two things, confidence and grounded-ness in my step as well as commitment and connection on the bag have led me to my intention: follow through.
When I realized this intention I couldn’t believe the span of its application in my life. Follow through Steph, follow through. Whether it’s the art therapy internship, or writing the autism paper with the bio-ethics professor; focus, commit, and follow through. I have this very clear vision of my self around the bag with my eyes totally intensified on a spot and settling into the intensity through my feet, the grounded-ness. Almost crouching with the gaze of a panther and then a quick exhale and jab to that exact spot. Baap. That’s the intensity I need in all realms of my life right now. It doesn’t do anything if I am even mostly focused on the boxing bag and I throw a punch and it doesn’t hit right on and thus, slides of the bag. It doesn’t matter that I’m at the gym, working hard, lifting, running, practicing focus… none of that matters if when I get on the bag, I’m not connecting with that gaze and hitting the spot on the bag. Baap. This is this overarching theme for me right now. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing a paper on autism with Dr. Fischbach if I don’t follow through. If I throw a half focused punch at it, it almost isn’t worth it. You either follow through, hit the spot on the bag, or don’t waste your energy throwing the punch.
Step with a grounded follow through, commit to the step, even if it feels weird, just start stepping, get in touch with the practice of grounded follow through. Boxing is helping me practice what it means to take a confident Steph step. And as I’m taking the step, throw a committed Steph punch. Settle into the strangeness of the primal self, and follow through to the exact spot I intend to connect with. Boxing is a safe place to learn about myself, let what needs to come up, come up, and practice being the whole self I want to be. So, for the next month I’ll be focused on this intention of follow through, every time I’m at the gym, when I meditate, even writing these expressions of my experience. Follow through, focus, commit, hit it straight on. Ring the bell.
About the Author: A lifelong athlete and artist, Steph felt a strong pull to work with Vanessa in 2016 after a continued feeling that the noises of NYC life were becoming extremely loud and disorienting. A teacher of mindfulness, art as a means to healing, and yoga, Steph found Sacred Warrior Boxing and overall philosophy fit her need for intensity and warriorship, while also resonating deeply with her meditation practice and life purpose. Steph is a boxing student of Vanessa’s as well as co-developer of the upcoming Sacred Warrior podcast. She lives in Bushwick and is exploring Biology, Art Therapy, Autism, and what it means to be living our purpose.