When you want to quit, focus on Tumatauenga
Just like that, ngā hau a Tāwhiri, the winds of Tāwhirimātea have blown the sails of our waka (canoe) towards another direction, to focus on another atua in our series - with Whiro (new moon) just a few days away.
In his first post, we learned that the only time we see Tāwhirimātea in our physical environment, is when he interacts with other elements, with other atua (deities, elemental forces). So it's appropriate that we wrap his series up by looking at his relationship with our next atua,
Tūmatauenga (atua of man, war).
Remember te pakanga atua, the war of the gods? Quick summary, Tāwhirimātea absolutely dominated his brothers, all except for Tū who stood up to and battled it out against Tāwhiri-The-Atua-Slayer.
This moment between Tū and Tāwhiri, in particular, holds a lot of importance for us today. All of the interactions between atua are important, but this battle in particular, is constantly in action within each of us, heightened in some cases which some of us love and thrive on - while others would rather not go there...
physical activity and physical fitness.
As we know, the atua gave themselves to Hineahuone and in our tinana (bodies), Tāwhirimātea represents our respiratory system, the structure that enables us to breathe as well as breath itself. While Tūmatauenga represents the muscles and function of those muscles in our bodies; strength, power.
With that in mind, reflect for a second on any physical activity you've partaken in, go to that dark place and think of the really difficult ones.* When you took for granted the simpler times when you could breathe easily, without thinking twice about it.. When your throat was on fire, when your body just wanted to collapse from exhaustion and your limbs were gonna pop off? Ahhh fun times...
From intense trainings, to climbing a few stairs after some time off, I know that burn intimately. But what is it and why does it occur? The 'burn' we love, is whakapapa in action; the battle between Tū and Tāwhiri within us! The active muscles (Tū) screaming for oxygen (Tāwhiri).°
Whenever we engage in activities that require a higher oxygen intake to feed our tinana (body), Tāwhiri and Tū are going at it. At low levels, Tāwhiri ain't got nuthin' on Tū, the movements are easy and unrestricted. But as the intensity increases, Tāwhirimātea becomes more present (or less present...); it gets harder to breathe, the muscles start to burn and aren't getting as much oxygen as they need..
You feel like quitting... You just want it to stop...
But you can't! We can't! We're whakapapa in action - that comes with responsibility. One of which is to continue the fight and overcome our own limitations and push ourselves to become the very best versions of ourselves - whatever that looks, sounds and feels like. Tūmatauenga defeated Tāwhiri once before, we can do it again.
Next time, or during next training you have coming up; shift your focus from the burn, from how painful it is and how much you want it to stop... shift your attention to drawing out Tūmatauenga within you and continue the battle against Tāwhirimātea. Keep pushing! Finish your set, meet you tupuna (ancestor) at the top of that maunga (mountain), one more rep...
Who'd ever know what we are capable of if we can't push past a little resistance from Tāwhiri?
Kia māia! Be brave,
*Difficult for you. Don't compare what you think is physically hard to an Olympian or someone who lives and breathes fitness if that ain't you. We're all at different stages of our journey and be proud of where you are and use whoever you compared 'difficult' to as a source of motivation, not judgement to get down on yourself. You're better than that, beautiful soul. Now go kick ass and own that shit.