I like myself a lot. I think I’m kind and compassionate. I’m working out on the elliptical in the gym and soon with the bike on the road. So cardiovascular health is coming my way. But there’s one aspect of life where I’ve always defined myself as “less”: strength.
In 1980 or so, I lost an arm wrestle to my 11-year-old niece Diana. And yes, I was really trying. Growing up, I related to that skinny kid on the beach who had sand kicked in his face. I go the gym now and see the huge weights that some of the men and women are hoisting. And the “less” starts to grow.
I’ve dabbled in strength training over the past few years, even hired a personal trainer, but I would always find reasons to fritter away my expressed commitment. During some sessions I was fierce in my determination to do all the reps but then injury or illness always seemed to derail me and my progress returned to zero.
Today I began again. Light weights but I did my full Day One program. And oh, it felt good. I see the opportunity right in front of my nose – to be strong, not with big, blocky muscles, but still, able to grunt my way up hills on the bike, climb stairs with ease twenty years from now, and have my body support my spirit.
One version of spirituality focuses on the sweetness beyond this physical round, on epiphanies of the soul, feeling the depth of the present moment. Another emphasizes the glory of the senses – the body moving through space, the pleasures of a soft breeze or a fine meal. But there’s more: the chance to embrace both.
I can be more than my heart and head. I can include my biceps and quads. No need for the V-shape but lots of room for a different type of meditation – the intensity of contracting muscles can be in partnership with stillness.
It’s possible that physical fitness can allow me to reach more people with my caring. I’d like that.