- Things that people find grounding
- Exercise, exercise, exercise
- Taking a walk outside
- Eating a piece of fruit
- Focusing on the bottoms of your feet
Ok I can’t believe I’m saying this, but working out is no fun at all. Am I right here people?
Sometimes when I go to work out I just don’t feel like it. Then my muscles start burning, I’m breathing really heavily, and everything kind of aches. It feels a little bit like I’m dying and not in the Sylvia Plath sense.
People who are “into fitness” don’t like to admit they feel like this, but we do. We like to act like it’s fun and enjoyable which it is, but it also sucks. We don’t tell other people this because it’s hard to explain to anyone why we would do something so arduous. If we admitted this they would ask why we encourage others to do the same thing? Are you guys like sadists or something?
There is this idea in the fitness world and in society that everything should be fun light and easy. When you see work out commercials on TV those people are having a blast doing puncherobics or taicyling or whatever. When you see people working out for real often they have this look like someone just stole their milk money and shoved them in a locker.
So why do I work out? Because I know that it makes me feel better. Counter intuitive right?
When I work out my brain works better, my moods are less extreme, food tastes better, sex is better, and I just feel better day-to-day.
Even after a hard workout that kicked my booty I feel much better than I did before. There is something thoroughly satisfying about being completely used by my efforts. Discomfort and fatigue force me to be in my body to be in this moment to get out of my head and into THIS INTENSE EXPERIENCE!
That’s why I love to exercise even when I can’t stand it. So go ahead and admit that working out is hard. It’s supposed to be that way. That’s why it’s called working out instead of hanging out. It’s work.
Once you’ve done that then get out there and run, swim, bike, skate until you feel exhausted. We all have to do unpleasant things sometimes, but exercising mindfully is one occasionally unpleasant thing that actually makes almost everything else a little better.
If you have practiced Buddhism or a few other eastern traditions at all you’ve heard about it, read about it, been admonished about it, and more. Even if you haven’t you have experienced it. The ever changing now, the subtle shift of the winds, the endless march of time, whatever your preferred referent it’s quite clear, all things are in a state of flux.
Often impermanence gets a bad wrap as the thing that takes whatever we love away from us, but from the right perspective impermanence is also what gives life’s it’s special significance.
The moments we cherish very often signify change. A great example of this is the sunset. People all over the world admire and relish the colors, the shifting light, the change in noises, that the sunset brings. The sunset embodies a moment of change.
The sun moves all day long and maybe we notice the changing angles of light, the shift in temperature, but maybe we don’t. In the Northwest United States, for example, the shift of the sun often occurs behind a curtain of impenetrable grey.
The sun set (or sun rise) is a time when the movement demands our attention, often with a dramatic effect. It signals that this day is ending, that even the huge forces that seem so stable to us are shifting in front of our very eyes.
If you’ve ever sat and watched a sunset you know this to be true. The sun a massive ball of plasma, falls beneath the horizon faster than you realized it could. It’s our attentiveness to this change that helps us see the beauty.
There are many other examples of beauty found this way in change, migrating birds, the opening of flowers, the first snow, the first spring shower, the first warm day of summer, and many more. These moments bring us into the present moment and show us that this flow of life is filled with an amazing vitality.
When I stand in the middle of one of these moments, I can feel my life sliding underneath me. Like that moment when the waves cross over one another at the beach. They seem like they are both coming out and going in all at once. This feeling is raw and scary, but it something I live to feel. It’s this feeling that makes me realize how precious each grain of my life truly is.
Take some time this week and reflect on something that you enjoy watching change. Think about how changes in the day, the seasons, even the people around you create beauty in your life.
Change is what enables us to become new people to learn new things. It keeps everyday fresh and unexpected. It only becomes a problem when we fear it.
Thanks for reading and Be Well,