“I recently realized something,” I said to my mom. “I used to run really fast. I always won on field day in elementary school. I was fast. And the teachers never encouraged me to pursue that, never helped me see that as a strength. I feel like they took something from me by not helping me to cultivate that part of me.”
She agreed, and we had a brief discussion about how we can’t really go back and change things, but we can learn from them.
The truth is, I grew up hating gym class. I don’t like to use the word hate now, but I definitely hated gym class. I really didn’t enjoy any form of movement, and I was never really taught that it was important. It’s not that I didn’t see it from my parents – my dad played basketball and cricket, skied in the winter and worked out regularly. My mom was an avid runner. So why did I hate gym class?
Clearly from my memory, there was a time when I didn’t hate it. I enjoyed being out on that field, running as fast as I could. I can remember playing soccer and being good. So I found myself wondering where the origin of this shift came from. I imagine part of the reason was that springtime often left me behind in gym class, relegated to running errands for the gym department who didn’t know what to do with the girl whose allergies were so bad that she couldn’t go outside without getting a bloody nose and having her eyes practically sealed shut. I wasn’t taught then about the importance of movement, and about the power that I had within me. I was taught (yes, by my teachers) that I was different and undeserving of support if I couldn’t be outside with the rest of the class.
This message stuck with me for a long time. Eventually, after years of feeling like it was completely natural that I was sedentary and that I didn’t really need to do anything differently, I found yoga. My view on movement changed a bit, because I found a space on my mat that was not just about exercise, it was about spirituality. My eyes also began to open to the importance of regular movement beyond yoga, especially as I was preparing my body for pregnancy, but I just couldn’t make it happen.
I think I was still holding onto this belief that I wasn’t an athletic person and that there was no point in trying. That all changed the other day when I stretched myself way out of my comfort zone. Remember how I have talked about how that’s the place where the magic happens? Well, in 45 minutes, I deconstructed this limiting belief and shut the old patterns down. Yes, in 45 short and sweaty minutes, everything changed.
photo by Justin N Thompson
I surprised myself quite a bit when I walked into Focus Fitness
at 9:30 on a Sunday morning and signed in for a class unlike any I’d taken before – a class that combines spinning and yoga. I think the idea of the yoga part settled some of my nerves, but I wondered what in the world I was doing there, mostly-sedentary-little-me, getting ready to walk into a room full of strangers and hop on a stationary bike for 45 minutes.
I was lovingly welcomed into the group with full support. Someone even lent me a pair of sneakers (because I didn’t even think to bring those, see, my head really was on the yoga part!).
Here are some of the thoughts that ran through my head:
What the hell am I doing here?
There’s no way I’ll make it through this class!
Am I doing this right?
Oh my god this is HARD!
Okay, I’m pushing myself, I can DO this!
Wait, did I really just do 15 miles in 45 minutes?
I don’t know if I liked this.
I have to come back and do this again.
I AM capable of this!
I gave myself a gift the other day that went well beyond an intense cardio workout. I taught myself that for all of these years I’d been living a lie, and I don’t need to live that lie anymore. I do like how it feels when I move my body like this, and I am more than capable of it, I can rock it!
I limited myself by continuing to tell the story that I didn’t need a lot of movement in my life and that I wasn’t good at it and wouldn’t enjoy it anyway.
I kept living out that same pattern again and again – the one that told me I wasn’t like everyone else, that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t capable of this.
I’ve learned the importance of stretching myself beyond my comfort zone a lot in the last few years, and especially in the last few months as I’ve put together the Creating Fertile Ground Virtual Conference. It wasn’t until this spinning class that I saw so clearly how quickly we can release our limiting beliefs once we recognize what they are and push ourselves to taking action to boldly step away from them and in the direction of growth.
So what’s holding you back?
What beliefs have been so deeply part of how you view yourself that it’s hard to imagine they’re simply not true?
And what can do to stretch yourself so immensely out of your comfort zone that you give yourself no choice but to release these old beliefs and make space for your Truth?
This is safe and sacred space, so please share here on over on the Facebook page.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,