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Post-workout Ritual

March 25, 2011

Little rituals can sometimes help me re-frame parts of my day that I sometimes resist, but I know are really part of the work of becoming more myself… becoming more excellently myself. They can help me integrate these parts into the big picture.

I’ve never been a fan of exercise. Gym class was torture. Sports were never my thing. And now, I find myself in a body that is terribly deconditioned from my highly cerebral focus and absolute resistance to anything that involves running, competition, or bouncing (this last is mostly structural, the sports bra that can contain these tracts of land has not been invented yet).

I am learning to make peace with exercise.

I’m finding how to condition my body in a way that does not require bouncing, running, or competing. And how to work with my body where it’s at, not where I or anyone else thinks it “should” be. And I’m discovering some interesting things about myself along the way.

I actually like weight training, which I never expected. I like the feel of muscles pushing and pulling. I like seeing the gradual improvement in ability. I can also obsess over it, creating spreadsheets of weights and sets and reps and formulas of gradual increase and retesting schedules and on and on and on… to the point where I spend more time on the getting-ready-to-exercise than I do actually working out in the gym. How fascinating.

So, I’m working on not letting my perfectionism get in the way of my exercise. And looking for the things I like about exercise, with a childlike and non-judgmental curiosity.

And one thing I’m doing is re-framing exercise not as a “should”, but as a gift to myself, a healing process, and a way to develop my potential and reclaim my power.

Looking back, I can see that my body became deconditioned through fear, shame, and depression.

I see something to ritualize. Let’s metaphor this bitch.

What if my fear, shame, and depression were stored in each fat cell that my body grew during this period?

And, as I exercise and sweat and shed these pounds and inches, what if I’m not just processing and releasing the fat cells, but also those emotions, memories, and limitations?

I don’t need them anymore.

They were things I held on to, but I am releasing them now. I am letting go of them. I don’t need to carry them any longer.

They were things I carried, but they are not ME. They were just the rough around the hidden diamond.

They wash away in my sweat after the workout. I drink water to help my body process them and flush them out.

At the bathroom sink after my workout, I literally wash my hands of them.

I let all that long-held ugh flow away with the cool, clean water.

Let all that is not me fall away.

So I can shine a little brighter.

—-

So now, when I wash my face and hands after the workout, I have this little visualization / intention / prayer / thingy. It brings the whole exercise experience into the wider pattern of me growing into a stronger, healthier, happier me.

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