Have you ever reached a point in your life when you knew that something had to change? When you know that what you’re doing is not quite working, but you’re not entirely sure how to make the necessary alterations to your life or adjustments to your headspace to bring about the transformation you desire?
Oh dear, I hear you cry…this is not an auspicious beginning…please tell me Blue Jai hasn’t completely lost the plot and started writing a self-help tome…
Relax, people — I’m not having some kind of breakdown. I’m not about to begin documenting a life-changing journey of self-discovery, and I’m not selling anything, either.
All the same, I’m betting you know the feeling I’m talking about: the one where you feel either slightly squirmy in your stomach because you know something’s off somewhere and you need to get it out of your life? Or when someone asks you a seemingly innocuous question and you find yourself unexpectedly bursting into floods of tears in response? Or when you’re just monumentally frustrated?
Well, I think I had all three of those reactions this week.
And it was all to do with…drum roll for mother-of-all first world problems, please…my gym membership.
I know, I know — really, I do.
I know that really, technically, this doesn’t even begin to count as a problem at all.
Except that it does…
What I have been struggling with is that even though there are parts of going to the gym that I truly love (particularly my weekly yoga class, the brilliance of which I’ve written about before), I was faced this week with the realisation that there are other aspects of going to the gym that are driving me absolutely nuts — and, if I’m perfectly honest, they have been sending me round the twist for quite some time.
When I was working out, for example, I felt like I was trapped on a treadmill (which was, quite literally, going nowhere) in front of screen upon screen of soul-destroying daytime television. And when I was planning to do a class, it seemed that (more often than not) I was staring blankly at the weekly timetable trying to figure out when I could actually fit myself into one of those tiny little time-constrained boxes.
Where, exactly, is the soul in all of this, people?
Since when did we have to spend our days fitting ourselves into tiny boxes?
And so, this week, I snapped. (And cried…and lay awake until the small hours of the morning…and various other things…)
I knew something needed to change.
So, on Tuesday afternoon, I came home from work and got a big piece of paper and wrote out a Tabata Challenge for the kids and I to do in the back yard. They were slightly bemused at first, watching me doing sets of burpees and triceps dips and woodchoppers and all manner of other things, but then they started joining in, too. We called it “Tabata di Casa”, and we laughed a lot, and they learned a lot, and it was fun.
An actual, real, soul-filled photo from my walk. Breathe in…breathe out…ahhhhhhh….
Then, on Thursday morning, I decided to take a walk — outdoors, in the glorious sunshine, no less — from my house down to the beach. Now, I’m beyond blessed to live where I do, but it felt like an absolute revelation to bung my runners on and my earphones in, and to take off towards the beautiful blue of the ocean and walk beside it, hearing the sound of the surf, feeling the sun shining on my face and the wind blowing through my hair. And, underneath it all, I could also feel my heart swelling and hear my soul singing.
They’re such simple pleasures, aren’t they? But they are precious, too.
So, from now on, I’m not going to force myself into tiny boxes any more. I’m not going to do things that don’t nourish my spirit or feed my soul. And, bizarrely enough, I’m not going to give up my gym membership either — because there are certain things I can’t control, and I know that I want to have the option of exercising whenever I want — even if it’s raining or blowing a gale.
What I am doing is choosing to change it up.
And that, my friends, feels good.