Last Friday I went to a cycling class with my friend D. I had never been to this particular facility before, and the owner had invited me to see if I would be interested in teaching there. The place was beautiful and has a reputation for totally bumpin' music, so I was excited to check it out. I showed up in my cute outfit, rented the cycling shoes, and hopped on bike #31.
Now, before I even clicked in, I was carrying some worry. I had been nursing a shoulder injury for three weeks, and I knew that riding out of the saddle could be a problem if I was careless. But I had already rescheduled once, and I decided I had to show up. I had also started a nine-day cleanse that day, and was afraid that the shake I'd eaten for breakfast wasn't going to be enough to get me through the class and my next sculpt class I had to teach. But, as my friend T had graciously reminded me the day before, we store so much energy in our bodies, and it would be good to shake it up again, tap into my reserve, and shake things up a bit.
So there I was. Clicked in, ready to ride. I looked around at the 59 (yes 59!) other people waiting for class to start, already vigorously pedaling with grim, determined visages even though the instructor hadn't even entered the room yet. I pedaled idly while chatting with D and examining my sparkly engagement ring in the dim candlelit studio, and waited. Wanted to go easy on the shoulder, and I was cleansing. Take it easy, E.
Well, then class began, and it became apparent pretty early on that there was no taking it easy. After all, I was the one who was INVITED here, I had to represent, I had to do well. About halfway through class, we were on a 3-minute sprint, and I burst into tears in the middle of either "Run This Town" or "Empire State of Mind," I can't remember which. I was exhausted. I was drenched. I was f#cking HOT, I was agitated, I was worried about my shoulder, and I wanted OUT OF THERE. But there was no way I was quitting. I was so mad that I was mad, I cried more. I started saying things to myself. Talking to myself how I talk to my students. "FIND MORE," I said. "FIND MORE." And I did. We recovered from the sprint, and for a split second, I felt pretty damn good.
Within 15 minutes I was crying again. I'm pretty sure I audibly sobbed at one point. Thank God for loud music (I loved that they passed earplugs out at the front desk, BTW). This time, as I cried, I tried to figure out if it was because I HATED that ride or LOVED it. Was it torture or a breakthrough? I still don't know, but you bet your ass I'm going back.
To be clear, I hadn't cried from pain. If my shoulder were exploding, I would have clicked out and navigated my way through the sweaty sea of Tribeca moms to the safe haven of the locker room. The fear I felt about it was much more potent than the actual physical pain. And the next day, my shoulder was pain free for the first time in weeks. Coincidence? I don't know. But I think not.
After class, D and I went for a coffee (me: tea. Cleansing!) and she said to me, "I totally cried." I think I jumped up and down with glee just knowing that I wasn't the only one! I think when we are being pushed to be better, we get defensive. We show resistance. And then comes the inevitable point when you either have to quit or break on through to the other side. As a student of intenSati, I have experienced this so many times. Forcing myself to stand in the front row of Patricia's class in front of my students so I can't slack off, and then regretting it when I start to cry halfway through the upper body series because I really, really feel like I might pass out if I don't take a break.
Taking that class last Friday was a beautiful reminder to me. A reminder that as a teacher, I am responsible for facilitating your breakthroughs. So if we're in class and you hear me say "FIND MORE," and you want to stab me in the eye and burst into tears, you are in exactly the right place. Just remember that I am there to help you find your strength, your stored up energy, your potential.
So let's ride!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I have a confession to make. I have a favorite excuse. Are you ready for this one? Here we go: I am old. I am too old. I say it at least once a day. I say it more when I'm surrounded by beautiful young people or people who bring out my insecurity. Or when my body is tight or in pain (which is often, as I teach 11 classes a week!)
But I digress. I also had the great honor of working with the beautiful, sweet young women who played her singer/dancers. While there was no actual dancing in the commercial, two of the girls have danced with Beyonce before, and often. They are smokin' hot, and they are twelve years younger than me.
If I may backtrack for a second, I have always wanted to dance with a recording artist on tour. When I was growing up it was Janet Jackson. I wanted to be a Janet dancer so badly. Then it was Madonna, then Britney, Justin Timberlake, you know the deal. I used to tape every episode of "In Living Color" on the VHS and learn every Fly Girl routine. I was obsessed. And here I was, chillin' in the dressing room last Thursday with the girls, one of whom was one of Beyonce's beauties from the epic "Single Ladies" video, and she told me she started working with Beyonce at the age of 17.
When I first heard this, I felt deflated. Like I had missed my window. BUT then I think about Tina Landon, Janet Jackson's longtime choreographer, who recently performed in the 2009 VMAs at the age of 44, and Dara Torres, who won the three silver medals for swimming at the 2008 Olympics, at the age of 41. I will be 34 in a few weeks, so hey, I'm not doing so bad! All I can do is take expert care of my self, remember what I want, and GO FOR IT. And oh yeah, banish those thoughts about being the resident grandma on every gig I book. Because, as I can see from an objective glance at this photo from the shoot, it's ALL in my head.
Yesterday I had a photo shoot for new headshots, and for some reason the makeup girl hardly put any make up on my face. I was an insecure mess the whole time because I was thinking about my laugh lines, my crinkly eyes, and on and on and on. Screaming on the inside that I needed concealer. Feeling OLD and exposed with no Beyonce glam team to make it all better. I let my discomfort with my age ruin my experience. I wanted to crawl out of there. The voices were taunting me... "you should be knitting or something. Who are you kidding? You're almost too old to be 'young mom!' "Then I came home and compared the new, unretouched photos with some old headshots of mine. And I thought hey girl, not so bad! The pic on the left is from early 2005 (don't you love the blonde? Ew.), the pic in the center from early 2007 (a bit vampire-ish with the skin color, eh?), and the one on the right is from yesterday. It's a LOT better than I thought. I am aging gracefully. And I'm worth it (hee hee couldn't resist).
So here's my question to you: Where do you limit yourself? Where in your life do you make up stories so you don't have to take a risk? How do your words of self doubt justify your actions? How often do you let negative thoughts sabotage your joy? How long are you going to let that happen?
If I were to have a session with my life coach today, she would prescribe a new promise for me to keep. So, here it is, Jo! As of today, I am no longer allowing myself to say ANYTHING about being old. It takes away my power. It makes me feel SO much older than I am. So if you're reading this, and you ever hear me say it, I invite you to call me out in public and I will drop and give you 10 push ups. The push ups are a consequence. Something annoying that I don't like to do, so I will avoid breaking the promise. I especially don't want to do push ups right now because I am nursing a shoulder injury. So, needless to say, my lips are sealed. (By the way, if you are interested in working with a coach, I recommend The Handel Group any day of the week and twice on Sunday. They have helped me change my life).
It's a beautiful day today. I'm going to apply sunscreen and head out for a walk, and enjoy the body I'm in. I hope you do the same, and I'll see you in the studio!