Do you remember The Facebook Experiment?
Recap: last year I gave up FB for Lent, or the Greater Good, or in the interest of restraint, or whatever you believe. I stepped back from what everyone else was doing or talking about doing and just got busy living my own life. I didn't even post blog updates to my personal FB (this was before I had a fan page where I could separate MAJ life from Elephant life.) Then I came back after several weeks and reconnected with everyone.
It was really nice.
I am saying this in advance: I will do it again this year. I'm getting to the point where I'm feeling over-connected, over-exposed, and - well - a bit frazzled.
So, now that you're warned. :-)
Today was just about the perfect day in MAJ's world. This morning I rode an amazing 40-something miles, including covering the course of the crit I'll probably do Sunday, at the highest pace I've maintained yet in a group (at least for 28 of it), then came home and worked on grades. I even got most of my grades DONE. Then, when my brain got full of grades, I went to hot yoga. Nothing like 90 minutes of ass-kicking strength/stretch work in a 90-degree room.
While lying in shivasana, I found myself praying that I could bring that sense of peace to my work day, to my exam for my students tomorrow night, to my relationship. And I also realized something really super excellent: I have finally gotten to the point of my life where fitness has become such a habit, like breathing or showering or brushing my teeth - such a routine - that I crave it and look forward to it. I look forward to the challenege, the pain, the sweat, or just the feeling of the wind on my face. Sometimes I'm tired and I take a rest day, or just go easy.
But I never, ever find myself going oh, God, I don't want to work out today.
It's more like, let me do whatever I can, because it will make me feel better.
I also realized this: the reason I love to swim, bike, om, and run - and it's the same reason I don't do zumba, or step class, or the ellpitical, or boot camp, or body pump, or even the acclaimed CrossFit - they just don't put me in touch with something else in the universe the way yoga practice or being outdoors always does. I've done variations of them all, but none of them help me feel connected to something greater than myself.
Swimming does - it's the sound of the splash, the briskness of the water when it's cool, the liquid bathing me. Running does - it's the rustle in leaves, the feeling of my arms moving and feet soundly contacting with the ground. Riding does - it's the woosh of the air going by me, that harmonious hum of tires on pavement, the feeling of my cleats sliding firmly into my pedals. And yoga? Sometimes yoga even forces me to dig down deep - or even get outside of myself, of the clanging constantly going on in my head - and face my not-so-pretty parts.
Good days, bad days - it doesn't matter. These all make me feel alive and energized and happy, and I feel more completely like myself than in many other places in my life. I couldn't ever JUST run, JUST ride, or JUST swim, or JUST practice yoga. I love them all.
It is no longer about how many pounds I can lose or sizes I can drop. It isn't about how my biceps look, and sometimes it isn't even about the times I post. I've almost reduced my attachment to that, too. Yep, I still have goals I want to make, but I know if I just keep working, I'll reach them. (Example: I did that first road race weeks ago and I didn't even look at the results until today.) Sure, I have days where I hate photos of myself, or just feel chunky. But now, I don't worry about those things as much as I worry about getting strong - and stronger - and feeling myself open up and connect to the people, places, and just the world in general that my favorite sports help me reach.
I know some people still look at me and think, there's no way she works out as much as she does. Or: she must not be eating right. I no longer mind being the person people underestimate. Not everyone has to get it, or agree with me, because I respect whatever makes them feel whole, too. I'm just going to keep doing what I love. Keep swimming, keep cycling, keep running, keep practicing yoga when I can, and keep trying to be as nice as I can be to people around me. And anyone who doesn't like it can kiss my asana.