Being physically fit was a constant through my life, even during times when I was heavier than normal or not taking care of myself. Getting to the gym and taking morning runs were totally ingrained into my daily routine. I didn’t care if I felt crappy walking into the gym, I’d just pummeled through a workout anyway. That strenuous lifestyle eventually fell away as I began my journey through chronic illness.
Walking the dogs on the trails remained a constant, not so much as exercise (because my mindset was that walking was a mode of transportation, not exercise), but as fulfilling on an agreement with my dogs that they enjoy this daily pleasure. When I was at my sickest these walks became somewhat sporadic, but they served to keep my joints moving and my blood flowing. Observing the dogs, as they delighted in this ritual, taught me the pleasure of living in the moment. And there were other benefits like sweating to flush my system as I labored up small slopes, and the dispelling of stagnant energy as I enjoyed the outdoors.
By the time I was well I had no interest in the routine activities that kept me fit. The motivating fuel of always needing to prove myself had dissipated when I realized my true Self, and so it was incredibly strange to want to get back into shape physically but have absolutely no drive or motivation to fall back on.
And so physical fitness and physical shape deteriorated as I contemplated this anomaly in my life…for a long time. But I had my baseline of walks which supported the stagnation – “at least I am doing something” I told myself…and I kept contemplating.
Context! It finally dawned on me that what was missing was a new context for the activities that would restore physical fitness. One of my realizations through illness was that the entire illness experience had not been about the illness, it had been about true healing, to become knowingly aware of the consciousness we are, and that tending to my body with protocols was part of that awakening process. So I took that realization and applied it to exercise. What if I didn’t make getting physically fit about the activities? What if I allowed exercise to be an opportunity for mindful discovery of how I relate to my body, express with my body, move my body? What might be revealed along the way? What might I discover? What will the experience be like? What will I let go of and what will I newly embrace?
The answer to all those questions is “I don’t know”.
Today I joined a gym…and so with great anticipation, I step into this unknown.