It was the middle of a busy work week, and I was overdue for a workout. But I was tired, not feeling my best, battling spring allergies, and doubtful that I’d get much out of any workout.
I nevertheless donned my COVID mask and (begrudgingly) headed down to our apartment building’s gym that evening. We are very lucky to have a Peloton Tread+ in our gym (safety issues notwithstanding), so I decided to do a guided treadmill workout.
I chose a previously recorded workout led by Jess King because I love her free spirit and wanted a counterpoint to my super packed, left brain-dominant day.
During the workout, Jess prompted viewers to do some visualizations. One of the prompts was to visualize what I was running away from (bad experiences of the week, tough moments of the day).
The next prompt was to visualize what I was running toward. I immediately started picturing an idyllic future with a home on rocky seaside cliffs, a perfect job and home life, and not a worry in the world about money or status or anything like that. Have you ever done that? Found yourself wishing for some fantasy?
Well, a sudden and sharp objection popped into my head demanding:
Why are you running to some imagined future instead of running toward your PRESENT?
Boy, was that a heavy aha! moment for me. I often hear great advice like, live in the present and be in the moment. When I hear it, I nod my head and fervently agree. But this was the first time in my life I’d apparently internalized that advice, and I awoke to my deep cognitive dissonance around appreciating my present versus longing for some “better” abstract future.
So I started thinking about what I loved about my present and started running toward it. An amazing life partner, a very cute and bossy senior dog, a funny and resilient family, incredible friends from all walks of life, good health, and…
And suddenly I was on a roll (and running super fast, by the way) and couldn’t stop listing off what I loved about my life today, now, in the present. It totally lit me up (and the endorphins from running certainly helped)!
My life certainly isn’t perfect—nothing ever is—but I have so much to love, and for the first time, I understood this on a visceral level that I’d not previously been able to access. Jess may not have known it, but she activated this experience of intense and transcendent awareness in me.
And I was totally inspired.
So I brought this epiphany and energy to my family, and I shared it with my friends—and now I bring it to you in the hopes it will inspire you to RUN TO YOUR PRESENT.
Originally posted on www.callmemapo.com.
IMPACT. Don’t underestimate the powerful impact you can have on those around you, just by being yourself. (Look what Jess did for me with just a few words via a recorded workout!)
TODAY. Love your present. And if that’s too abstract or too “big” to actualize, start by taking 15-20 seconds to note what you’re grateful for in your life today. Say it out loud or write it down to make the experience more tangible.
ACTION. Even if you don’t think you can give 100% in a workout, just give it your best shot and do what you can. Exercise is good for your body, mind, and soul, and the endorphins help. And a “workout” doesn’t need to be a 2-hour intense iron pumping session; it can mean going for a walk or whatever is right for you. Fitting and true cliches here: Something is better than nothing; don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
LEARNING. Always be learning. You may find yourself re-learning lessons you thought you’d mastered because you’ve had new experiences, developed or been exposed to new perspectives, or resolved an unconscious blocker (like cognitive dissonance).
OPENNESS. Be open and receptive to inspiration. You never know when it will come or where/who it will come from!