When I first started my commitment to daily exercise, people often asked me what I was training for.
A marathon? A competition?
My answer was and remains simple:
I train for life.
Everything I do in the gym is training for something.
It’s nervous system reeducation. Resilience training. Conditioning for my every day activities.
Beyond the physical process and benefits of my workouts, my training in the gym is also a mirror in which I can see the patterns that are playing out in my life.
My training provides me with the metaphors that help me see the patterns playing out in my life through a new lens. Often this is where I find the solutions I need.
A recent example is jumping rope.
I often feel the need to provide a disclaimer: the fact that I exercise daily, practice and teach yoga, and have been an amateur flying trapeze artist for almost 20 years does not mean I’m coordinated.
Challenges with physical coordination is one of the lesser known symptoms of ADHD, and it’s been an issue for me since I took my first steps.
Jumping rope is hard. It requires a lot of coordination.
And so when I’m jumping rope in the gym, it isn’t just about jumping rope.
Life is always in motion. We are always in motion.
What happens when you trip?
How many times can I stumble and trip over myself before I lose my shit and quit in frustration?
How many times can I pick myself up and take a deep breath and start again?
When I do stumble, can I reset without the sigh of exasperation and the rolled eyes and the active bitch face that are the tells of my annoyance?
When I jump rope I’m not just strengthening my leg muscles and my shoulders and my cardio capacity.
It’s also training my capacity for frustration tolerance. I’m expanding my window of tolerance to endure more setbacks before I throw in the towel in frustration.
Each time I trip over my own feet and the rope, I remind myself:
This is my meditation.
In fact, this teaches me more than any silent seated meditation does.
This is life.
This has been the metaphor for my life and business.
Each time I seem to get traction and momentum, I trip over something. I stumble. I may not completely fall down, but it’s a setback.
To say it has been frustrating doesn’t do it justice.
This is what I train for.
This is the practice. Accept the momentary defeat with humility, then take a deep breath, reset, and restart.
This is the training. This is the work.
In the gym and out of the gym.