It seems like all my epiphanies happen in the gym these days. I suspect it’s because my mind is occupied with self-preservation, rather than the ideas proposed by my informal thought committees whose break out sessions are dedicated mostly to: self-doubt, self-sabotage or self-criticism. They must take a break when I’m fighting for my next breath and or wiping salty sweat out of my eyes so I can see long enough not to trip or fall face down onto the floor.
This morning after a particularly tortuous Tuesday of punishment and too many grueling minutes of spin, the gorgeous teacher or should I call her dominatrix, said “sit up straight like nothing happened”. I was swallowed up by her words, “like nothing happened”? In her version of this suggestion we should not pay any attention to the fact that we had just given the last ounce of energy left in our bodies to twirl our legs so fast they might unscrew off our hips and were completely and utterly out of breath. We should instead bring ourselves back to center breath into the new space of resilience where our bodies know how to recover and to allow that to happen. Open up the channel of the lungs by holding our spines erect to allow that to happen and by the way get ready for the next torture set.
As epiphanies often reveal themselves, a little side bar unfurled next to me. Three women who are usually thicker than thieves, fit enough to be extras in a work out video, were having a verbal knock down drag out fight. One of them stormed out and the other two were desperately trying to get the gorgeous teacher to buy into their frenzy.
It was in that moment I wished I had the neuralyzer memory-erasing gadget from Men in Black. In one fell swoop I could erase the memory of the past few minutes of physical torture as well as the emotional torture which was taking place next to me. Was the neuralyzer necessary or could we all sit up straight like nothing happened?
I was struck by how this simple idea could save the planet. Sit up straight like nothing had happened. It could have easily fit the current situation of breathing through a tough workout, shifting a conflict in a Group X class or change the course of a global conflict.
The good news and bad news of being a conscious being is that we have the ability to think, combine thoughts, process data and make up stories and take action. What doesn’t serve us are the stories that we create and then hold onto them like they are AESOPs fables to be told over and over and over again, creating our own moral of the story and then rehearsing it ad nauseam.
A friend recently got some news that the terms of her lease on her shop were about to change. Her reaction was a very common one. She was angry, resentful, scared reenacted the tale several more times and then began figuring out how to get back at the person or thing causing her the angst.
None of her reaction will make the situation any different or her pain less real if she does not wish it to be so, especially retelling the tale. The reason she will hold onto the pain is she will hold onto the thoughts of the events and hit that replay button again and again or just leave it on auto pilot. What would happen is she just neuralyzed the story?
The question is how do we take back the controls? Forgiveness many will say is a great medicine for this. Many times I have found myself either in a forgiveness workshop, read a book about it or just tried to engage it. It is challenging for me and I suspect others when I am still telling the tale of what happened to cause the resentment in the first place.
Could it be that something as simple as sit up straight like nothing happened could be the solution? It certainly gave me pause this morning as I found myself breathing easier after the words of instruction AND do not have any memory of the fatigue which preceded it this morning.
What a gift from the universe this was in the early morning work out moments. The gift that we all have our own neuralyzer. When something pushes your button today or this week, sit up straight like nothing happened. Stay focused on what happens next. You might find that nothing actually did happen (except in your mind) and your mind is more powerful than anything to create the next experience.
Oh yeah if you find your inner critic reminding you that it did really happen, you might need a Man in Black.