Seeking free flow vibes

Oh no! It’s chin-up day. How can I practice this without dangling from the top bar on the rig? Can I do those alternate ones with the band placed horizontally? Or on the shorter rig. The one that I can reach easily? These are the types of thoughts that go through my head when there is something on the menu I don’t want to entertain. They can make my brain freeze, and sometimes, the best way to deal with them, is to avoid the offending item all together.

This is why I enjoy long distance running. The repetitive motion forces me to get out of my head in a meditative way. Much more effectively than a long shavasana, where my mind is likely to get busy. This is nice, but are we done yet?

Being this type of person is why I haven’t worked on my chin ups. I can’t get my head to stop thinking about dangling off the bar from a high place. I mean, I haven’t been back INSIDE the gym yet, and I probably won’t be any time soon, but even when I do, I’m not likely to run to the high bar on the rig. Which is a shame, because I am confident that I have the necessary upper body strength.

When I do let myself get out of my head for brief moments, it’s nice.

Whether it’s the start of a sprint during a park workout and I let my whole body move without worrying too much about form. Or, during jumping jacks or kettlebell swings, where I can feel the adrenaline rush. Those moments feel special. Luxurious. I’m not suggesting that people don’t employ good form, but if you do something often enough, you should naturally have the form down, so that you can let go and enjoy.

I was thinking about these things for this post. I figured it was a little ode to free(ing) movement. Free from inhibitions. Free from overthinking. Letting them spill out into other areas of our lives.

Then I read Bitch Media’s review of Alison Bechdel’s, “The Secret to Superhuman Strength“. I read this graphic novel a couple months ago and enjoyed it. Cate wrote about it here. While not quite as “sporty” as Bechdel, and though I discovered my love of fitness later in life, I can relate to her quest for a higher sense of herself through movement. Or, if nothing else, bliss that comes from turning off an anxious mind. There were two things that stood out to me from the Bitch review:

  1. “Khloé Kardashian has an E! show called Revenge Body whose entire premise revolves around people sticking it to their exes by losing weight and getting jacked.”
  2.  “Early in life, Bechdel discovers that she can blunt the utter awkwardness of being a human being through vigorous physical activity. She’s looking for the bliss that comes through forgetting yourself, a way to turn off the relentless grinding of an anxious mind.”

With respect to the first, I’m so glad I don’t have cable and I’m not tempted to watch crap like that.

With respect to the second, this is me, in a nutshell. Some parts of exercise are hard. But there are lots of moments that feel good, that are fun, and more importantly, result in that bliss that comes from forgetting yourself, from turning of the relentless grinding of an anxious mind.

And, then I thought, because I’ve been feeling typical feelings of annoyance and frustration with myself, about my career (and ruminating over school choices)….what if instead of distracting myself through exercise, I channelled some of that sweat equity into more meaningful endeavours through work? What if I tried to find artistic and cerebral activities that provided the same hard work, and way to turn of the relentless grinding of an anxious mind? What effect would that have on my hampster in a wheel feelings of making some ground with new experiences, and then hitting the same barriers (external and internal) over and over? What would happen then? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but it is something I am thinking about. I’ll let you know if I figure out a way to jump off the wheel. If this rambling paragraph makes any sense to you, and you have any wisdom to share, please do!

In the meantime, I will keep moving through it. Seeking those blissful moments.
This sweaty glow is courtesy of a hot Sunday morning in Toronto, but also, from letting go and enjoying my morning run.

A collage of photos from a jog in Toronto. Top left is the view from Church St. looking West on Adelaide towards the financial district. The pink coloured Scotia Plaza is prominent. Top right is the flatiron building at Church and Front/Wellington. Bottom right is the entrance to the Distillery District from Parliament St. with the heart display in the centre. Bottom right is Nicole with blue cap and black tank top, sweaty from a hot but happy run.
Nicole P. is in a “slow and steady” season, both with exercise, work and play.

2 thoughts on “Seeking free flow vibes

  1. Nicole, provocative post. After pondering, my thought on this is–yes, I use exercise to “distract” myself from stress, but also to “reset”, so that I can focus my mental and creative sweat equity better for the rest of the day. The mindbody freedom of the movement is what enables me to tackle other stuff with less distraction throughout the day. And, now I’m rooting for you to do chin-ups!

    1. I agree re the reset part. I am finding it harder than usual to stay focussed (not that I was every great at being super focussed for long periods of time). Not sure if it’s my changing hormones or just life. Anyway, re chin-ups – Eek! I may need to get a trainer to help me work on that before my big 5-0 next year 🙂

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