I recently finished a workout program where the instructor encouraged moving with grace and joy. I’m not sure about you but those are 2 words that do not equate working out to me. The honest truth is I workout because I know it’s good for me. I desire to be healthy, strong and grow old gracefully and exercise is the just the task to accomplish that. A check mark on my to do list.
What do you do when your on task, deep in concentration? Purse your lips, frown or stick your tongue out (I’ve seen some of you)! Maybe you crinkle your forehead or hold your breath; which I do but don’t recommended while working out! *CAUTION* Don’t attempt this at home!
Most often I clench my teeth. 😐
Whether I’m honed in on my athletic form or in the midst of a stressful situation (or writing a blog post) you will find me jaw clamped down tight in focused concentration. I am my own graceless and joyless self-taskmaster.
At one point during my workout program it was explained the reason that form is so important is because some of our muscles are bullies. Say what? Yeah, quadriceps are bully muscles; they will automatically take over when your not in good form and subsequently the rest of your leg muscles lose out on getting stronger.
A shift in stance is counterintuitive because you will immediately feel those weak muscles, changing your focus will have you off balance even vulnerable to a fall…but I learned…this how to build strength. Shaky muscles! We don’t even know all the parts of us that are unsteady until we try to reposition.
We might feel weak and wobbly but a slight shift of stance can make us strong, if we choose to lean into it!
So when the instructor asked “are you smiling” right in the middle of that shoulder burn zone I had a choice. I could just respond with my norm, a roll of the eyes and a guttural protest or I could shift my stance, loosen my locked jaw and attempt smiling. I didn’t know what I was capable of until I tried. Neither do you.
Could I could choose joy in the midst of what was hard? Would I risk engaging wobbly muscles and brave being off balance to see its benefit? I did, it was a little uncomfortable but the results were worth it!
AND since I am a I’m a big picture thinker this got me pondering. Where else in my life do I need to make a slight shift in my stance? What other areas of “me” could benefit from a focus change?
I’m not sure if the brain is considered a muscle (I didn’t bother to inquire with Google) but I sure find mine can be a bully. Negative, fearful and indecisive thoughts are not the boss of me! So, I’ve been asking myself to smile, move with grace and choose joy in areas I’m inclined to overlook, even avoid because they are uncomfortable or make me feel weakness.
Maybe you didn’t even know anything was being overlooked until you read these rambling thoughts of mine…thanks for sticking with me thus far! I encourage you to lean into those avoidable areas and gain some mental, physical and spiritual strength by making some counterintuitive choices.
These are just a few thoughts I’ve been leaning into on my journey lately; maybe they will help you shift from shaky to strong, wobbly to wise or emoted to empowered.
What opinions could we unclench and share with more grace?
Where could fragile feelings be exhaled if we just smiled?
Whose ideas might unbalance us for a bit but broaden our perspective?
When could wobbly words (only introverts will understand that) shift into courageous conversions and improve my relationships or work place or the world around me?
I need to hear what you’re currently braving with grace, joy and a smile! 😊