Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Follow Your Bliss

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are -- if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time. - Joseph Campbell

A few weeks ago I joined a gym. Since then I have been going to spin class twice a week and I. Am. Hooked. 

There is no doubt in my mind - spinning is my bliss. This is why I love it:

I get to class a few minutes before it starts and join the group of people waiting to get into the room. The previous class lets out and the janitors enter with their mops and buckets to clean up the pools of sweat that have accumulated under the bikes. One of the great things about spinning - it makes you SWEAT.

We enter the room and start adjusting our bikes - seat, handlebars, etc. A good setup is important. If your bike is not set up properly, you will pay for it the next day. 

The teacher starts the music and a fast song with a heavy beat blares out from the stereo as we begin to peddle. 

"UUUUUUP," he yells. We rise from our seats in unison, bend over our handlebars and peddle to the beat. Left, right, left right; 22 bikers in perfect synchronization. In this moment, the day's stresses fall from my mind. For the next 60 minutes the only thing that matters is the ride.

A girl hurries into the room a few minutes late. She quickly adjusts her bike, grabs the handlebars and hops sideways onto the seat. "What a badass," I think. I know if I tried that move, I'd miss the seat and fall to the ground. 

By this time we have been riding for about 5 minutes. My heart is pumping, I can barely catch my breath, and sweat is oozing out of my pores. 


The music changes to a slower song; still loud, still a heavy beat. 


Next to me a short, Latina girl yells out, "HEAAAAAAAAAAAAVVVVVVVVVYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!" I call her La Sirena - The Siren. She mimics the teacher's instructions in a loud, echoing voice for the entire hour. At first it annoyed me, but now it makes me laugh, and when she misses a class, we all yell out echoed instructions in her place. 

We adjust the tension on our bikes and begin the slow climb. Legs shaking, muscles burning, we struggle for each turn of the peddles. Left, right, left, right; we shift from side to side in perfect, military formation. 

As the song tapers off, a new one starts - faster than the last one, and with a frantic, techno beat. It's time for sprints. 

To be fair, "sprint" may be the wrong word as these are not short burst of momentum, but rather long, unending, torturous stretches of speed. They maybe last 2 to 3 minutes, but at 120 or more rpm, it feels like a lifetime. Sprints are pure torture, but we all do them diligently.

Most teachers would give you a break after 4 rounds of sprints, but not this one. 


We rise shakily from our seats, panting and struggling to keep our momentum.


This position is a teaser. Standing in a crouched position, hovering inches over the seat, your instinct is to relax and sit. No can do, buddy. Fire up those glutes and hold your position! 


Pop-ups are my favorite part of class. We ride in standing position for four beats and then switch to a low standing position for four beats. Back and fourth, four beats up, four beats down; it is an obsessive compulsive's perfect workout. 

The class goes on with variations of these exercises for about 50 minutes. Then comes the final workout.


The song starts as people grab for their water bottles, wipe off their faces, and prepare to dig deep. It's one of those songs that is deceptively slow in the beginning, but after a few seconds, the beat starts to pick up.


We all scream, "YEAH!"



"IN 3..."

The beat gets faster.


The song gets a little bit louder.



The beat takes off and so do we. Spinning our legs as fast as we can, hearts pumping, blood pounding, we give it everything we have and then some. Faster and faster, we reach our top speeds and struggle to hold on to them.


The teacher's yelling gives us all a burst of energy and we pick up the pace, the motion of our legs blurring. 

Finally, mercifully, the song ends and we slow to a human pace once again.

After a brief cool down and some stretching, the teacher tells us to give ourselves a hand and we all clap and cheer. 

It's at this point that I grab my empty water bottle, my sweat-soaked towel, and my keys and slowly drag myself to the car. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's The New Me, Haters!

WARNING: This post may not be as joyful as it could be. OK it is an all together complaining rant where I am about to go on a rampage about judgemental critical people - Enjoy!

I realized a long time ago that even though you can try to teach people how to treat you, who you are, what you are about, and what you want, some people never change their minds about who THEY want you to be.

I want to be a new me. A new me who has a spirit filled with joy, love, and strength. A new me who is organized. I want to be the woman whose household has peace and order. I want to be the person who can sit with a clean mind and read a book. I want to be the mother who helps make memories and holds traditions together for her family. I want to be a woman of wisdom that others can see as a someone who is there to help lift them up when they are down. Those aren't bad things, are they? Then why would someone want to ignore THE FACT that I am slowly making changes and always always trying.

Is it not fast enough for them? Is it because I sometimes take two steps forward and one step back? Is because I am not perfect?

I see myself working towards these goals by slowly but steadily simplifying my life. The three major ways I am working on it are by saying no, decluttering, and financial freedom.

All three of those things take time. With the children that I have who grow like weeds, the decluttering is not that easy. There are obligations that take up my time that I have to fulfill until they are over or until they find someone to replace me, so that cannot be done immediately either. AND, as all we all know, financial freedom is a constant battle. I do admit that I could kick the decluttering up a few notches. But other wise I am doing as much as I can at one time. I have a purpose for all of my actions.

So why are some people so hard on me?

Why don't they see that there is a purpose for this journey?

I am going to grow into the version of myself that God has intended me to be. I am letting go of my past and enabling myself to move forward. I teach others who I am by what I do and how I treat them.

So what up wit it? Why they hatin' on me?

I can only think of one good reason. It's because they are not, they are not trying, not working towards anything better, not forgiving themselves.

They are hatin' because I am fighting a good fight. I have something they don’t have AND they don’t want ME to have it. Haters can't hate on me unless I am doing the right thing. If I were doing something wrong, they wouldn't need to make themselves feel better by making me feel worse. But it is when I am doing the right thing that I get attacked. When I am going the right direction, when I am saying the right things, that is when I get attacked. So handle business, go on and have the time of your life talking about me! It gives me joy knowing that I am doing the right thing.

You are probably wondering what I am going to do about it. The answer is NOTHING and some more nothing and a whole lot of nothing. I am not going to try and fight back or defend myself. I am going to stick to the plan, stay on my journey. I will not fight the haters because if I try to play their game, I will get distracted and I will start thinking about the haters not the plan. So I will let it go. It is not my job, to take on all the haters of the world, that’s God’s job.

In fact I am just going to get even nicer and really get them cooking when I don't respond to their efforts to start a battle with me. Your gonna have to learn to love it one day.

When you have a purpose you can focus without being distracted. A purpose is having a clear sense of what you are supposed to do. Your purpose is not defined by what others think about you.

Here is a little message to all of the haters. Haters can keep hatin' BECAUSE I have a purpose and plan. I will be a NEW me! I am on a journey! You can join me if you want or just sit back and be left in the dust.