I don’t like to exercise. I never have.
Even when I was a young athlete and exercised everyday on my own I never liked exercise. Even when I started teaching others how to exercise and get started with a program when I became a certified personal trainer at 18 I still didn’t like exercise.
I think exercise is boring- to just go to a class and move around from station to station or hop on a treadmill and set it at steady speed and zone out and watch the news is boring in my opinion.
I have never liked exercise, but I have always LOVED practice and training.
I fell in love with practice at a young age. I remember sitting at my desk in middle school counting down the hours and minutes until I could get up from the desk and head to the lacrosse field for practice. I never minded running laps or even the dreadful ground ball drill. I savored the moments of practice. It was a time to explore my potential, to be with friends, and observe myself improving and progressing; closing the gap between who I was and who I wanted to be and what I wanted to accomplish.
Practice has always had my heart.
To be honest I don’t even know how to exercise. Exercise feels mechanical. It feels like writing a passage over and over again until you zone out and don’t even know what was written. It feels like algebra when I prefer poetry.
I only know how to train, practice, and work towards a goal. It keeps me hungry. It lights me up inside, and illuminates this worldly experience. There is something primal yet simultaneously soulful about having a goal and watching all the trillion of cells within your body wrap themselves around an idea until it seems to happen almost effortlessly.
There is great satisfaction to have something that calls you out of bed in the morning to put forth energy, sweat, and perseverance even though you’re not getting paid for it and no one will ever hand you a door prize for showing up. It’s holding yourself accountable, because that goal is meaningful to you and no one else.
It’s amazing to watch yourself transform day by day, practice after practice. It’s a thrill, a natural high to be able to do something you thought was not possible; meant for others but not you. When you finally accomplish it or just even a glitter of hope peaks through the cloud of despair you experience a joy that seems to rise up from deep within and gratitude flows forth. You become more like the ones you’ve admired for so long as the needle on the dial of your skillset begins to waver and move. But, you don’t just become more like them, you become more you.
Your body and mind literally molds itself to the practice. It’s like all the stars in the cosmos shift and align themselves to light and guide your path. The tumultuous waters of the oceans become still as a lake as the mind quiets down and learns to concentrate and focus on the task at hand. But, the fire within your heart keeps burning with a steady flame as your daily practice tosses logs on the fire to keep you burning and yearning for something far greater.
You will learn more about yourself in a movement practice than you will from reading hundreds of books, because knowledge alone will never be able to compete with personal experience. Personal experience creates belief in what you are doing, the theory, and most importantly yourself.
Practices come into your life when you need them. There have been times that I needed to know how to be agile, how to run far, how to run fast, how to be strong, how to look fit, how to be flexible, how to be mobile, how to be resilient, how to be graceful, and how to remember God in every breath.
I believe practice carries you through life. It’s there for you when things are going great and when life throws obstacles on your path. When so many things in life are out of control it’s reassuring to know we can control whether or not we practice and give ourselves time to remember that control is just an aspect of the ego anyway. To surrender, flow, love, and discern what is meant for you and what is not requires more acuity and agility than simply holding on to what we have been conditioned to believe we are and should do with tightly clenched fists and brute strength.
I have never liked exercised and I hope I never learn how to do it, because movement without heart and wisdom is like being a machine. I am not a machine. I am human and therefore I practice.