Facing downward, legs working left, right, left, right, left… Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Keep going, think about your foot skating across the floor. Neon light electrified the room in predictable patterns, blue, green, orange, red, “Turn it three FULL turns to the right!” I reached down and turned the knob, one (my wrist swiveled all the way around) two (again) three (again). Then the force of the weight and resistance hit my legs it was like trying to ride through quicksand. My legs were obedient and kept moving, but now the center of my core kicked in because it had to. The tension rose like fire through my entire body.
I looked through the big windows out into the hallway hoping to see Jimmy or Eddie – friendly faces to give me encouragement, but they were not there. I looked at the instructor and loud music filled my ears and then I looked back down, Keep moving find the rhythm match the beat. My mind began to wander a look for some refuge, You come from deeply competitive, sharply intellectual, hard-working people you can do this Jenn. That’s who you are. I looked up into the mirror and saw the muscles bulging on the sides of my legs, I felt my core tucked in and my whole body engaged. I made myself loosen my grip on the handlebars and put the energy back into my core and my legs. Shoulders down, my form was correct. Then the music changed…
“COME ON! Sing it!” She shouted with so much force and energy, her movements kept almost mechanical timing that her level of fitness afforded her and others like her. Sing it? I read that if you can sing you’re not working hard enough. My brain babbled back. Then something amazing happened. The whole right side of the room, men and women joined the chorus, “I WANT TO KNOW HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE RAIN!” Their voices thundered through the spin studio and I was awestruck by a feeling of pure joy. A smile spread across my face, and tears welled in my eyes at the generosity and love I felt this moment. When I let in the love the journey changed from a challenge to a celebration of life. I felt truly grateful and humbled to be with them.
I’m the kind of person who regards herself as an uphill kind of girl I seek out the challenge and lean into it and don’t doubt I can make it. I feel in control and strong and just keep moving. It’s when I reach the top that trouble begins. When things begin to speed up I feel afraid. Maybe this is my next lesson – maybe if I let in the joy and embrace the love the challenge will ebb and the celebration will begin. Maybe success is not only defined by struggle, maybe it can be something more. Could it be that others have always known this, and I am just realizing that now? This is what I’m thinking about, and I think it may be something important I have to learn.