I have just taken up an exercise class called “Jazzercise”. If you know anything about “Jazzercise” then you know it can be incredibly challenging, depending on the instructor you gravitate towards. Even for a former professional dancer, I find myself very challenged in this class, especially the classes taught by Marla. Marla is not just any ordinary instructor, she is a super human, with the kind of body you’d die for, and her energy is beyond what I have ever mustered up on my best day. Her class is by far the toughest that I have encountered, and that’s precisely the reason that I take it.
In a recent class, I was observing the different levels of physical conditions of all the participants and, for the most part, in the 40 or so attendees, I do a pretty good job of keeping up, given my lifetime of dance lessons. Now I don‘t say that to toot my own horn, I am saying it to make a point…why on earth would anyone put themselves through Marla’s class? The level of stress on the body is tremendous, not to mention trying to grasp all of the intricate steps and rhythms. But here these women are, day in and day out, lining up at the door to experience her particular class. All ages, all body types, all levels of conditioning.
What this drives home for me is that as human beings, at the baseline level, we must want to be pushed. It must be a part of our makeup. Not just the desire to survive, but the desire to thrive!! We were meant to excel. Sometimes we resist that because it usually means we have to be willing to change. Change a pattern, change a thought process, change a way of taking action that we’re used to, or change a way of communicating that we are comfortable with.
How does this show up in the world? Well, many people have gotten so good at the resistance part that they’ve slipped into a routine of staying in their comfort zone. We continue to do what we’ve always done, and always known, even if it doesn’t work. Since we’re really meant to be extraordinary, this disempowering pattern creates a lot of stress, depression, and frustration.
The remedy is simple, not easy. It requires implementing a routine of risk taking…doing the things that scare you, doing the things your heart screams out for you to do, and doing something every day. Just like working out on a regular basis has you build up a new set of muscles, so does this routine. And before you know it, you’ll be living the life of your dreams, feeling strong and fulfilled, and loving your life because you’ll be satisfying that baseline desire to thrive. I have figured out that life is not about reaching some final destination, but that the way we handle every day of the journey makes all the difference.
Now back to my “Jazzercise” class. Marla’s counting.