I joined the gym when I moved to Portland. This feels a little like I’m making a confession. I haven't belonged to a gym since I was 20 years old working as a proofreader for a pharmaceutical company wearing a suit and tie to work 5 days a week. I actually liked my job. I made my way up the ranks a little before I was fired. I wasn't fired because of incompetency. I was quite good at what I did. On the contrary, I was fired because I was too happy. Seriously. I decorated my cubicle with bright colors, plants and pictures. I smiled at everyone. One day, on my 15 minute scheduled break, I drew happy faces onto sticky notes and posted them all over the building-- on the door handles, the wall above the urinals, next to cubicle name tags, on the coffeepot, etc.. I used the copier to make photocopy art. I wrote poetry about corporate blandness.
I was fired via the telephone on a Friday evening. The woman was sweet about it, and I wished her a good life. I think she liked me despite her corporate need to squelch the life out of people. I got off the phone and literally started laughing. I packed my bags and tossed them into my smoke gray '83 Chevy Chevette (diesel), and the very next day I hit the road for a 2 week road trip.
My gym membership expired.
Not long after that I went to a yoga class, which was, in a good way, a little like getting run over by a train. My eyes opened. My brain fell out of my head. The teacher was using words I'd never heard before. It felt exotic. I didn't walk out of that class, I floated! Yes, a lot of you recognize that feeling, right?
So, almost 20 years later, I find myself walking through the doors into a room of sweaty, buff men and women. I've been going 4 - 5 days a week, and I'm loving it. I'm using the tools of yoga to dance with the weights. I stand in tadasana with a lifted chest as I do arm curls. I do handstand in between sets. As I run on the treadmill I practice ujjai pranayama to keep a calm, focused energy. I still smile at people. One day I might even bring a sticky-pad to the gym with me!
Across the back of the gym there’s a big sign that reads: You have what it takes. I see that every time I go to the gym, and it reminds me of the untapped potential that lies dormant, just waiting. Oftentimes I add on to it: You have what it takes to be successful, to be happy, to be fulfilled, to laugh about life's ups and downs.
So, the next time you're stuck, in a blue funk, or a self-limiting belief takes the wheel remember: You have what it takes!