Sticky Notes

May 1, 2012
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Photo by Roger McKeever

Sticky Notes
 -Roger McKeever

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!