Okay, so by now all of us can agree that we have learned that it is indeed possible to adapt to ANYTHING. All of us have modified the way we live and operate in quite radical ways, and we have experienced that the Chinese philosopher, Sun Tzu, was right when he stated ages ago in his book, “The Art of War” that:
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”
And although Edcon, Comair, Media24 and many more companies have not survived lockdown, not all business can freeze in the face of fear. So many people I know have used the technology and means at their disposal to weather the storm, so finding new ways to sustain themselves in these uncertain times. Doempie and Diana have started a sushi-business called Cherry Blossoms, so I`m sure they will soon offer mammograms as well…☺, while Elsie and many others are providing face masks for thousands.
We have also all heard and read and experienced during these past few months that, as our individual worlds suddenly shrunk, how everyone has established a renewed appreciation for the simple things in life… As Dr Balu Pitchiah, a Psychiatrist from the UK describes it:
“It`s sad that an invisible virus has forced humankind to stop rushing from place to place and to look deeper into themselves. It has taken a global pandemic to make us really see joy in the little things, but perhaps it`s time to define what “simple” really means.
Maybe you have discovered that colouring in with your toddler has made for vital and enjoyable bonding time. Maybe you have found immense satisfaction in doing the Sudoku-puzzle in the daily newspaper, or maybe sharing a funny meme with your sisters have made you smile in a way you didn`t before. Maybe walking the dog used to seem like a chore, and now, like the weekly trip to Checkers, you actually look forward to it. And maybe you`ll agree that with the number of Covid-19 patients growing rapidly, even in our own town, waking up and feeling healthy has become the greatest gift. For all of us.
…Last week the headline of an article in the online UK “You”-magazine, written by Daisy Goodwin, caught my eye: “What really matters when your world shrinks: How the littlest things suddenly meant everything again.” She describes how growing a small tomato plant from a seed made her smile like an Oscar winner. I thought to myself, ‘when was the last time I felt like an Oscar winner…?’
Then it happened, so totally unexpected, Saturday morning in the studio. See, I invited one of my instructors, Edrei, to join me for a Zoom class for the first time since lockdown has started. A few weeks ago, I sent her the link to the choreography of our Cardio Fun class via OneDrive and she prepared for the class on her own. I picked her up, and in our matching outfits, in our beautiful studio, we were psyched up to present and record the class together.
It was unbelievable. The moment we started to move together to the beat of the music, there was this sense of connection and emotional high. I just realized – for so many years I have enjoyed teaching group fitness classes, but I had totally taken that sense of being in the physical presence of others, sharing a workout experience together, for granted.
In his book “Powers of two”, Joshua Wolf Shenk argues that the chemistry of creative pairs forms the primary basis of innovation. He makes the case that creativity is most commonly the result of two, or more, people interacting in complimentary collaboration and mutual inspiration.
…See, everyone has their “thing”. That thing that makes them come alive, makes them smile wider and makes their heart sing. Mine is group fitness. I have forgotten how sacred and inspiring in-person fitness get-togethers is and how the energy of the group keeps you happy every step of the way.
Two are indeed better than one, three are even better, and my sister Delien has proved that four are even more fantastic when she welcomed cute Rose, a five-month old Persian into her cat family last week. I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone say “I’m my own best friend” or “I just want to marry myself”. Even God agrees that “Two are better than one”, according to Ecclesiastes 4:9.
…For now, I am more than thankful for and incredibly content with the energy and commitment of my Zoom members. Watching their names pop up in the Zoom waiting room, seeing their welcoming smiles and friendly, flushed faces after class is incredible. We are locked, but indeed not down! It has been a wonderful six weeks accompanying them on their fitness journey, I have loved hearing their “why’s” for wanting to get into exercise and it has been amazing pushing them to reach their goals.
There has also been quite a few laugh-at-myself moments – how I phrased a part of the cueing, the fact that I just fell out of the plank I had asked my members to hold and hitting myself in the shin with a dumbbell. The list goes on, but above all, I have realized again how amazing it is to be part of a team…
When you`re part of a team, you develop deeper relationships with people, you have a better sense of purpose, you don`t feel alone, you dream and collaborate together, you wins are bigger and your losses are easier to handle, and, you achieve more.
With Edrei next to me Saturday morning I had this overwhelming sense of fulfilment and, at the same time, incredible longing for my tribe. I would give anything to experience the vibrant atmosphere of a live class in the studio again. With laughter and cheers and sweat. Where everyone feels free to be themselves. Where they let go of their fears about looking stupid or fat or ridiculous. Where they feel able to try without fear of failure, knowing that no one would laugh at them or judge them.
On this 12th day of July 2020, I pledge that we WILL be back. Even if we are losing a lot to Corona, one thing I know. We WILL win the war. Things WILL be right again. We WILL overcome.
I promise to keep looking after my Zoom members, but once we are allowed to open our doors again, I promise not to take anything in our studio for granted. Especially not the people. And I promise to make eye contact, read body language, encourage and smile, more than ever before.
At Mirna`s Aerobic studio, there will once again be a renewed feeling of leaving the world behind and stepping into a new world of opportunity, where anything feels possible. A safe haven, where we`ll look out for each other, are invested in each other`s achievements, where we encourage each other and challenge each other to venture out of our comfort zones to go further.
As Ufuoma Apoki says: “We all have flaws, no matter how hard we try to tame sometimes still eludes us. If you give me your flaw, I’ll handle it flawlessly, and I mine, you’d do the same. That’s when two is better than one, else, we’ll have two aggravated untamed flaws.”
So no, no one indeed gets fridge magnets for travel this winter, because this season we have gone further. And there may not be souvenirs or postcards for all the trips we have made inward, but we have learned the meaning of the word “simple”. I know I have.
And when simple is more than enough, you feel happy, more than enough.
Yours in fitness
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