When I was a child, I often used to wonder about the miracle of Lazarus rising from death…Jesus called him from the grave where his (presumably) dead body had been prepared for eternal rest. You know the story. Lazarus heard Jesus and came out of the cave looking none the worse for wear but probably quite hungry!
A miracle – have you ever experienced one? Something that brought you back, got you unstuck, made you alive again. Psychiatrists call it a Lazarus key – a catalyst miracle, that moment in time when you felt your world pivot and transform itself. Come on, think about the Lazarus keys in your life – there must be something. Maybe it was that moment when you finally reached the top of a mountain, completed a huge project or crossed the finish-line of a tough race. Or maybe it was simply touching the paw of your new kitten or looking into the eyes of your new-born baby.
Opening the doors of my studio this week was a golden Lazarus Key, in so many ways: Putting the “group” back in fitness, being at home on my familiar stage again after 5 months, seeing the friendly faces of my members, looking into their eyes, adoring their smiles and of course, welcoming our Zoom members into our live classes. Yes, people from all over South Africa, and two from Botswana, are now able to be part of 19 physical in-studio sessions per week, and all of them say that it feels as if they are right there, with us! I can also sense that it`s such a reassuring thought to our local members that they can now choose whether to come to the studio, or to keep on exercising in the comfort of their homes.
The Indian author, Amid Abraham, once said: “Being alive is not a miracle, FEELING alive is.” After living “in the shadows” for months, I could see and feel and hear everyone coming alive again, with me. “Ek het soooo uitgesien hierna”, said Liezel, who was there first on Wednesday morning. “Dis fantasties lekker om weer te kan step”, Lizana wrote on Facebook. “Fantasties, fantasties, fantasties”, Izelde kept on yelling. “I just couldn`t wipe the smile of my face, even as I was driving home”, Carien remarked. Looking at Rethia bouncing around like a Jack-in-a-box, one wouldn`t even guess that only a few weeks ago she also was a sad Covid statistic…!
I don`t think there`s a better word than FANTASTIC. The moment the music started playing in that 5.15 class and we were moving together to the beat of the Tabata song, I remembered a quote I once read: “There is a limit to how much you can embrace a moment. But there is no limit to how much you can appreciate it.”
I just know that lockdown has been a Lazarus key to all of us – it has changed us forever, for the better. And above all, it has given us a brand-new appreciation for life and all the little things. Suddenly I feel this sparkle in my eyes again, a lightness and joy I didn`t realize were missing until I could feel it reappearing. The smiles on my Zoom members` faces also made me realize that they are only now getting to know my crazy, on-stage instructor personality…☺
I know will never forget 2020 and this past season. And I know, it shouldn`t take a life-changing event to spark change in your life, but in my case, it did. For five months I have obeyed every strict exercise rule and travelled to the studio every morning at 4.45. Alone. Alone in the studio, alone with the Zoom members and alone in front of the camera. It has been a difficult journey, but what a ride!
It has empowered me, made me fitter and stronger than ever and taught me so much – especially about control. There are a lot of things you can`t control, but then there are some things you can manage and plan for. I have learned not to live a life of “what-ifs”, but to focus on the present – doing my best with what I have today. I`ll never take anything for granted ever again, that I know. Most of us have been tested in ways we never imagined. We have overcome and found new ways to manage and even flourish.
In his book “A gathering of shadows”, VE Schwab says: “I don`t want to die – no, dying is easy. I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were doing before wasn`t actually living. It was making do. Call me crazy, but I think we do the best living when the stakes are high…”
And now, whatever your Lazarus key is, whatever your coming alive after lockdown implies, embrace it. Because it`s like a spark, and getting back to our daily routines feels like a whole new life getting ready to burst into a big, beautiful flame. We are alive, and isn`t that in itself simply amazing and reason enough to be happy?
As author Shaun Hick writes: “You need to spend time crawling alone through shadows to truly appreciate what it is to stand in the sun.”
Of course, we don`t know what the future of this “new normal” will have in store for us. But maybe that`s the beauty of this edge of unknowing – waking up and going out into the world not knowing what each day would hold, taking life as it comes, relinquishing any illusion of control, expressing our aliveness by giving – of ourselves, our resources and our hearts.
Not knowing lets us dream a little. If we concentrate on small, manageable steps we can cross unimaginable distances. At some point our candles will go out, so let us make use of this light and treasure every Lazarus key we stumble upon.
Together, surviving, we are unending dreamers…
Yours in fitness
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