My dear friends and family who are close to me know that the last 9-10 months have been full of so many things. Not necessarily negative things, just so many challenges, both great and not so great. I was losing my grip on my own balanced being, my own relationship with my own life, in the shuffle. There were things to be done. Many things needed to be done, I really had a full list of accomplishments to make at all times. And I ADORE the completion of accomplishments, just not necessarily when that list is replenished again seconds before it can be cleared for me to be able to feel a little bit naturally aimless. Or relaxed. My workouts went on that list.And by the time I would race in the door, shove an apple down my throat and hop on a machine to "get it done", you can bet my body was annoyed and stressed just as I was that I couldn't sink into my most treasured beyond-the-physical space.
And so, Europe arrived. Or I did. I love my work, I miss the company of my clients and friends (really, my clients and I see each other more than we all see our friends and family!), but it has been so long since I've been able to pass a few days with zero agenda and without having to speak to anyone but myself (in my head, don't worry - and in French no less)! Straight up, I had neglected my most important client. As a trainer, you pay close attention to your clients' engagement in their work, to their mental presence and their happiness levels after each workout. And boy, given my "get it done" workouts and rushed means of feeding myself, I wish someone (or I) had been looking out for me that way.
Welcome, the return of workouts during which I stop only when I feel AMAZING, not when it's time to take a 5 minute shower, run the dog out, shove some egg whites in my face and do 5 programs before next client. Workouts during which I can ponder things like the size of the trees, the space created inside me by the sweat pouring out, all internal things put into order. And this replaced frantically thinking of my to-do list in FEAR that I might forget something and FAIL at life. If I forgot one small thing. And I did forget things! Imagine that chronic disappointment in myself. I put the pressure on myself, there is no one to blame. But this post is about France reminding me that a slower life is the only real life. And slowing a bit to live more is far more important that ACCOMPLISHING more. If I lose my adoration of investing in my own wellness, I become a shell of a trainer. And that is certainly not what has built this career, and by career I mean livelihood and life practise. I mean what I say and say what I mean, and that's why clients get results. They trust me, because I am sincere, and I don't do anything on the surface, ever. If I'm skipping across the surface of my own wellness, then I become a robot trainer like so many "experts" we now know in the media. There are experts who profit off of their wisdom, which is absolutely fair and it is value for value! And then there are some who work the other way around, offering something with an intention but not with a bounty behind it.
We are absolutely nothing without our investments in our own internal well-being. Life doesn't skip across the surface and if you try to get through it that way, you will shrivel up and miss all the good stuff. You will become a shell. I know I've gone deep here, but I've always had a problem with much of North American culture. Do more, make more, work more. What for? If you do too much and become a shell, the only one life you have will be a waste. This is a partially selfish post, for I am writing it as much as a reminder to myself as I am to any readers who might now, have some time in the past or will some time in the future experience this "forgetting" to slow down and pay attention.
You should feel rich with life. Enjoy every bite. Force yourself to not look at the time for a bit, spend time with your family or yourself and ask stupid questions about life (that's when I know I'm relaxed, when I think about whether the term "tear a strip off someone" refers back to tearing a strip off a croissant...) I digress. But I'm allowed... I'm on vacation. I missed writing, so I did. And fortunately for me and perhaps unfortunately for you, all I've got is this repeat epiphany to share today! Be GOOD to yourself. Always. You can't go wrong.
I will add another post on my experiences here before it's all done. But readings by Montaigne, conversations with new and existing clients and some great friends inspired this post today. Have a great, self-indulgent weekend!