Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pick Your Passion

I'm big on rewording cliches. I think, sometimes, that the idea is good but the words are poorly chosen. Case in point, "Pick Your Poison." Now really, why would anyone want to do that?

But if you told me, "Pick Your Passion," well, then you've got something.

I know what I love. And I know what I feel passionate about. And there is just so much. Regarding exercise, I've tried it all. My favorites vary from any form of dance, to spinning, and yoga. But lately, with a minimal minimal amount of exercise time, I've been forced to pick my passion. And I wouldn't have ever thought it would be as easy, or obvious, as it's been.

After being in for a week with my son, then running around picking up wonderful donations for an upcoming silent auction, and now preparing for the holidays, and baking, and all that, I have only been able to squeeze in an hour of time exercising (not including my at school walks with Raye). And when push comes to shove, my heart keeps bringing me to the same place.

The weight room.

The history of my body's desire to move begins with dance. I began dancing so long ago that I can hardly remember when it started, but I will guess I was about three years old. I lived in New York, and danced at an amazing studio. I remember climbing a narrow staircase in my little black leotard, my legs in pink tights, to match my ballet slippers. Plastic dance box (with the ballerina painted on it) clutched firmly in my right hand. I did ballet, and then added tap. While I wasn't fond of tap, I loved ballet and continued until it was time to dance en point. It was at this time that we moved to New Jersey, and I continued to dance here, but instead of ballet, I began to learn modern and jazz. Jazz was what kept me going.

I danced for many years, and picked up horseback riding (hunt seat) in the process. These were my primary modes of exercise. I played a little lacrosse in high school, and cheered for football and basketball. Let's just say that you wouldn't call me an athlete.

I was in and out of the gym in my 20s, but it wasn't until my divorce that I began serious weight lifting. I did it, mostly, to get smaller. My friend, Pete, trained me to lift heavy and to do cardio only for heart health. He showed me that the best way to change my body was to lift weights. I learned to squat in the rack, do hang cleans, and to bench. He got me off of the equipment and into the weight room (free weights). I learned to do push ups and dips, and I got really, really strong.

Life took me in a series of different directions, and with it, my exercise program changed. I did lots of spin, took a couple months of Zumba, and got heavily into bellydance. But always, the weight room had a big piece of my heart. I love the strength that lifting heavy weights afforded me, and I loved that I could go in there with my iPod, and that my focus was so complete. I was centered and motivated.

Now, I have found myself choosing the weight room over everything else. In my one hour, I find my breath and my strength, and all of my passion lies in that unfeminine, metal-heavy space. Today, while doing biceps, an old song began to play on my iPod. It was from four years ago, when lifting was my life. And I almost jumped to the next song, but all the feelings from lifting like a champ came back, and I let it all roll.

I miss my yoga, and my bellydance. A lot. And I will return to those practices very soon. But for now, what matters most just won't give way to anything else.

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