This weekend I did something I thought I’d never do. I taught my 8:30 am rhythm based indoor cycling class without a sound system. Yes. No music, no mic. Well, partly a lie- I had music playing from the lobby of the studio that you could faintly hear if you sat really still and closed your eyes tightly. In the simple words of one of my best friends, Tori Ross, “It was not great.” And even though I consider myself to be a fairly confident and resourceful human it was an extremely challenging experience to say the least. I had a lot of judgements of myself and others, I had a lot of feelings, and I gained a good amount of awareness of some more recent needs of mine. However, three things stood out to me and I want to share them with you.

What I learned when the system didn’t work:

  1. Some of us out there (including myself) need to aknoweldge our inflexibility, resistance to the uncomfortable path, and struggle to have faith in someone else’s plan.

I love routine, consistency, and following some kind of order or guaranteed formula for success. I find safety in my knowing just how things should and will go. Saturday morning slashed a hole in my routine though- a gaping hole that I actually felt physical and emotional discomfort from. This class did not start how any of the people in the room desired it to start. I had a poor attitude with the change in plans and if I did not notice my resistance I would have missed out on a gift God was giving me. When things don’t start how we envision or hope it doesn’t mean they can’t still end fruitful.

A rough beginning doesn’t guarantee a rough ending.

I also struggle from this thing I have named “I think I know more than I really know syndrome.” Shocker… I sometimes actually don’t know what people need and how God wants to teach them- and sometimes I don’t need to know. Giving up power in a plan is hard- but so freeing. Imagine not needing to be in charge, not being expected to do, say, or feel the right thing. The pressure that falls off our shoulders and we give power back to the people and things power belongs to is incredible. Instead of walking into your week trying to create perfection and success based on all your actions try giving yourself permission to just show up, be present, and maybe take a detour.

2.  It is ok to let others hear us breathe.

Can you imagine 20 something people in a room pedaling up hill on a stationary bike with no music holding their breath??? I don’t have to imagine this because I witnessed it. I wonder what that felt like, or the internal dialogue in the riders heads saying things like “Oh no if you breathe someone might thinking your body is working hard and they may then think you are out of shape because you get tired when you workout so just hold your breath until that girl says something loud and then- when no one can hear you, I will allow you to breathe.”

But like why? Why are we afraid of someone knowing that we are tired and something is challenging us? Why are we afraid to let others hear the intensity that we are feeling? I make this great assumption that it is because WE as a culture have normalized the idea that things should come easy to us, having any weakness is bad, and we need to pull all our shit together and contour it with NARS highlighter so it also has a shimmer.

Do you guys remember what life was like before contouring was a thing though? We all lived good lives before we could create the illusion of fake cheek bones. We still had friends and relationships when people saw our real bone structure. I choose to use this as proof you can live a good life even when people hear you breathe heavy. You can be accepted, loved, and even celebrated when people see you struggle. You just have to allow it to happen. Give yourself permission to let others see how hard you work.

3. Things suck sometimes but it doesn’t mean we are dying.

It is promised that there will be moments in our lives that we will not enjoy. There will be times that we wish were different and feelings we hope not to feel. And in that knowledge I would encourage you to open you eyes, ears, and hearts upon this: You are stronger than your pain. You have to accept this in order to allow yourself to move or heal through anything. Give yourself permission to stand taller than the feeling- because you are not sadness, you are not anger, and you are not fear. Knowing this is the main reason I was allowed to publicly humiliate myself teaching a music based cycling class with no music on Saturday morning and live to tell the story. Because I am not the shame, anger, and fear I felt. Give yourself permission to be more than your emotions.

In reality, we don’t actually have to wait for the system to break to wake up. As you walk into the remainder of your week, I want to encourage you to ask, where is my system not working?

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