Saturday, March 23, 2013

Find Your Passion and Thrive

As a resolution to myself (even though I said I wouldn't be making resolutions this year), I took a pledge, along with my coworkers, to be healthier. I joined a gym at the end of January and have been taking several zumba classes a week along with walking/jogging on the treadmill. As a step out of my comfort zone, I have taken a weight lifting class as well, but it is zumba that has become my savior. I was taking zumba before I moved here, but had stopped as I knew no one in the area and was not committed to joining a gym at the time. In the past two months, I feel better than I have in the past year. 
I am taking these classes because dancing is something that makes me happy. I don't claim to be good at it, but I would say I'm decent, and I enjoy it. I also enjoy the companionship and camaraderie that goes along with it. A whole bunch of strangers are thrown into a room together with great music, and we just dance for an hour. Everyone is silly and individual personalities are encouraged to shine. 
While our classes are mostly filled with females, every once in a while we get a male who decides to take the class and the instructors literally rejoice. I've seen three different men attend a class since I have been going, but one is by far my favorite. He is an elderly gentleman, and while I do not know his name, I do know that he has a great time. While the rest of us are booty shaking to "Sexy and I Know It," I watch him swaying back and forth, light on his feet, dancing to the music in his head. At one point during Katy Perry's "California Gurls," he catches my eye as he spins around in a circle opposite from the rest of us. He grins from ear to ear, shakes his head back and forth, and continues to dance towards the front. 
Another woman I have taken quite a liking to is an elderly woman who always dances near me in the back. One Saturday morning, my coworker and I were forced to stand near the front due to the sheer number of people attending class. Afterwards, the woman comes up to me and asks, "Where were you?" I shook my head confused and she explained, "You're always in the back near me. I always follow you because you know all the steps." I had never spoken to her before that. This morning she came up to me and said, "Good, you're back where you belong," as I purposely headed for the back of the classroom near her. It is instances like that which make me smile and dance with passion despite how I may look compared to others. 
My point is not to write a thousand words as a zumba advocate, but to advise all you readers to find something about which you are passionate. For me it has begun dancing, along with writing. You have to take the time to honor that which makes you happy, those activities that make you different. Emphasize the qualities that make you unique, that make you you in spite of what you look like or how you might do compared to others. Never compare yourself to others and never doubt yourself. If it makes you happy then do it. If others say you are foolish, just let them talk. At least you know you are nurturing your creativity. At least you can say you are thriving.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Being Versus Doing

I have begun to realize that moments of clarity are both rare and fleeting. Those moments sneak up on you like a flash- time slows just long enough to comprehend that you are in a unique space at a specific time in order to have a less than concrete realization. Just as soon as you understand you are in that moment, you are sucked back into reality and forced to continue the daily grind unless you take the time to remember these moments. 
Tonight I did a "group power" class with a coworker at the gym. As I was laying on my back relaxing from an hour of weightlifting, lunges squats and all manner of exercise to which I am not accustomed, I realized I was in a moment of clarity. I stared at the stain on the ceiling of the gym and realized that it was the first time in a long time that I had just laid down, listened to music and allowed myself to stare at nothing, to think of nothing. In that moment, everything in my life shifted into focus without crowding back in to overwhelm me. It was one of those rare moments that I sometimes experience while driving, where my mind shifts to nowhere and I just am.
I don't think we ever allow ourselves to just be, we always have to do. Why? What is so great about doing when you're not experiencing the joy of being? I guess I don't get it. We live in a world where moments just fly by, where we don't stop to appreciate, where everything in our lives is taken for granted. It often takes something traumatic happening in order to snap us out of our selfishly driven world- a car accident, the death of a loved one, a near death experience. It should never have to come to that, ever. 
Now, I don't claim to be immune to the lifestyle of taking things for granted. I have gotten better at being grateful, but there are still times that I act like a spoiled brat and ask "Why me?" when I have no reason to be asking such a question. So I ask all of you to stop and just be tonight. We often do not allow ourselves that luxury, and it shouldn't be a luxury, it should be a given.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Past- Beastly or Beautiful?

It is a sit-in-the-shower-and-think type of night. I often get in these moods where being reminiscent is the only emotion I can seem to manage. I sit in the shower and stare at the droplets of water spattering the shower lining. I can see the Picasso-like pattern of the curtain behind it, blurred through the drops of liquid. I stare and stare, thinking about things past, things that should no longer matter, guiltily sighing as I realize my skin is bright red from sitting too long under the burning shower head. 
I often wonder why I do it to myself- bringing back events I can't change, remaking someone into a person that he or she will never be. It does no good and only puts me in a foul mood for days, muddying up my dreams with images I continually seek to destroy in real life. I wander between dreaming and waking, hoping the images come to life, wishing the past did not turn out the way it had, remaking decisions that have been set in stone years ago. 
It is a sickness, a disease of over-emotion, yet I go through periods where all I can do is live in the past. In my lucid moments, I remind myself that if things had worked out the way I see them in my head, then I would not be sitting in my car staring at the dashboard daydreaming or scalding myself on the floor of my shower. Why do we do that? Why do we think we can change people or events? Why do we think we can mold our own lives and the lives of others? 
We really only have so much control, and that control only extends to our own actions. Often I think I can control the outcome of a situation, when in reality I can not because I have learned that people are unpredictable. You can not change the will of another, you have no right to take that freedom away even if it benefits you. 
Now I realize this post is semi-cryptic, but when people from my past pop up in dreams or real life, it often sets a chain of events in motion in my mind. I get stuck in this bubble where I think I could be living differently now, when in fact, everything does happen for a reason. Everything happens because people decided it would. Two people decided an outcome. Two people made choices. Both parties now live with those choices. 
The past is not a force you can change; it is not a force with which you reckon. It is certainly not a force to get caught up in as I am now. I hope that writing my thoughts down will allow me to verbally relieve myself of the tension I have created in my mind. The past can be beautiful or beastly if you allow it; it is one lover from whom you never quite recover.