We were walking along the beach, soon after the sunrise.
We often did this. For me, it was a dual purpose activity. Get some exercise for me and whoever else came along with me, and spending time in nature.
I didn't realise how often the first reason dominated.
There I was, fast walking through the soft sand as I'd done so many times before. I look at the rising sun, the waves, the sprinkling of seashells. And I think that I'm doing myself a favour by grounding myself while also pushing myself to walk fast, to see if I can break a little sweat. To look for the softest sand to walk in as that's more challenging. To get my main workout for the day over and done with.
And encouraging my kids to do the same. Not so much with my words, but definitely with my actions.
I started "exercising" in my teens, though I'd always been pretty active anyway. I studied fitness, health, nutrition. I worked in the fitness industry. Also from my teens, I read books on mind-body-spirit connection and spirituality.
I thought that I "got" it. To some degree, I did. Sometimes, much more than others.
But today, I got a deeper lesson. From one of my greatest teachers. My son. Who, at almost 12 years old, still loves to hold my hand and have long chats with me.
All that I had to do, was to slow down.
I remembered that I need to let go of control...and surrender to another way. It's okay for me to stop rushing, and moving fast. I'm not going to seize up, or turn into a blob if I stop walking fast all the time. In fact, I might even firm up and trim down as I won't be constantly creating stress in my body which only encourages the body to hold onto weight.
I was so focused on the exercise portion of the morning, that I was down-playing the JOY factor.
Thankfully, I listened to my teacher.
So, we played.
We took turns playing follow-the-leader where the person in front walks all kinds of silly ways, and the person following, has to try and step into their footprints in exactly the same way. It always ends in lots of giggles.
We climbed on the boulders.
We wrote in the sand.
We played at the edge of the water, jumping and stomping through the shallow water.
I got a lesson in balance, and in the importance of JOY!
My body felt happy just because it was moving in a playful way. The effect was longer-lasting both physically and mentally, than if I had pushed myself to work hard.
There is so much emphasis on results, that we often forget that the process is what's really important.
The happiest times of my life, were when I lived that. When I was not even focused on "living in Joy". When our days consisted of play, and movement, and nature, and just Being, and without even trying, or thinking about it, I was living in a state of Joy.
I know that I've lived it before. I know that I can do it again.
Thankfully, I have a great teacher who will remind me!
I'm not going to stop doing intense workouts. There is something really empowering about pushing myself to go a bit further, or harder, or to lift heavier. But I will aim to remember to not take it all too seriously, and to have fun and enJOY the process. Perhaps I'll even stop referring to them as "workouts", and instead call it "play time" to remind me of where my focus would better serve me.
There is so much freedom in letting go of control!
When I get out of my head and the shoulds, musts, have tos, blah blah....and let my heart lead. Then. Then there is Joy.
It's so simple, yet we make it so damn complicated some times! Just remembering how simple it is, makes me feel lighter. I'm sitting here laughing at myself and this whole crazy life!!